Have you ever had someone ask you what the 4-H program is?... If so what was your response? 

When I am asked that question my response is a 4-H program that allows students to spend time with family and friends and helps promote trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, citizenship, as well as affording a student the opportunity to educate themselves in the proper methods and techniques to raising livestock projects or developing skills through their public speaking projects and leadership events.

Believe it or not raising animals and participating in different contests like fashion show and educational presentation can teach a person many things and can help define a person’s character. I know I wouldn’t have grown up to be the respectful young lady I am without the many character traits I have gained from this great program.

Trustworthiness and Respect; includes having courtesy for others, being loyal and honest, and treating others properly. My seven years in 4-H has really benefited my ability to respect others and be a respected person because I am constantly surrounded by people. These two characteristics are desired by anyone and everyone. The 4-H program requires one to be trustworthy in all things. We have monthly club meetings that we have to attend, but we also have to remember to attend County Council and district or state events as well. I always make sure I can make it to the meetings or conferences that I agree to attend. Therefore I must always be reliable in order to get the same respect from others. I was the vice president for my local 4-H club, and I was always needed if my president could not attend the meeting. My peers and leaders trusted me to take over and do a great job, even though that was not my assigned job. Do unto others as you would like others to do unto you, this saying is the backbone to this pillar of character. Respect and trustworthiness is not just respecting your organization and community, but even your animals. I raise pigs every year, which takes much of my time for several months. I have to check on my pigs twice a day; feeding, brushing, washing and exercising them. I were not trustworthy or did not respect them they would go without food or would be stuck in a bad living situation.

Responsibility; includes accountability and perseverance. I know many teenagers today would agree with me when I say we just need more time. We as teenagers are constantly getting more involved with our community and schools. Whether there’s swim practice, a 4-H meeting, or homework, I always have something to fill my days. You can learn responsibility by becoming an officer in one of your clubs. Being an officer will help you learn to take notes and remind people of things instead of you being reminded. Always learn to plan ahead for meetings and never let your club down by being late or just not showing up. You can also learn responsibility by raising some sort of animal whether it be a dog, cat or even a pig! Without responsibility I wouldn’t be able to manage my time and be responsible enough to actually go and feed my pigs every day. Keep up with your grades so you can get more involved too! If your grades aren’t high enough you cannot attend the livestock show or even go to your favorite camps! You can do this by finding a study habit that works for you.

Fairness; involves consistently applying rules. This pillar is the most important to us in 4-H because everyone knows it is not fair if someone wins when they did not play fair. Don’t ever cheat when doing something and always do it with integrity and perseverance. Fairness is needed in every project in 4-H whether it is with a public speaking project, a homemaking project, or judging team. 4-H teaches youth fairness and perseverance for every day life and the future to come with college and jobs.

Caring and Citizenship; promotes the well-being of people and makes the community a better place. The 4-H organization’s motto is to make the best better. Children who participate in the 4-H program really learn citizenship first hand. I see kids all over the state constantly giving a hand, receiving help, accepting instruction, and winning or even losing with grace. Without all those qualities our organization would not be the best in the state. Community service is in every aspect of 4-H. There are community service projects in local, district and state levels. In the local level there are just little community service projects done by the local 4-H clubs around the county. Every club gets involved in the community service projects. The district level of 4-H also has community service projects that youth will participate in at camps such as Leadership Lab and Crossroads. Even state wide 4-H programs are involved in community service projects that all the 4-H clubs in the state can get involved in. For example every year at Round Up there is some type of project all attendees will do.

The 4-H program is a vehicle that teaches participants many qualities of character that they will need later on down the road of life. Defining the youth’s character in Nueces County and around the state can only lead to a brighter future for everyone.