Emma Newell has been involved in 4-H on the county and state level for years, but has only recently discovered that she can shine on the national level, too.
Through some of the national and international programs 4-H offers, Emma had the opportunity to travel around the globe to Washington, D.C., Georgia, Canada and Sweden.
“I really enjoyed going to the Global 4-H Summit in Canada this summer where I talked to youth and 4-H leaders from more than 70 countries. I learned a lot about the different values and programming across borders,” Emma said. Her tri t the Global 4-H Summit also meant the opportunity to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Her 4-H involvement continues to make a difference in her life, particularly her college career at The Ohio State University, where she is majoring in agricultural communications and double minoring in youth development and international relations.
Emma will continue sharing what she learned through 4-H after graduation. “My goal is to work with national 4-H or on a global project.”
A proposal to decrease the amount of paperwork required for an Ohio student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) was the winning policy proposal created by 4-H members from northwest Ohio.
Kalie Ander and Marleigh Kerr from Lucas County, along with Cory Johnson and McCormick Warncke from Fulton County created the proposal as part of the 2017 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge.
The challenge brings youth together from around the state to discuss community concerns and then work together to propose policies and programs to solve the issues. They first met in the spring in Columbus to learn about public policy, begin planning and tour the Capitol. Proposals were narrowed to four teams who competed in finals during the Ohio State Fair.
Finalists described the steps necessary to have their public policy program adopted by the appropriate government authorities.
Each winning team member received $250.
Leaders are Role Models
There was a time when Don’yale Walker didn’t want to work with others and wasn’t comfortable talking to people. But after being part of 4-H for the past eight years through Adventure Central in Montgomery County, she’s learned that “4-H is a life-changer.”
4-H led Don’yale to a home away from home and to an environment where people “accept you for you,” she said. “There is always someone to encourage you and who wants to see you succeed in your dream.”
Through 4-H she’s discovered the value of communication and interaction. “I really love that 4-H asks for feedback to keep youth engaged. It has helped me understand constructive criticism and enables me to be better at the things I do.”
That positive encouragement led to Don’yale being a role model for younger youth as a counselor at Adventure Central Summer Day Camp. She remembers being that fifth grader who was a bit scared and sometimes got into trouble, so Don’yale likes working with campers who are not participating because feel like they don’t fit in. “I want to encourage kids to help them succeed.”
Learning to Lead
For Trevor Minyo of Fayette County, learning to be a leader meant expanding his financial expertise.
As the Teen Leadership Council treasurer and fundraising chair, Trevor organized several fundraisers that helped raise over $2,300. Those funds help support the groups’ activities that benefit 4-H members throughout the state.
He has also been a camp counselor, member of the county Teen Leadership Council and Ohio 4-H Ambassador. “Through 4-H, I not only learned leadership skills, but learned about myself and my own personal leadership style,” said Trevor.
Leadership will come into play in Trevor’s future. “I’ll go to college for a degree in law or medicine,” said Trevor. “I want go into business law or become a neurologist or anesthesiologist.”
Taft Grows Green and Grows Leaders!
Five years ago, Laurie McEwan, a teacher at Taft Elementary in Mahoning County, had the idea to turn the lot across from her school into a community garden. And what better way to make it take root than to get 4-H involved. The Taft Grows Green 4-H Club was created and became an afterschool program with a focus on gardening.
Over the years, the club’s garden has become a benefit to the community. The club shares the garden’s harvest with the neighborhood, inviting people to take what they need and one neighbor regularly stops by to check on plants and help with the garden. The garden was also a stop on the county’s Urban Farm and Garden Summer Tour Series.
Plants are not the only thing that is grown as a result of the garden. McEwan has observed a great deal of change in the youth who participate in the club. “One of my students wanted to join, but had some real behavior issues. I challenged him to improve his attitude and he worked hard to meet those expectations,” she said. As a result, he became actively involved in the garden. “His behavior improved and this really became a life-changing experience for him,” said McEwan.
4-H Leaders Make a Difference
Noor Alshafie’s 4-H involvement started out as attendance at meetings, but her club eventually turned into a place that was a second home.
“4-H has truly shaped me into the person I am today and has allowed me to follow my dreams, no matter how large they seemed,” Noor said.
“4-H not only allowed me to face my fears, but it gave me a place to feel accepted and valued.”
Noor was recently selected as member of the National 4-H Youth Advisory Committee, a group of just nine 4-H alumni from across the country, working to develop ways to keep young alumni involved in the 4-H program. The first meeting was held in Washington, D.C. and Noor will soon travel to San Francisco, one of the many places she will visit over the next three years as she represents 4-H.
“I have learned that everyone needs a role model and I try to be that person by living the four H’s every second of every day. My piece of advice to all 4-H members: never underestimate how much of a difference you are making by being leaders and helping others.”
You have to be organized to serve as Medina County’s Junior Fair Board president, 4-H club vice-president, Fashion & Nutrition Board president and social media committee chair for the Ohio 4-H Teen Leadership Council (TLC).
Cecilia Mainzer, a ten-year 4-H member learned that communication is the key.
“Through 4-H I learned how to communicate with others one-on-one as well as with a larger group of people. It gave me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and get over my fear of public speaking,” Cecilia said.
Cecilia put these skills to the test this year when she worked with three other 4-H members on the One on One leadership project. This is a mentoring project where teens work with beginner members to complete a series of learning experiences. Her efforts paid off when she won a clock trophy at the Ohio State Fair, the highest statewide recognition for 4-H projects.
“This past year was wonderful because I was able to participate in 4-H activities with teens from all over Ohio. I was surrounded by others who shared my passion and enthusiasm for 4-H, making this the best year so far. Because of my involvement in 4-H, I made friends this summer that will last a lifetime.”