Each month we highlight an Ohio 4-H alum. They have amazing stories to share, from their personal experience in 4-H to how they have given back to the program. This month we feature Tara Durbin, a former Highland County 4-H member and currently the Senior Vice President of Agricultural Lending at Farm Credit Mid-America.
Tara Durbin saw her older sister showing pigs and knew it was something she wanted to do, too. “As soon as I was old enough, I joined 4-H as a member of the Triple-L Le-Hi 4-H Club and continued until I was 18 years old,” said Tara. “I showed market hogs at the county and Ohio State Fair, took a woodworking project one year and attended camp at Canter’s Cave 4-H Camp. I served on the junior fair board and was the Highland County Pork Queen and the Ohio District 8 Pork Queen.”
Like many other 4-H alumni, Tara had great experiences to share. “My favorite 4-H memory is spending family time together walking pigs. As a kid, and into my teenage years, it was always hard for me to get up early in the mornings, especially during the summer (just ask my parents). My sister, Gina, and I would get up early and go out to the barn to walk our pigs. My two cousins kept their pigs at our barn too, so they and their parents would also be there. On many Saturday mornings, my grandparents would come over and while we were out in the pasture walking our pigs, Grandma Rene would be in the kitchen making breakfast for everyone. Her sausage, gravy and biscuits were the best! We’d all come back in and clean up in time for a hearty homemade breakfast. I cherish those memories and how special they were.”
Tara went on to tell of the impact 4-H had on her life. “As I reflect on my experience in 4-H, I realize how influential it was to who I am today. 4-H has taught me several life lessons which include the value of hard work, responsibility, as well as the importance of community service and serving others. It has also instilled in me self-confidence, strong leadership skills, public speaking skills, the value of teamwork, the importance of following through on your commitments, the power of life-long friendships, and the importance of quality family time.”
After graduating from the program, Tara continued to give back to Ohio 4-H. “It’s important to me. As an adult, I think about all of the individuals from my parents, 4-H leaders, fair board members, the farmers where I got my fair pigs each year, to everyone who would show up for the Jr. Fair Livestock sale and support me and all of the other exhibitors. They were investing in me. I feel that it’s my responsibility to see that today’s youth have the same opportunities that I was given. Today I am a member of the Knox Co. Junior Fair Livestock Sale Committee and serve as a board member on the Ohio 4-H Foundation, where I chair the Marketing Committee. I also am a proud supporter of the Celebration of Youth.”
She concluded by suggesting that 4-H members fully immerse themselves. “4-H is life changing and life inspiring. What you learn through 4-H and the friendships you make will carry with you through your life.”