Each month we highlight an Ohio 4-H alumnus. 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 Cindy Hartman, retired school superintendent and Hocking County 4-H alumnus.
Hartman’s experience in 4-H was a picture-perfect representation of how 4-H can have a lifelong impact. She began her 4-H career when she was 10 and continued as a member until she was 18. “Most of that time was spent taking sewing projects, but I also took some cooking projects. Early on, our club went to the state fair to present a play we developed on littering.”
After her high school graduation, she still wanted to be involved, and she served as a club advisor.
Hartman’s favorite 4-H memories are like those of many alumni. “I attended 4-H camp every year at Tar Hollow, then became a junior counselor and later senior camp counselor,” she said. “The Hocking County Fair was also a big part of 4-H, where I served as a Junior leader and a Junior Fair Board member.”
These experiences and the adults she worked with made an impact on her. “As I think back, I remember all the adults who were a huge influence on us and encouraged us to take on real responsibilities like teaching leadership skills. This included leading meetings, running camps, and the county fair!”
Even though she learned many skills during her time in 4-H, Hartman did not hesitate to share the most important thing she gained from 4-H. “The leadership skills influenced me later in life as I became a teacher, principal, and school superintendent. I learned the importance of working with others to take on responsibilities and complete tasks, of course, while having lots of fun! I still have lifelong friends from our time spent together in 4-H.”
While Hartman isn’t actively involved in 4-H anymore, she gives back to the program by encouraging her daughter’s involvement. And she still uses an important skill she learned in 4-H. “I continue to sew, especially for my grandkids, making quilts and holiday costumes!”
Hartman offered this advice to 4-H’ers: “I encourage them to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. The friends you make will be lifelong friends, and the possibilities available to you are unlimited, from the county fair to the state fair to worldwide opportunities.”
Fun fact: Hartman’s daughter, Emily Kruse, is the executive director of development for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Emily got her passion for 4-H from her mom and is thrilled to now help raise funds for the program.