Each month, we highlight an Ohio 4-H alum who has an amazing story to share—from their personal experience in 4-H to how they have given back to the program. This month, we feature Amanda Folck, assistant Extension educator for turfgrass management at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a proud alumna of Clark County 4-H.
“I knew I wanted to be involved in 4-H at a very young age,” said Folck. “My mom and dad were both in 4-H for 10 years in Michigan and Ohio, respectively, and my maternal grandparents were 4-H volunteers for more than 50 years in Michigan.” With these deep connections to 4-H in mind, Folck was quick to join when she was finally old enough.
Throughout her time in 4-H, Folck completed projects ranging from photography and sewing to cooking and public speaking. She also competed in livestock judging with Jersey dairy cattle, dairy feeders, ducks, and swine, and was even selected to compete at the Ohio State Fair in her final year in 4-H. “In 2011, I was one of the top senior swine showmen in the state and worked hard with my pigs to prepare for the distinction of competing at the Ohio State Fair. It was a great final experience for me as a 4-H’er, and I was so proud to represent my family and Clark County at the state level.”
Of all the things 4-H taught Folck, she says one of the most valuable lessons was perseverance. “When I first started 4-H, I didn’t get all the ribbons and awards. It takes time and determination to excel with your 4-H projects, but the more effort you put in, the greater the reward will be in the end,” she said.
Folck currently works as the assistant Extension educator for turfgrass management at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and believes her time in 4-H helped prepare her for this role. “The skills and knowledge I gained as a 4-H’er have been essential to my success. Ohio 4-H taught me responsibility and showed me the importance of organization and keeping accurate records. Project and livestock judging also helped me become a better communicator and developed my self-confidence.” For Folck, the lessons learned through 4-H have stayed with her and continue to help her grow and excel in her professional career.
Today, Folck enjoys sharing 4-H’s impact with others. “I am proud to be an Ohio 4-H alumna, especially because I come from Clark County, the place where A.B. Graham started 4-H all those years ago. As a lifelong supporter, I believe in the benefits of 4-H and see the many ways it helps youth grow into the best versions of themselves.”