Ohio 4-H alumni are part of a rich program history, and they have incredible stories to share about their personal and professional lives, as well as the ways they are giving back to their communities. Each month, we highlight one of these exceptional people as a Face of Ohio 4-H. This April, we are featuring Kevin O’Reilly, a 4-H alum from Geauga County.
Kevin joined 4-H when he turned 8 with “a Charolais steer that never did make it to the fair!” In the following years, he showed lambs and dairy cattle, and took a variety of projects in woodworking, veterinary sciences, photography, leadership, and gardening. He recalls winning the all-species showmanship contest as one of his favorite memories.
These combined experiences encouraged him to pursue a degree in animal sciences at The Ohio State University, and resulted in his dream job of becoming a farmer. He continued his 4-H involvement by joining the Collegiate 4-H Club, where he learned how to square dance!
Like many 4-H’ers, Kevin fondly remembers the many opportunities he experienced. At the age of 14, he attended State Conservation Camp at Camp Ohio and loved it. Over the next several years he went to State Leadership Camp, State Club Congress, and also served as a summer camp counselor in Geauga County and at State Conservation Camp. Kevin believes that 4-H taught him an abundance of life skills.
Kevin recognized the importance of these experiences and sharing them with his family. He and his wife pride themselves on raising a new generation of passionate 4-H members and have encouraged them to get involved. Kevin knows that there are many opportunities and experiences to be had in the program and encourages youth to take advantage of them. “My advice is to take advantage of every opportunity 4-H offers. There are so many amazing opportunities at the local, state, national, and even international levels.”
His biggest takeaway from being a 4-H member? “Most importantly, 4-H taught me to be kind and compassionate to others and to share my knowledge with other people.”