Each month we highlight an Ohio 4-H alumnus with amazing stories to share—from their personal experience in 4-H to how they have given back to the program. This month we feature Megan Frilling, a Mercer County alumna and the Ohio 4-H Foundation’s new engagement program assistant.
Frilling joined the Rainbow Connectors 4-H Club in the fourth grade at the encouragement of two friends. She did not know much about 4-H going into her first meeting and was a bit intimated by the older kids, but she was quickly relieved to discover herself in a friendly and welcoming group. “I was pretty shy as a kid. Speaking in front of a group terrified me! I still remember my first demonstration; I taught my club how to make the origami fortunetellers that were popular in middle school. I almost cried I was so nervous, and my hands were shaking the entire time, but everyone was very attentive. They even gave me a round of applause at the end, which left me grinning from ear-to-ear.”
Throughout her nine years in 4-H, Frilling completed a variety of projects that explored such things as creative writing, photography, cooking and woodworking. But one particular project offered a valuable life lesson. “During our junior year of high school, a friend and I decided that we were going to show pigs at the fair for the first time together. Prior to this, we both focused on creative arts projects and wanted to try something new to experience the fair from a different perspective. Needless to say, it was humbling to walk into Quality Assurance training and be the only two students in the room over the age of 11!” It would have been easy to quit, but she didn’t give up. “The responsibility of raising an animal taught me the importance of following through on commitments, and the experience showed me it is never too late to try something new.”
Outside of her project work, 4-H camp became an important part of Frilling’s 4-H experience. “Camp was always the week I most looked forward to throughout the school year. 4-H camp helped me come out of my shell in a way that I never had before.” One of her most memorable experiences at camp was participating in the talent show during her last year as a camper. “My whole cabin wrote, choreographed, and performed a 4-H remix of Rebecca Black’s song ‘Friday.’ It ended up being such a big hit that we won!”
Frilling loved 4-H camp so much that she went on to serve as a camp counselor for four years. “Being a counselor helped me develop excellent leadership and communication skills. I also met some of my best friends at camp, many of whom I am still close with to this day.” She looks back fondly on performing skits for the campers every night at the campfire, leading songs during mealtimes, dancing until she dropped at the last night party, and being honored as Mercer County’s Outstanding 4-H Camp Counselor in 2015.
Frilling continues her involvement in Ohio 4-H by serving as the engagement program assistant with the Ohio 4-H Foundation. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of 4-H again. This program helped shape me into the person I am today. It taught me valuable life skills, many of which I am now using in my role as program assistant. I cannot wait for the opportunity to give back to an organization that has brought so much joy to my life over the years! I also know that 4-H has so much more to teach me, and I am very excited to learn from my colleagues at the state 4-H office.”