Iíve always been a somewhat shy girl, but as Iíve gotten older, I realize that I have changed, for the better and may have broken ďout of my shell.Ē I have been in 4-H since third grade and have gotten to experience many things. From raising pigs for the Nueces County Livestock Show, to competing in photography contests, to meeting many new people. These are people that I am proud to call my friends and to them I owe a big THANK YOU for contributing to my growth. The realization that things have changed for me really came into focus last spring when members of my 4-H Ambassadors group asked me to join them on a relay team for Beach to Bay. Now, I have to admit I had really never paid any attention to Beach to Bay. I knew that my mother ran a couple of years ago with some friends, but that was it. I was so shocked that anyone would ask me to RUN and of course I said yes. Days later the realization hit me that I would have to train for my part in this 26 mile relay, which would be about 5 miles. I contemplated telling them to find someone else, but I didnít and Iím really glad I stayed with it.

With the Relay fast approaching, I started running a couple of miles several times a week. Then I started do a little research on Beach to Bay. I found out that my teammates and I would be running in the 37th Annual Relay. I also found out that it is always scheduled for Armed Forces Day, which is the third Saturday in May. Teams run in honor of our service men and women and there are over 2,500 teams consisting of over 15,000 runners. Money earned from the relay goes to area charities. All of these were positive things and I couldnĎt find a reason to quit.

You might be asking why I am telling you about Beach to Bay and how this has to do with 4-H. Hereís how, in 4-H, kids (and parents) experience new things, make friends, and try to Make the Best Better. Maybe my friends didnít realize how much I needed a little push , how much this gesture meant to me or that it made my day. When I started running, I was pushing myself to reach a goal, not only for the team, but for me personally, and that is we did, together.

It was not easy. It was hot and I ran over the JFK Causeway (that bridge to the beach). But I finished my leg of the race and have a great sense of accomplishment! How did we do? We were in the Odds & Ends category (our team name was ďItís a 4-H ThingĒ), we finished 730th and 1,890th overall and took over 5 hours to cross the finish line. No, we didnít win the race, but we accomplished our goal as a team. And that, my friends, is what 4-H is all about.