For the past eight years 4-H has taught me many things that I probably would not have learned without it. I have experienced how the association for the fair works over the past few years. I learned that without it, the fair would not happen. Every one of the officers has their own role and has to stick to doing what they have pledged to do over the year in office such as sticking to their specific agenda and timeline, writing officer reports, and attending meetings. I have learned a lot from helping at my brother’s school and how much effort it takes for some of the kids to do something that may be easy for us to do. It has taught me patience, tolerance, and compassion.
From 4-H, I have made certain goals that I probably would not have set without it. For example, I would not have knitted certain projects if I did not set the goal to make something for 4-H. It pushed me to knit something more difficult. I set a goal to learn how to canter off of the lunge line. This is something that I was not keen to when I started but made it a goal for 4-H. I have also set a goal to either do public speaking, expressive arts, or even both. I learned that setting goals will help you achieve something more than if you just think about it.
From my leadership roles, I love seeing what I can do for other people whether it is making them smile or helping them do something that they need help with. After helping someone, I feel glad that I made a difference. In Home Arts, I enjoy being a part of transforming the building from an empty barn to a barn full of wonderful projects displayed on tables, organized by category, covered with green and purple table cloths.
I have found that it is difficult for everyone in the meeting to agree on something. Being a new coordinator, I was told that it would be my ultimate decision but still found it a little difficult to negotiate with people who had very strong opinions. Also, when it is clean-up time for the end of the fair, a lot of people helped out during the first helf hour to an hour but after that, they did not help as much to clean up the tables and other things that had to be put away for the barn to be cleaned. Something else that is difficult is not having people show up to the barn when they committed to help out during the weekend.
I need to learn to voice my opinion. Most of the time, I have the right answer or right question, but I do not tell it. This is something that I have been working on so I do not let something pass over if either I do not agree with it or have a question about something. Something else that I need to learn is to feel comfortable in a group of people that I do not know. I am a shy person and do not speak up when I do not know who someone is. In order to be a leader, people have to know what you want from them. You have to be able to handle criticism and understand someone else’s perspective.
From this past year of being the coordinator, I have been a lot better about speaking up and voicing my opinion. While I was on CWF, I learned how to come out of my shell and not always need to feel that I need to be quiet or not speak up. This trip has made me the most outgoing I have ever been in my life. It was an experience that I would never be able to take back nor would I want to. I made a great bond with my county extension leader and have been able to talk with confidence I have never experienced before this trip.
The leadership abilities that I learn in 4-H will help me in the future because I will know how to lead something in the correct way and not in a rude or disrespectful way. Everything that I learn in 4-H will help me with many things in the future such as: goal setting, short and long term goals, discussing different opinions and coming to a consensus. I will know how to mentor someone in the future as others have mentored me. 4-H has also helped me to become curious and try new things. This a great way to come out of your comfort zone.
By Hannah Platt