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 Joy Bauman, a Coshocton County alumna working as a cooperative development specialist for the CFAES Center for Cooperatives at The Ohio State University South Centers.
Joy was a 10-year 4-H member, and she also participated in the Coshocton County Junior Leadership Club, Fashion Board, and Advisory Committee in addition to her home club. She looks back on her experience as a camp counselor, and her sheep, sewing, food and nutrition, and other projects fondly, remembering the skills she gained. She attributes her skill in project planning, budgeting, public speaking, decision-making, and multitasking to her years in 4-H. They have enhanced her career, and she shares these life skills with the youth in the Adams County 4-H clubs she advises.
She fondly shares her favorite memory, a demonstration making homemade butter that didn’t go as planned. “My friend and demonstration partner, Brian, was running the blender while I was sharing nutrition facts about butter and dairy products. Brian decided to check on the progress, took the lid off the blender, and stirred with a wooden spoon before the blender stopped running! Cream and butter flew out of the blender and went everywhere!” Leaning on what 4-H had taught her, Joy was able to salvage the moment. “Instead of hanging my head and walking out, I picked up the dish towel we had brought, wiped off our faces, and pulled out the container of butter we made the day before. We demonstrated how to strain and wash the butter, sliced my homemade bread, and spread the butter to finish the demonstration.” The team went on to win the county contest, and to win a clock trophy at the Ohio State Fair.
4-H opened doors to her future career. “Some of my first visits to OSU were tours with the Coshocton County Junior Leaders Club, and it sparked my interest in studying there. I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from OSU, and have now worked at the OSU South Centers for nearly 16 years.”
Joy gives back to the program in many ways, from hosting a SPIN club to helping start the Junior Leadership program in Adams County. “Because of the influence 4-H had on my life, I knew I wanted to volunteer as a 4-H advisor. I volunteered for a few years in Coshocton County and led the Buckeye Barn Busters 4-H Club in Adams County for 18 years.”
She also serves on the Adams County 4-H Advisory Committee, sponsors local and state awards, and contributes to Canter’s Cave 4-H Camp. “These are all ways I give back and pay forward to the program that has meant so much to my family. I encourage other 4-H alumni who have been positively impacted by their 4-H experience to do the same.”
When asked what advice she would share with young 4-H members, Joy said, “Seek out and take advantage of the many opportunities 4-H has to offer! While I love fairs, there is so much more to 4-H than participating in the county fair. There are so many learning opportunities, and some of the best are when you get a chance to meet others and build a network of friends that lasts a lifetime.”
Congratulations, Joy, for winning the 2022 Ohio 4-H Alumni Award! She will be recognized at the Ohio 4-H Conference on March 12, 2022.