I applied for the 4‑H Youth in Action Award through the strong encouragement of my older sister. We started 4‑H together, so it felt fitting that she was also involved in one of my biggest attempts within it. When I found out I was a finalist, I felt floored. The finalist call left me flabbergasted. I was sitting in my AP Statistics class when I saw I had a missed call from the East Coast. I was unsure if it was from National 4‑H Council, but I was hopeful. Using the hall pass, I tried to hide my smile as I had the most thrilling conversation in a high school hallway. As we discussed what the upcoming year held for me, one thought persisted: I can’t wait to tell my older sister.
Attending the Legacy Awards was a phenomenal experience in and of itself. My favorite part was meeting the other pillar winners. Kyra-Lee (Citizenship), Serena (Agriculture), and Sophia (Healthy Living) are more than just excellent 4‑Hers; they are fantastic people. I was inspired by their projects and fascinated by the variations in how 4‑H is run in our different states. They showed me that although the programs may not be identical, the values and work ethic we’ve learned in 4‑H are exactly the same.
My trip to DC was filled with adventures. We visited the Newseum, several monuments, had media training, and even got to practice using a teleprompter. It was a whirl of activity, and a whole lot of fun. We each got to do a task in the name of our pillar, whether that be filming a promotional video or speaking on a panel. The whole experience felt empowering; I felt like I was doing something that mattered.
For anyone considering applying for the 4‑H Youth in Action Award, my advice is simple: go for it! Even just the experience of applying has value. The experience is worth the effort and you’ll never know what can happen when you apply.