4-H Week: My Story: Why You Should Join 4-H

Bijou Burgardt

Oak Grove Explorers 4-H Club

Age – 14

4-H has been part of my life since I moved here from California in 2013. 4-H has contributed to my life by teaching me things I never knew or strengthening skills I already had. I have taken very diverse projects in order to gain knowledge on different subjects and figure out what types of hobbies and projects I like to do. I’ve learned how to garden, sew, identify trees and cook these past years and next year I hope to do a project about or related to computers and design.

Through my community service I have learned how to assist in different situations and make myself useful when we are short on volunteers or additional problems come up. I have learned what I’m good at when signing up for fundraisers and service projects. I am constantly volunteering throughout the year with fundraisers related to 4-H as well as projects connected to other clubs. I volunteer at every possible chance and I always participate with my club in different activities. I have learned leadership and problem solving through community service.

Maggie Gottfried

Oak Grover Explorers 4-H Club

Age – 16

When I joined 4-H seven years ago, I saw it as an opportunity to try out new interests and meet new people. I thought that maybe I could pick up a new hobby and try to win a few awards, but I was in the dark about how much the club that I joined, the Oak Grove Explorers, did for the community. Only a few months after joining a club, however, I quickly became immersed into the service projects of 4-H. Service, it turns out, is an amazing way to try out new interests and meet new people, all while giving back to the community. It was during my first few service projects with my club that I realized that the third “H” in the 4-H pledge was the most important aspect of 4-H to me.

My family has always volunteered in the community, but everyone that I was volunteering with consisted of friends or family, making volunteering a familiar scene with few new faces. After joining 4-H, I was able to meet many new people and make connections through 4-H service activities. Whether it was the Oak Grove Fire Department Ice Cream Social, Earth Day at the Armory in downtown Marietta, or the 5k Run/Walk for Hervida, I was always able to meet new people and make connections while still being surrounded by the familiar faces of my Oak Grove Explorer peers.

Tyler Hartline

Backyard Gang 4-H Club

Age – 17

From an early age, I was exposed to the values and teachings of the 4-H Program. I grew up in a dairy family and with a love for learning new things. On the farm, I was taught the values of hard work, patience, and how to follow orders, all while growing closer with my family and building a deeper understanding and love for animals. My grandfather and his farm gave me the opportunity to explore a whole world of possibilities close to home and the opportunity to work with people along with animals.

Through the Washington County Junior Fair Board, I learned how to successfully organize a group of people to carry out tasks and work under high amounts of stress during the fair. Through the Washington County 4-H Interstate Exchange Club, I implemented fundraisers and help acclimate 4-Hers from different states to each other and their new environment. Through CARTEENS, I have greatly improved my public speaking skills and became more aware of how to deal with difficult people and difficult situations appropriately and successfully. All of these clubs taught me about leading others to victory and when to step aside and work with my peers and follow the lead they establish.

Austin Offenberger


Age – 16

Over the last 11 years, 4-H has been a large part of my life. I have enjoyed completing new projects and being awarded many camps throughout the years. This past year, I had the opportunity to attend Buckeye Leadership Workshop. Here I had the chance to make friends with people who I had never met before, the opportunity to work on my speaking skills, learn new games and interact with people of all ages. I also was selected to be a counselor for 4-H Junior Camp at Camp Hervida. As a counselor, I developed my skills at planning camp activities and leading younger campers throughout the weeklong camp.

As a member of the Carteens program, I used the skill of public speaking to help teach my peers about traffic safety. Carteens is an important program not only for the teen leaders to develop lifelong skills, but is a service to the community to give teens with driving offenses and second chance to think about safely getting behind the wheel. The public speaking has made it more comfortable for me to speak in front of others.

Sierra Sinclair

Honeysuckle Hills 4-H Club

Age – 15

4-H has transformed me from the shy kid in the corner to the outgoing teen. That outgoing teen that has gained plenty of skills that will help me for all of my life. 4-H has given me much more than life skills. 4-H has given me memories, friendships, and experiences that will last a lifetime. With 4-H there are many routes that can be taken, whether it is livestock projects, firearms, and archery, or even sewing. 4-H members can find their passions. My passions are cooking and working with animals and children. 4-H has furthered my love for these passions and continued them.

4-H has contributed to my personal development. I have been taught organizational skills through keeping records in project books, to serving as club secretary, and filling out county award forms each year. Food and nutrition and livestock projects have taught me time management. Whether it’s cooking a meal or ensuring that my market animals will make weight for the fair. Community service and working on a team with fellow 4-Hers have furthered my caring and understand for others. My communication and problem-solving skills have also improved. I have attended workshops and camps that focus on communication and problem-solving skills and then put them into action through being a camp counselor and junior fair board member. My personal development has contributed to my ability to be a leader.

Caroline Stollar


Age – 16

My friends used to joke around with me: “You’re in CARTEENS, and you can’t even drive yet!” I laughed along because they were right. I have a late birthday, so I was not able to receive my license until the summer before my junior year, this year. Meanwhile, I have been leading CARTEENS meetings since eighth grade. To say I was not sure of most of traffic laws and how common it is for teens to receive a traffic violation was an understatement. Being a leader of the club, though, prepared me to be the cautious and responsible driver and passenger that I am today. Above all, CARTEENS taught me how to speak in front of a crowd as well as how to remain both professional and relatable with peers and adults.

I have been involved in 4-H since I was in kindergarten, and the opportunities that I have been led to through the years are astounding. I believe my involvement in CARTEENS has been the most influential on who I am and who I aspire to be. It has shown me that I enjoy working and interacting with the public. My future goals are to work for a better society, and make the best better. I am exploring career possibilities in public affairs, where I will be able to put my skills gained through 4-H into practice. However, I am not only passionate about CARTEENS for my own growth, but I am passionate about it because I have watched club members and friends grow as well.

Connor Tullius

Churchtown Busy Bunch

Age – 15

Beef cattle have been a part of my life since I was born. I can remember when I was little going up to the barn to feed the cattle and trying to carry the buckets of feed. I can remember going out in the truck to the pasture field to check the calves. The best part is when the new calves come and going out to tag them. I have always loved to go do chores in the mornings and evenings and working with the cattle, so it was obvious I would take cattle to the fair. Through my years of taking beef projects. I have learned about proper nutrition, common diseases, administering vaccinations and medication, record keeping, proper housing, how to read EPDs to improve muscle mass and much more.

Life on the farm and 4-H projects have taught me patience, responsibility, respect for the animals, discipline, and hard work. My animals depend on me every day to feed them and care for their well being. I depend on them when I’m having a bad day. When I walk in the barn they will make me smile. 4-H has had such a huge impact on my life. It has helped me become a better leader through the many leadership opportunities it provides, such as club officers, Jr. Fair Board member, etc. It has provided me opportunity to meet people across the states as well through the Interstate Exchange Club.

Madison Wells

Churchtown Community Crew

Age – 16

4-H is an amazing opportunity for America’s youth. From teaching kids how to speak in front of crowds, to teaching them about money management from selling animals in the fair, 4-H teaches kids so many skills that will be crucial later in life. This is what 4-H has done for me.

I have been in 4-H since I started kindergarten. It was pretty much a given thing in my small-town, rural community that all youth would join 4-H. My grandmother was (and still is) the advisor of our 4-H club, so I guess I was “destined” to be in it. Then when I actually joined the club, my whole outlook on my life changed for the better. I started meeting tons of new people and becoming friends quickly, having new experiences, and doing so many things through 4-H that I had only dreamed of and heard about up until that point.

Out of all of the changes that 4-H brought to my life, leadership was probably the most major one.

Another thing that also helped shape me into the person I am today was the projects I was able to take. They also helped me improve my work ethic in school and other places.

I started focusing more on being a leader in and out of the classroom.