Ohio 4-H Highlights: January 2022
4-H’ers helping 4-H’ers
When western Kentucky was hit by tornadoes in December, 4-H members wanted to help, and Adams County 4-H reached out with a plan.
Kristy Watters, the 4-H educator in Adams County, started emailing Kentucky 4-H agents she knew to see if they had established fund or donor opportunities. “I was searching for email addresses on the Kentucky 4-H website and decided to try Kelsey Chadwick, the 4-H agent in Graves County, one of the hardest hit areas.”
Together, the two created a plan, and with the help of the Adams County 4-H Advisory Committee, a request was made for blankets and pillows. Kristy reached out to neighboring counties in Ohio and had support from Adams, Brown, Clermont, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Ross, Scioto, and Vinton counties, as well as the state 4-H office.
Dave Baker, an Adams County 4-H volunteer, secured the use of a new cargo trailer from Tadlock Trailers. Adams County volunteers and staff from Brown and Clermont counties sorted donations and filled the trailer and two pickup trucks with supplies.
Less than a week after the tornado, adult and teen volunteers headed to Kentucky. Their delivery included blankets, pillows, diapers, food, toys, first aid supplies, tarps, batteries, flashlights, cleaning supplies, gas and gas cans, paper products, and personal care items. A large financial donation was given to the Graves County 4-H Council to help their 4-H families.
Graves County volunteers were overwhelmed and grateful. “Giving back is such an important part of the 4-H program. Helping our neighbors is just what 4-Her’s do,” said Watters.
Ohio 4-H’er on the National 4-H Congress Design Team
National 4-H Congress is the premier nationwide event for 4-H members, held annually in Atlanta. As 2019 ended, Brooke Fleshman, a 4-H member from Franklin County, learned she was selected to represent Ohio on the Design Team, the youth members who help plan the program.
Youth team members met the adult team members in Atlanta in February 2020 to begin planning. Fleshman said, “It was an exciting trip and gave us so much to look forward to, and then the pandemic hit.” National 4-H Congress was postponed until 2021. At first, the group was disappointed at having to wait another year, but the delay provided additional time for the team to bond. Fleshman said, “Zoom provided the opportunity for us to develop our relationships through team building activities and by intentionally taking the time to learn more about one other.”
When last November arrived, the 100th anniversary of National 4-H Congress was celebrated with the theme of “A Century of Empowering Youth.” Fleshman felt privileged to assist 4-H members from around the country as they arrived at sessions through the week, and at special activities. Fleshman said, “I know this experience helped me be more optimistic about possible setbacks, which can actually be amazing opportunities if you have the right mindset.”
A dedication to education
Each semester, The Ohio State University hosts commencement to present degrees to graduating students. It is a remarkable achievement for all students, but for Doris Huffman it was exceptionally special. At Ohio State’s 2021 winter commencement, Huffman received her master of education in agriscience education, a moment she had been working toward for years.
Huffman always had a strong interest in education, beginning with her high school graduation as class valedictorian. In the early 1980s, once her children were in college, a neighbor encouraged her to continue her education at Ohio State. Huffman remembered, “He said, you ought to go down there and take a couple classes, you’d like it.’ So, I enrolled, got in the pickup truck, and off we went at 7:00 in the morning.”
After completing her bachelor’s degree, Huffman decided to enroll in graduate classes. At the time, there were few women in agriculture, and Huffman was one of the only women in her area. Despite beginning her studies, the vocational agriculture program was undergoing changes, and Huffman did not receive her degree.
In the following years, Huffman was actively involved with Ohio State University Extension, and her academic standing was recently re-evaluated by the university. After completing one final requirement, Huffman met the qualifications to receive her master’s degree.
“I was shocked,” said Huffman. “I want to hang it on my bedroom wall!”
Huffman has always had a passion for learning and education, especially in agriculture. This passion not only influenced her academic career, but also led to a lifetime of involvement with 4-H. As a child, her family owned a farm, and Huffman joined her local 4-H club, because it seemed like fun.
Once Huffman was no longer eligible to be a 4-H member, she served as a 4-H advisor. She taught numerous 4-H members how to cook and sew and assisted in the creation of multiple 4-H clubs in Delaware County. “I’m very, very serious about skill development in young children,” said Huffman. “That’s my cause.” She is also an annual donor to Ohio 4-H.
Many of Huffman’s children and grandchildren have followed in her footsteps. They joined 4-H and ultimately attended Ohio State for their own college education. “My devotion is to vocational education,” Huffman said. “All three of my children went to vocational school before they went to college.”
With the dedication and commitment to educating hundreds of children through 4-H, ensuring her children had the opportunity for a meaningful education, and working toward breaking the stereotype of women in agriculture, Huffman is a great role model for 4-H youth. Congratulations on your degree, Doris!
Faces of Ohio
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 Shannon Stickney, a Delaware County alumna working as an executive coach and consultant.
Stickney fondly remembers her eight years in 4-H through projects and experiences that included rabbits, gardening, foods and nutrition, and photography. She spent summers attending 4-H camp, served in club leadership roles, and served as the Delaware County Junior Fair junior and senior princesses.
Stickney proudly shares her most cherished memory—the year she won rabbit showmanship and was selected to compete in the county showman of showmen contest. “That experience stood out, because of how intimidated I was to go from managing a 4- to 5-pound rabbit to managing an 800-pound steer! For the first time in my life, I watched a group of strangers who were competing against each other for the same title, come together and genuinely teach one another and help each other out.”
As she reflects on her time in 4-H, Stickney makes many connections between the skills she learned as a youth and those she uses every day. “I learned the value of healthy competition and what it felt like to win, and what it felt like to not do as well as I hoped. I learned how to stretch outside of my comfort zone, and most importantly, I learned the power of believing in myself and accomplishing things I never thought possible.”
Stickney took those skills and turned them into a rewarding and successful career, pursuing a passion instilled by her 4-H experiences. “4-H taught me at an early age that I had the ability to do things I never dreamed possible. I had a passion for guiding people to reach their goals.”
This passion led to a career in executive coaching and change management. “As an executive coach and consultant, I use many of the lessons and skills I learned through 4-H to coach and guide executives as they solve complex business problems. I teach business leaders how to move outside of their comfort zone to achieve extraordinary results.”
Stickney knew early on she wanted her two children to experience the program that gave her so much. “When my kids reached 4-H age, it was important to me that they had an opportunity to experience everything 4-H had to offer.” Stickney helped make that happen as a club advisor.
“My favorite part about volunteering with 4-H is helping kids connect the dots between how their experiences today can prepare them for their future. Project judging can prepare them for job interviews, and managing multiple projects helps them learn the skills they need to juggle classes, work, and life. The discipline it takes to raise an animal translates to what it's like to be responsible for something other than yourself, and how giving back and helping others translates to being a good citizen and community member. This is by far the most rewarding part of my 4-H career yet.”
Stickney has made the most of her connections to Ohio 4-H and shares this advice with youth who are pursuing their passions: “Take advantage of every opportunity you can. Go to 4-H camp, try out for junior fair board or the junior fair court, be a club officer, or try a project you know nothing about. What you will learn about yourself through these experiences will teach you lessons you will carry with you the rest of your life. 4-H is what you make of it, and I truly believe you get out of it what you put into it.”
Calendar of events
Jan. 21, What’s All the Hype? An Introduction to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Zoom)—Noon. What is diversity and why is it important? What's the difference between equality and equity, and shouldn't we be striving to treat all people equally? What does it mean to be inclusive? How do all of these things work together to achieve justice? This 60-minute session explores these questions and provides an introduction to diversity, equity, and inclusion so that attendees can better understand current social justice movements. Registration is required.
March 25, East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference (Carrollton)—Save the date for the East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference to be held at FFA Camp Muskingum. For more information, call 740-622-2265.
March 26, 4-H Camp Piedmont Benefit (New Philadelphia)—4 p.m. Mark your calendars for an exciting event to help Camp Piedmont! Camp Piedmont was hit hard due to not being able to have camps in 2020 and having limited camps in 2021. Camp is also in desperate need of multiple repairs. We know how much Camp Piedmont means to you and need your help to keep up the traditions. It’s time to give back to the place that gave you so many wonderful 4-H memories and experiences. Make plans now to attend the benefit. If you can’t make it, you can help in other ways. Contact the Extension offices in Belmont, Carroll, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe, Noble, or Tuscarawas counties.