For over 100 years, Georgia 4-H has been helping young people develop the necessary life long skills to make them successful. With such a wide variety of activities to become involved with, Georgia 4-H means something different to everyone. No matter how you find yourself involved in Georgia 4-H one thing is clear; it will leave a forever lasting impression in your heart.
Check out some of these stories from 4-H'ers past and present to find out what Georgia 4-H means to them.
-Emily Lloyd, 4-H Alumna from Bartow County, State and District 4-H Officer, Clovers & Co. Member
My 4-H story has become my life story.
When I was in the 5th grade, my teacher announced that we would be having a 4-H agent come into our class that day. I didn't know what 4-H was, but I was interested. Coming to school that day was definitely a decision that would change the course of the rest of my life. At home at the time, we didn't have electricity, food, or running water. I came to school because I knew I would be warm and have a meal in my stomach. I always put on a happy face, but no one knew what was happening in my household. My father was the sole provider of my family at the time he had a massive stroke causing him to go into cardiac arrest three times. The blood clot was in his brain stem, meaning his entire body was impacted by the stroke, instead of just one side. While he recovered in the hospital, my family went through some horrible times. Money just wasn't there. My mom and I walked everywhere we went and had about a week long period where we floated from house to house because we didn't have a home. We didn't have anything, but we had faith that the Lord would see us through. When my Dad was released from the hospital, we had so many new challenges. Who was going to take care of him? Who would provide income? These questions didn't have answers. I was charged with taking care of my now disabled father at that very young age. I was so stressed and overwhelmed, I sank into a deep depression. I learned an important lesson at that time. Everyone needs something to inspire them. 4-H became an outlet for all of my frustrations and disappointments. 4-H became a place where my best friends were. I threw myself deeper into this club and discovered so many aspects of myself that I wouldn't have had the chance to reveal without it. I became a stronger speaker, citizen, and leader in my community and my state. I served on the Georgia 4-H Junior, Senior, and State Board of Director, I was very involved with my county 4-H club, and I was a member of Clovers and Company. Of all of the things I did in 4-H, one stands out above the most. My family couldn't afford to send me to 4-H camp as a 5th grader, which broke my heart. However, the following year, I was provided with a scholarship to attend camp by Ms. Kasey Reid. This was a spark in my life for this club. I was in awe of my counselors. They were so happy! And that's something I wanted so badly. My counselor took me under their wing and helped me have the literal time of my life. For one solid week, I forgot about my problems and was able to be a kid again! At the end of that week I vowed to myself that I would do whatever it took to be a counselor. Last summer, I had the honor of serving as a 4-H summer camp counselor at Rock Eagle 4-H center, and this summer I will be working a Sports and Recreation counselor. I have been able to be that influence for thousands of children now who are confused, under pressure, and under privileged, just as I was as a child. Through my involvement in 4-H, I proved to myself and others that where you live has no correlation with how you live. I learned that life is a series of choices and decisions that shape and mold your life into what it needs to be. The Lord used the rough "sand paper" of my life to shape me and give me character, but also provided the safe, strong hand of the Georgia 4-H club's agents and volunteer leaders to smooth out the jagged edges. I strongly believe Georgia 4-H is one of the main reasons I am now a college student, because I am the first member of my family to graduate form high school. Children need 4-H. I am forever indebted to this organization.
- Tareva Moore, Worth County 4-H Alumna, 4-H Camp Counselor, Clovers and Company, State 4-H Board of Directors
I have always thought my story is just like every 4-H veteran, "4-H changed my life", but it never became more apparent to me until today. As I walked into my room and through my house and realized that I was surrounded by four leaf clovers. Some in the form of pins, certificates, ribbons, pictures, name tags, and green and white graduation cords. The truth is no matter how generic it sounds there is only one way to put it-- this organization changes lives and provides opportunities to everyone no matter who you are or what your last name is! Take it from me, I was a 5th grader with very few friends and no social skills whatsoever. I remember going to Project Achievement with a guitar bigger than me and I was horrible! Fast forward four years I represented Georgia 4-H and UGA as a member of Clovers & Co. and still do! I have learned how to be a better performer, leader and citizen, for my club, community, country, and world. And about those poor social skills I represent my South East District on a State Board of directors and could not be any more proud of what I have accomplished and the role models I have met and strive to be like along the way. You can't get that amazing youth adult partnership anywhere else but 4-H. I love this organization and would like nothing more than to see it grow as it has been since 1902. 4-H has given me all the skills to be somebody in this crazy world and that is exactly what I plan to do.
-Stephen Deloach, Tattnall County 4-H'er, Southeast District Representative, State Board of Directors
Looking back over the past few years in my involvement in this wonderful organization, it scares me to think about who I would be today without it. I have branched out from that extremely shy little kid that cried when I went to camp because I was homesick, to a extremely outgoing state officer/camp counselor, and active citizen of my community state and even my country. This program has taught me so many life lessons that text books just can't teach. It develops and improves speaking skills, people skills, leadership skills and so so much more. Well over half of my friends (and girlfriend of 4 years) came from 4-H. Even though my dad had to push me out of my comfort zone to get involved when I was in the 5th grade, nothing could pull me apart from this wonderful organization today. Words simply can't describe the importance of this program and what it does for our community, our country and our world. If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch the life of a child. I am a living proof that this club has lasting affects on youth for the better. If we don't protect programs that teach the youth how to make our tomorrow better, who will? It's up to us.
- Hunter Brock, Turner County 4-H Alumnus, Former State 4-H Board Representative
There is no doubt that Georgia 4-H has made me the individual that I am today. After minimal involvement with 4-H as a youth in Southeast Georgia, I decided to re-join the organization as a Collegiate 4-Her while I was a student at UGA-- by far, one of the best decisions that I ever made! That involvement led me to not only hold a student staff position with Georgia 4-H for three years in college, but it provided me the opportunity to spend a semester in Washington, DC, as an intern with Congressman John Barrow, as well as earning a scholarship while completing my undergraduate degree. In regards to my affiliation with the University, I am a graduate of the Risk Management and Insurance program in the Terry College of Business, as well as a member of Blue Key Honor Society, both of which I contribute directly to my involvement with 4-H. Now as a financial representative with the top insurance company in the country, I feel as if I developed the social skills and integrity necessary to continue to build a successful financial practice in Athens. As one of the many 4-H alumni in the state, I continue to support 4-H as a volunteer and plan to do so for the rest of my life.
- Steven Dasher, Georgia 4-H Alumnus
Only being involved in this program for 4 short years, I have filled up my schedule with as many 4-H events as possible. This program is so important to me and to so many other youth in this state. The kids I have met range from all over Georgia with different backgrounds and personalities, but they have pushed me and inspired me to become a better speaker, performer, student, and leader. 4-H provides so many opportunities to help kids get out in the community and spread the servant leadership the program teaches. The wonderful adults who serve as our extension agents have impacted my life in so many ways, and I feel I can always come to them for any help or support I need. The life skills 4-H teaches cannot be found anywhere else. I love this program, but whatever happens I will remember: 4-H is not a club, it's a lifestyle. Whatever happens to the future of this program, I will continue to strongly carry out the 4-H lifestyle and Make the Best Better.
- Mary Clayton Gilbert Bartow County 4-H'er
In my nine years of experience with this organization, I have participated in many events ranging from agriculture-based events to public speaking competitions. 4-H helped me build my leadership skills, my public speaking skills, my organizational skills, and my life skills in general. Though one may think 4-H only affects students and children interested in the agricultural field, I have to disagree. I am pursing a major in Engineering and I have been affected by 4-H in many positive ways. I applied to over 4 major universities when looking for admissions into college last year, and all of them required essays about something or the other ranging from leadership skills and social challenges to cultural diversity and life-changing experiences; somehow, every single one of my essays related to 4-H- proving that 4-H has impacted in my life in a wide array of areas .Last summer, I had the life-changing opportunity to work with 4th, 5th, and 6th grade children from across the state at the world's largest 4-H center, Rock Eagle 4-H Center, located in Eatonton, GA. I was able to not only play with these children but teach them about the environment. Moreover, I was able to make some children's summer by helping provide the best week of their summer at camp; I claim this from the responses and letters I have received from my campers. The summer changed me as a person by being able to understand children and how important 4-H can be in one's life. 4-H can guide anyone's life into a positive direction. Though this was my summer job, I bring this up to speak for every county 4-H agent and 4-H staff in this state. They have the opportunity everyday to impact children's lives. Eliminating this program would heavily affect 4-H's ability to impact the life of children in a positive direction and make them the future leaders of our counties, states, and nation. Lastly, 4-H has offered me various opportunities to grow as a person through district and state level public speaking competitions, teen leadership events, interviews for national events, consumer and environmental competitions, and being a Georgia 4-H Global Awareness Ambassador. By participating in this organization for 9 years, I have learned that 4-H is not just merely a club, but it is my lifestyle. It shaped how I live. From volunteering at nursing homes to developing a county wide Team Stream program to target storm water drain pollution, I learned to give. From guiding 4-H'ers with their resumes to teaching younger 4-H'ers public speaking skills, I learned to help. From presiding over county council meetings to organizing state-wide events, I learned to lead. From that nerve-wracking days on stages to those various failed interviews, I learned to strive. From being depressed through failures to enjoying the unbelievable successes, I learned to continue - continue to give, continue to help, continue to lead, and continue to strive. Without this program, I wouldn't be able to give, help, lead, and strive the way I do today. So by pledging "my head to clear thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world" for 9 years at 4-H events, I learned who I am. Furthermore, I learned who I wanted to be and what I wanted from life. Through this journey, I found my passion for the world and my life intensely growing. Even after my first semester at Georgia Institute of Technology, I can still identify where and how my involvement in this organization has led and continues leading me in life through my 4-H discovered passions.
--Dimple Bansal, Gwinnett County 4-H alumna, Camp Counselor
As an active 4-Her for over ten years, I can truly say nothing in my life, with the exception of my parents, has influenced my life as strongly as 4-H. I have been given many opportunities and learned about many subjects through 4-H, but more than anything I've learned to value people and relationships, to appreciate every moment, and to take charge of the direction I want my life to go. I've had many 4-H experiences, but the camping program has been one of my favorites. At summer camp children who have never had access to a swimming pool learn to swim, and the toughest children cry Friday morning because they don't want to leave. I never want to see the day when we are not able to offer opportunities like these to all of Georgia's youth. I am proud to call myself a Georgia 4-Her, and I hope that honor will be available to our state's youth for many years to come.
-April McDaniel, 4-H alumna, Master 4-H'er, Camp Counselor
Growing up in Bleckley County, 4-H allowed me to have opportunities in public speaking, leadership, service, and achievement that were otherwise totally unavailable for youth in our community. In the 6th grade on a trip to 4-H Day at the football game, I fell in love with the University of Georgia. 4-H influenced my choice to attend college, major in Agricultural Communications, and allowed me to win scholarship dollars to further my education. 4-H provided experiences for me as a young person that many people do not have until they are adults. Leading groups, making presentations, learning the importance of service to one's community, and connecting to careers are just some of the many life skills learned that I attribute to my experiences in 4-H. Positive youth development through 4-H is vital to communities throughout Georgia for students who need opportunities to discover their skills and experience hands-on learning. 4-H county extension offices, environmental education centers, state and local faculty and staff, serve as mentors to thousands of youth throughout Georgia. I am so proud to be a 4-H alumni and will continue to support this organization throughout my life so other youth can have the experiences that 4-H provided for me growing up in Cochran.
- Lauren Griffeth, Bleckley County 4-H Alumna, Miss Georgia Finalist
I can't imagine my life without 4-H. This great program has enabled me to become the person I am today. 4-H took me from the shy 5th grade student giving his first project demonstration to the outgoing, exuberant person I am today. The leadership and public speaking skills I learned while in 4-H help me every day of my life. My involvement led me to serve on the Southwest District Senior Board of Directors and the State 4-H Board of Directors. The greatest thing I've taken away from 4-H is the friendships I have formed. My closest friends are all people I have met through 4-H, many of which I've had the pleasure to work with at Rock Eagle 4-H Center as a camp counselor the past three summers. I say with confidence that Georgia 4-H positively changes the lives of children and provides them with the ability to be contributive members of society. Through my experience in the Georgia 4-H Camping Program I have seen the ultimate impact we have on children. 4-H provides a caring and nurturing environment for children to grow and learn. We are forming the leaders of the future. I have experienced firsthand the positive impact Georgia 4-H has on the youth of our state. I owe all of my success to Georgia 4-H and look forward to continuing to give back to this wonderful organization.
-Austin Suggs, Tift County 4-H Alumnus, Master 4-H'er, Camp Counselor, Former State 4-H Board Representative
WOW---where would I be without 4-H. 4-H is the best Youth Organization in the world. 4-H makes a difference in the lives of children across our country-and we know in today's times they need it more than ever. I was President of UGA's Collegiate 4-H Program for a year and served as a National Collegiate 4-H Officer for a year, this was the greatest experience in my life--4-H is not just about agriculture, it's so much more than that. I currently teach school and I promise you I would not be able to stand up in front of a group of people in this case students if it weren't for the 4-H program. I served as a camp counselor for 3 summers, this was an unforgettable experience both for me and for the thousands of kids that experience 4-H camp. Truly an outstanding program. 4-H was the number one reason I came to the University of Georgia.
- Allen Nasworthy, Emmanuel County 4-H Alumnus, Former Collegiate 4-H President, Public School Educator