Forty Iowa youth begin new term on State 4-H Council
By KRISS NELSON
AMES – Forty Iowa youth are beginning terms as State 4-H Council members. The State 4-H Council induction was held during the closing ceremonies of the 2017 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference June 29.
“These young leaders will serve as ambassadors for the 4-H Youth Development program throughout the state and in their local counties,” said Brenda Allen, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4-H youth program specialist.
According to Iowa State University Extension, to be considered for the State 4-H Council, each member submitted a written application and participated in face-to-face interviews with a panel of 4-H mentors. This selective process focuses on how candidates communicate their leadership and communication skills, as well as their potential to contribute as a part of a large group.
“The members gain experience in a wide variety of valuable life skills, including leadership and communication,” Allen said. “Through State 4-H Council, 4-H’ers have the opportunity to participate in training, serve in committee leadership roles, and work as ambassadors for the Iowa 4-H Youth Development program at county and statewide events.”
As a part of the council are responsible for organizing and implementing the annual Iowa 4-H Youth Conference, which brings over 700 high school students to Iowa State University’s campus for three days in June. Council members also serve at the Iowa State Fair and other Iowa 4-H events, and visit counties to share with 4-H’ers how to get involved with state and national 4-H opportunities. The council members also coordinate, promote and oversee the 4-H’ers for 4-H fundraising campaignS.
“The State 4-H Council strengthens the 4-H Youth Development program by advocating with young people around the state some of the exciting programs, experiences and information relevant to today’s teens,” Allen said. “The 4-H program provides young people with leadership roles at the state and county level to engage them as full participants, giving them an opportunity to partner with staff and volunteers in the planning and implementation of their projects and programs.”
Council members attend multiple retreats throughout the year that focus on developing leadership, citizenship and communication and personal life skills, while also providing opportunities to work as a team and to make friends.
This year the State 4-H Council will be working with Haley Jones, ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H youth specialist for leadership and civic engagement.
“Through my new role with Iowa 4-H Youth Development I look forward to supporting these young people as they strive for their goals and gain an increased understanding of the positive impact they can have in their communities and beyond,” Jones said.
The State 4-H Council members represent all parts of Iowa. They work to give back to their communities and help 4-H Youth Development best serve the youth of Iowa.
State 4-H Council members from Webster County
Brooklin Border, Haley Ledford and Karrigan Mentzer will be serving on this year’s State 4-H Council.
“The state council has a lot of responsibilities. We are in charge of organzing and planning the State 4-H Conference where 800 4-Hers from around the state come to Iowa State University for three days to participate in workshops, listen to speakers, dances and much more,” said Border. “We are also amassadors for other counties and their 4-H programs. We assist them throughout the year by speaking at banquets, help with community service projects, and helping at their fair.”
Border said they also will help campaign for the 4-H’ers for 4-H program, stating they will be. “strengthening our own skills, and volunteering at the Iowa State Fair.”
Ledford said Border helped make the decision for her to run for a spot on the State 4-H Council.
“I was interested in state council mostly because my friend, Brooklin Border, told me about their retreats and everything that goes into planning the conference,” she said. “It sounded like a great way to meet other 4-H’ers from around the state and to stay inolved in the 4-H program year-around.”
Karrigan Mentzer said it was her love for 4-H that led her to running for state council.
“I was interested in being on state council because I wanted to meet new people who were as passionate about 4-H as I was,” she said. “I also wanted to learn about 4-H across the state. I am looking forward to being on state council so I can learn more about myself and others, as well as the 4-H program.”
In addition to State 4-H Council, Border, Leford and Mentzer are all actively involved at the club and county levels and encourage others to join 4-H.
“I’m involved with 4-H because it has given me so many opportunities to do this within my county, the state and even the national level,” said Border. “It’s helped me become the the person I am today, and I’m a better leader, citizen, and communicator because of this program.”
Border said friendships made are also a large part of her love for 4-H.
“I’ve made so many friends and memories throughout these past eight years and I’m sad it’s my last year,” she said. “The opportunities 4-H gives you is really unbelievable. I do things that I never thought I’d be able to do. Things like speak in front of crowds as big as 7,000, going on a trip, or being able to participate in interivews. I think all you should be involved in 4-H because it really does help you become a better person. It’s a safe and fun envrionment to help you find your passions in life and people are always there to encourage you and to be your friend.”
Ledford said she joined 4-H purely because it was a “family tradition” and she wanted to try something that most of her family were also involved in as kids.
“My first project was my pet rabbit, Cuddles, but Cuddles developed into poster boards, photography, presentations, and the dog project,” she said. “Now, I show my dog and I’m involved with communication and animal science projects. I stayed in 4-H because I loved my projects, the trips, and all of the friends I made in 4-H.”
Ledford strongly advises those currently in 4-H to not give up and those that are thinking about joining the organization that it’s never too late.
“As for those currently involved, stick with it,” she said. “You might feel like giving up at times if your animal isn’t cooperating or your cake isn’t turning out like it should, but never give up on your project or yourselef. Remember to always make it better. However, as for those who aren’t in 4-H, joining later in the game will still give you these great experiences and help gain and develop life skills. It never hurts to try something new and you never know – 4-H just might open doors for your life.”
The experience gained through 4-H is why Mentzer recommends others join.
“4-H is something I am involved in because it has given me so many amazing opportunities to better myself and learn more about who I am and what I love,” she said. “I would encourage others to join because it is an amazing experience that can teach you so much about yourself.”
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