"After graduating high school many are ready to put the past behind them and start fresh in a new adventure of life. As for me, I was ready to embark in the culture of college, join different organizations, and meet new people. What I didn’t realize was all the organizations, individuals, and comforts in life that I was saying goodbye too, but I hoped 4-H didn’t have to be one of those things.
Growing up in an agricultural community 4-H played a large role of importance in my family’s life. My dad took my brothers and I to our very first club meeting in hopes we would find the same connection to the people and organization that he did growing up. My mom patiently assisted us in every 4-H project, drove us to the many community events, and even volunteered to make pies for countless bake sale fundraisers. I knew from the very beginning of my 10 years in this program that the impact 4-H would have in my life would last much longer.
Sitting here as a Junior in college at Butler University, I can humbly say that 4-H has played a significant role in my educational and personal success. Being involved in a self-less community-based organization has inspired my love of service and giving back to others. The countless leadership opportunities I experienced throughout my 4-H career has given me the confidence to step up at a college level and take responsibility in student-lead organizations; like my Sorority and Dance Marathon. Serving as a 4-H Ambassador prepared me for the chance to obtain the position to be a Butler University Ambassador knowing the impact this role had on those around me. Most importantly, 4-H molded me and taught me the skills of what it means to be an active professional citizen in a working world. I learned the significance of time-management, commitment, loyalty, organization, and especially hard-work.
As a student studying the field of communication I have come to recognize that my interest in this has been rooted in my upbringing through organizations like 4-H. I’ve witnessed the countless events and gatherings that are brought together through volunteers, organizational management, passion, and most of all communication strategies. Because of 4-H I have a passion and drive to build my personal career one day through a company dedicated to its community, education, and service. While studying Public Relations it has become very clear that having connections and meaningful relationships with those around you will affect the the reputation and success of a company. 4-H is comprised of many important factors but I would arguably say that the people involved are what make it so special. I learned to value friendships and mentors this program provided me with. Along with learning about myself and growing through the knowledge of others around me. This has been a key component to my accomplishments at college so far and the ones to come later in my professional career.
When starting a new chapter in my life I said goodbye to many things, but what I’ve realized now is that 4-H will never be something that I have to part with in my life. Every day my 4-H experiences and lessons impact the way I work with others, approach obstacles, and live my life. It means more to me now, than it ever has before and is still opening doors for my future endeavors. I am thankful to still a have a strong connection to my local 4-H community where I can give back to active members in hope that they see the potential this organization can have in impacting their lives, just like it did in mine. Thank you 4-H, for shaping me into who I am today."
*Written by Katie Pfaff, September 2017