Ignite even lead to change winners

National 4-H Council inspires young people with the ideas they need to become leaders and positive disruptors in their communities. Through national events such as the national youth summit, Ignite by 4-H , which ignites within each young person the desire to do more.

Each year youth participants, with adult mentors, are given the opportunity to develop, present and implement a 4-H Lead to Change project (LTC). LTC is an enriching continuation of Ignite by 4-H Summit that sparks their interest and drives the desire to do more within every 4-H'er. The process challenges young people to step up and act on a specific issue facing their community.

Youth become catalysts for positive change as they practice and apply real world skills needed for career success and to better their communities. The teams then participate in live evaluations with industry leaders to gain valuable experience and exposure.

Teams are awarded $2,000 to fund and help implement their project in their community. A select number of them can later apply to receive a second round of funding of $5000 based on their ability to scale their impact and work. Thanks to the generosity of our partners, this second round recognizes and allows the 4-Hers to further grow as leaders, cultivating the skills they need to make the best better.

"Before, I would never attempt to understand what is happening around me. Now I’m always seeking opportunities to learn more about what is environmental taking place in my area… Louisiana is my home and I want to see the entire state thrive. It starts with us the next generation of leaders. Every chance I get I try to bring awareness to my friends and peers that they should seek a better understanding of what is taking place around us,” the 2022 Louisiana Coastal Restoration team.

Ignite event group of people sitting and adding notes to paper

It is thanks to the sponsors of the 2023 Ignite by 4-H Summit that we can go beyond a single event to help youth deeply impact their communities.

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As I reflect on 2022, the biggest highlights for me involved spending time listening and learning from 4-H'ers again post-pandemic. Their insights help me understand how we can continue to meet the very real and changing needs of young people. I am inspired by Gen Z and their willingness to tackle some of our most pressing issues and their commitment to making a difference in their communities.  

Here are a few of my favorite moments from the past year and the amazing youth and adults I met along the way.  

Digital Divide


4-H'ers are doers who are making a difference in their communities, and many participate in the 4-H Tech Changemakers program. Stephen Hayes is a part of Florida A&M's 4-H program, (4-H Youth Development (famu.edu), where he joins thousands of 4-H'ers around the country who are working to bridge the digital divide in their communities by teaching digital skills to adults. You can watch Stephen and his mom, Sabrina, (an Extension agent!), interviewed on The Tamron Hall Show where they talked about their work and impact. 4-H Tech Changemakers was also featured in this New York Times article, which highlights 4-H's efforts to close the digital divide.  

Workforce Readiness


Connecting with young people and hearing what's on their hearts and minds is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. I met with these 4-H'ers during the 4-H Youth Ag Summit where I learned about their aspirations - in high school, college, and beyond. Preparing the next generation with the skills needed to succeed is a significant focus of our mission. And we're grateful to partners like Google, Verizon, Microsoft, Nationwide, Bayer, Tractor Supply Company, Hughes Net and others for preparing the future workforce. Recently, Google.org extended its partnership with a $5 million computer science education grant to support thousands of young people with computer science education. Check out this article to learn more about the Google partnership. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


As part of 4-H's mission to create opportunity for all young people, we convened the True Leaders in Equity Institute as part of our Youth Summit Series. 4-H'ers learned leadership skills to tackle local equity issues they identified in their communities. This leadership opportunity will foster welcoming and inclusive environments for all young people in 4-H. Trustee Tiffany Atwell and I were inspired by our time with teen leaders from the Virginia 4-H Equity and Inclusion Task Force.  You can learn more about the 4-H True Leaders in Equity Institute here. And the Virginia 4-H task force here. 

Climate Change/Sustainability


In December, I traveled to Hawai'i to meet with Cooperative Extension leaders from the University of Hawaii , Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and American Samoa. These impressive 4-H programs prioritize youth voice as they serve many families who identify as Native Hawai'ian and Pacific Islanders. I was honored to meet 4-H'er Jenna (above, left) and learn about how the Kona 4-H Program has helped her build confidence, set college goals, and share her Native Hawai'ian culture through dance and art. Extension leaders, including Tayna Belyeu-Camacho, Northern Mariana Islands, (right), also shared about the effects of climate change and natural disasters on their campuses and programs, how important environmental stewardship is to their 4-H youth, and what they are doing to be part of the solution in their local communities. These sentiments mirrored the data in our Teen Environmental Survey that we released earlier this year. 

Mental Well-being


Here's a fun photo from a hike I took with 4-H Youth in Action Agriculture winner Tashina Red Hawk during the Agriculture Summit at the Summit in Colorado. One of the things we talked about was our own emotional well-being, as Tashina and I both shared our own challenges and how young people and adults in our lives are struggling after the pandemic. I'm grateful for Cooperative Extension's 4-H programs that support the emotional and physical well-being of young people by encouraging positive social interactions with peers and adults.   

Food & Agriculture


There are thousands of Gen Z youth who represent the future of agriculture and food security. Equipping teens with the resilience and skills to build and run our country's agricultural system has always been a core purpose of 4-H. I was so excited to visit the New York State Fair this summer, one of thousands of events where 4-H gives young people the opportunity to showcase their projects like livestock, nutrition, leadership, art and public speaking while developing a lasting sense of belonging and purpose.  

Civic Engagement

Providing youth with opportunities to build leadership and civic engagement skills in the real world is another 4-H priority. And there's nothing better than a live classroom during 4-H Day at the Georgia State Capitol. I hope you'll enjoy this video I took in February as the Georgia State Speaker of the House led a huge stairway full of 4-H'ers in the wave. This event was special to me because it was the first large gathering of 4-H youth I attended since 2020 and it was great to see them all together, learning about leadership from 4-H alums.

My time with 4-H youth this year made me more grateful than ever for the dedication and commitment of the 4-H staff, educators and volunteers who deliver Cooperative Extension's 4-H programs locally. Thank you - you are heroes of youth development. I am excited to see what the future holds as we continue to empower youth to make a positive impact on the world around them.  

If you'd like to see and learn more about 4-H, be sure to visit our website at 4-H.org and/or visit our social media channels @4H and @JSirangelo. I always love connecting with people who are interested in creating opportunity for all young people through 4-H. 

4-H empowers youth with the skills they need to become leaders and positive disruptors in their communities. Through events such as the National 4-H Youth Summit on Agriscience, we ignite within every 4-H'er the desire and drive to do more. This year, 19 delegations made up of youth participants that attended the Summit, in partnership with adult mentors, were provided the opportunity to develop, present and implement a 4-H Lead to Change (LTC) Project.

These LTC projects challenge young people to step up and take action on issues that will influence others, ultimately contributing to healthier communities. States and delegations participating in the Summit were given the opportunity to apply for a grant, with 12 LTC project teams being selected to receive $2,000 each for their projects.

Dedicated support will be provided to the LTC projects throughout the next phase - Scale for Success. Of the 12 original projects, two will be selected in November 2022 to receive a second round of funding of $5,000 to scale and further their impact and reach. This Scale for Success phase will allow the 4-H'ers involved to grow as community leaders, as they cultivate the necessary skills and experiences to create real change where they are.

The deep impact of the 2022 National 4-H Youth Summit on Agriscience would not be possible without our partners: Nationwide, Corteva, Nutrien, Saputo, ADM and Bayer. Their support and sponsorship of the Lead to Change projects continue to inspire communities across the country.

Meet the 2022 4-H Agriscience Lead to Change project winners!

Growing up in a small, rural Louisiana town surrounded by agriculture, I was reminded of the value and importance of the industry every day.

There's no doubt in my mind that I would not be the person that I am today, and in the role that I am in, had it not been for 4-H. The ability to be able to learn how to serve, the ability to learn about civic engagement, the ability to learn how to lead - the heart and the passion that is given from 4-H - have all shaped my career and who I am as a person.

After high school, I earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I went on to Louisiana State University to earn a master's in environmental studies and a Ph.D. in renewable natural resources. As I pursued degrees in male-dominated fields, I was able to rely on the opportunities, skills and confidence I gained through 4-H.

When I stepped into my role at NIFA, a priority was to build a strong, innovative agency filled with some of the nation's very best experts. Our NIFA team is dedicated to strengthening education and Extension outreach efforts to help propel U.S. agriculture forward and solve some of our most pressing national issues.

During my time as NIFA director, I have had the opportunity to spend time talking with and listening to our 4-H'ers about the challenges they face and how we at NIFA can play a role in best serving them.

While we are focused on developing science, knowledge and service delivery to address the big challenges of our time, we are keenly aware of the greatest need we have - to educate and develop the next generation of scientists and leaders for agriculture and our communities.

When it comes to our priorities throughout NIFA, one of the things that we try to do is make sure everyone feels like they belong. That is particularly important with 4-H and positive youth development.

As we work together to be able to build our support for all young people, particularly those that come from underserved populations, we ask what we can do not only as USDA, not only as NIFA, but as people - people that believe in youth. What can we do to make sure we are supporting our commitment to make sure everyone belongs in 4-H?

I recognize that my ability to be where I am is because of the leaders ahead of me. I value my role, and it is a true honor to be helping pave the way for others to find their place in agriculture.

The future is bright, and I am so very encouraged by the work I see being done with our young people in 4-H. By prioritizing positive youth development, I know our young people will be poised to lead.

My English name is Tashina Red Hawk. My Lakota name is Anpetu Yuonihan Win, which means “Honors the Day Woman.”  I represent the Sicangu Lakota Oyate, who are also known as the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. I reflect those who have raised me, taught me, and molded me into the person that I am today. I respect all of Creation and truly believe that we are all related and created equally.

As a Lakota, I was taught that our animals are sacred, and even though animals do not speak our language, they understand us. Many times, I have witnessed an animal’s ability to help and heal a person during their time of need, but I have also experienced this first-hand with a Sunka Wakan “Horse.”

As a young girl, I saw a two-year-old chestnut-colored Appaloosa at a horse sale. While he wasn’t the best looking in the herd, I could tell there was something very special about him, so we brought him home. That year, I had the honor of administering his vaccinations, as well as feeding and gentling him. One day, when I went out to check on him, he was gone! After a week of looking for him, we arranged to meet with a spiritual advisor. Our sacred Lakota ways are a part of my identity, a way of living for me and my family, and I have faith in my beliefs. The spiritual advisor informed us that sickness was coming to our home, but the horse chose to take the illness upon himself. This is the power of a horse – all horses have this ability! Our spiritual advisor told us where to find the horse, and just as he described, we found him beautifully laying under a tree in our 160-acre backyard.

It is experiences like this that have made me passionate about giving back to the animal nation, and with 4-H I’ve been able to do just that. The Rosebud community faces economic hardships, and many people struggle to provide for their pets. The closest veterinarian is 100 miles away round trip and requires a $200 deposit to be seen. Armed with the passion to improve the lives of others in my community and the ethics and morals I learned from 4-H, I began volunteering at the charitable Rosebud Sioux Tribe Animal Clinic as a freshman in high school. Through this volunteer work, I not only found my passion for vet science, but I am able to utilize the skills I learned from 4-H to serve in multiple roles at the animal clinic.

This has helped me find my purpose and spark – to become a veterinarian. My career goal is to use the skills gained from higher education to give back to my community by opening a charitable animal clinic on the Rosebud Reservation, and ultimately, to be the voice of the animal nation.

I feel very blessed to live on the land of my ancestors. The Rosebud Reservation is a sacred place, and we walk and live on her (Unci Maka) gently. I have been privileged with the many teachings that my community, elders and tribe have shared with me. Now, I am grateful that 4-H has given me a voice to share with the Nation about our beautiful way of life.


Tashina Red Hawk is the 2022 4-H Youth in Action Pillar Winner for Agriculture, sponsored by Bayer Crop Science.

There’s still time to combat the summer slide with these kid-friendly tips and activities! They’re fun, safe, and sure to keep the kids sharp as the school year draws near.



Traveling Reimagined

Couldn’t make that annual summer vacation this year? Now is the perfect time to learn about a place you’ve never visited before—like, say, rainforests! Try this 
Paint a Rainforest activity, courtesy of Utah State University Extension, to learn about and create a tropical jungle scene.

Fun with Food

Turn mealtime into a learning moment that the entire family can enjoy. Kids (and adults) can learn how to grow and produce food ingredients with this 
CLOVER collection of activities (brought to you by University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service).

Slushie and Chill

Grab your favorite fresh—or frozen—fruits, a little bit of water or milk, add ice, and blend for a delicious and refreshing frozen drink. You can start with this 
Watermelon Slushie recipe (shared by 4‑H alum Elisabeth) and remix it however you want!

Marshmallows Out

Camping, but make it science! Recharge those STEM skills with these 
Solar Oven S’mores, courtesy of HughesNet.

Just Relaaax

A quiet mind and still body can surely bring some calmness to these last few days of summer. Need a little help managing your stress? This 
Stress Less exercise from The Allstate Foundation and Ohio State University Extension can help you identify daily high-stress activities and make room for more mindful, low-stress moments.

Our world needs to solve big challenges in human health, agriculture, and food, and 4‑H is playing a critical role by cultivating the next generation of leaders in the agriculture industry. After the National 4‑H Youth Summit on Agri-Science this past March, teams of youth took part in the Dolphin Tank.

The Dolphin Tank”—a take on television’s Shark Tank—challenges teams of youth to develop Community Action Plans (CAP) that address a local agriculture issue in their community. The 4‑H-developed challenge provides experiences that lead to Positive Youth Development (PYD)* and sparks curiosity and discovery.

Teams were tasked with developing a written plan then pitching their ideas to ag industry leaders from Brightmark, CME Group, Farm Credit, National Corn Growers Association, Nationwide, New Holland, and Nutrien.

The highest ranked teams pitched their ideas for the opportunity to receive funds to put their plan into action. With support from Nationwide, Nutrien, and Brightmark, 24 teams from 17 states each received $1,000 to $2,000 to implement their Community Action Plan.

One of this year’s Dolphin Tank winning teams was the Eclectic Clovers Club, from Oregon State University Extension 4‑H. We got a chance to talk to Riley, a member of the team and a rising Junior at Zena Springs School in Polk County, Oregon, and Anne M. Walton, the team’s 4‑H leader, about their experience.



Riley and Anne, what inspired you to take part in the National 4‑H Summit on Agri-Science?

Riley: I have been interested in agriculture science since I was in elementary school, starting with dog training and an interest in vet school. After taking Junior Master Gardener classes I am now more focused on farm and forest. I was intrigued by the aspect of growing things that could benefit others, [like] a community garden or seed planning. In college, I want to get an engineering major and a military science minor. After college, I plan to specialize in biotechnology. Starting this project was really the opportunity to get my foot in the door and network with other people.

Anne: As a long time 4‑H Leader and Educator, I am always excited when 4‑H provides an avenue for young people to expand their knowledge and excitement about real world topics and careers.

Regarding your Summit experience, did you learn anything that surprised you?

Riley: I added to my existing knowledge of drone use in agriculture! I did not know how technologically advanced some of the drones could be for crops. This information from the speaker at Nutrien helped me develop my “Dolphin Tank” pitch.  Some of the newest drones can sense temperature fluctuations in different areas of crop fields, find and herd livestock, and ensure safety of workers in the field. Prior to starting this project, I did not know very much [about] aerospace technology and its use in farming.

Anne: For Riley, it was a great [opportunity] to attend the Summit and feel she wanted to try for a CAP Award. When she brought the idea to our survey group, the students got excited about the prospect of some support for advanced equipment to use in the project, and to be part of a national award interview.

What was it like working with your team for this program?


For most of my group it was their first time doing a big presentation. We started by developing a list of what we wanted to cover in the proposal, then we got to work assigning people to topics based on what they were interested in. Once we got the script set in stone and the slides made, we practiced several times over Zoom.  The whole process took about a month.

Part of our project survey area is managed by a private hardwood forest sawmill group from Willamette University and Oregon State University, so we had [several] scientists and foresters that we were already working with to bounce this award idea off of. My team members are great young people that I have already done projects with. We had been using a number of these survey techniques, learning the flora and fauna, and monitoring water levels and health on our own project grounds (my farm) for a couple years. So I felt they were ready to use these skills on a bigger scale and be able to give useful information to the neighboring properties.

What did you learn by preparing for and participating in the ‘Dolphin Tank’?

I learned how to present large-scale information and data in the form of a proposal. I thought the presentation experience was very streamlined. I appreciated the feedback we received after we presented to the panel. For my team and I, seeing the panel of adults genuinely interested was very welcomed because it is never easy for youth to get adults to notice and pay attention to our ideas and concerns about our planet.Anne: When one decides to pursue an award like this, one does so with the intention of succeeding. I told Riley and the team that they made a great effort in their essay and interview, and that alone was a great learning experience. We really could not believe how exciting it was to win. We thank you so much for this tremendous opportunity!

*Positive Youth Development (PYD) is the cornerstone of the   4‑H model. PYD:

  • productively and constructively engages youth within their communities;
  • recognizes, utilizes, and enhances their strengths; and
  • promotes positive outcomes for them by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and providing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths.
Young people have a vision for their future that takes root in their community. The homegrown experiences and hometown connections, many of which originate in rural communities, drive their personal and career growth journey. But far too often, those rural communities are forgotten, resulting in a lack of resources for basic, yet essential, needs like education, career opportunities and healthcare.The Rise of Rural Living, the Fall of Rural Resources

According to the 2018 U.S. Census, 30,000 millennials left large cities for rural living. As this generation continues to make its way back to small towns for a slower pace and peace of mind, things are looking up for those communities. However, a long-standing problem reveals itself—the digital divide.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), approximately 14.5 million people in rural communities don’t have access to high-speed broadband internet and millions more lack the digital skills needed to use it productively. In addition, teens today are feeling the strain from a lack of quality broadband. In a recent 4‑H study on the digital divide, 43% of rural teens surveyed plan to leave their hometowns and 34% of those teens cite poor internet connectivity as the reason. As a result, these towns are losing talent and future innovation. With a surge of young families and many students adjusting to a  digital learning environment, many rural communities risk falling behind.

Prioritizing Place-Based Investment

4‑H and Tractor Supply Company are investing in rural communities through skill development and community building. Collectively, our organizations meet young people in rural communities where they are by delivering resources to ensure they have the tools necessary to succeed in life and career.

Our partnership includes a bi-annual Paper Clover campaign which raises funds that directly impact the operations and continued growth (or impact) of local 4‑H programs.

Tractor Supply has supported 4‑H since 2010. The success of the Paper Clover fundraiser is a testament to the generosity and support of its team and customers for 4‑H’s mission.  The donated funds remain in the state so the young men and women in the communities Tractor Supply calls home have access to invaluable 4‑H experiences such as hands-on educational camps, conferences, and other leadership programs. The 2021 Spring Paper Clover campaign raised over $718,000 bringing our partnership total to more than $15 million in support.  This year was all the more important as students need funding to return to extracurricular activities safely amid the pandemic.

The American Connection Project is a collaboration of Tractor Supply, National 4‑H Council, Microsoft, Land O’ Lakes, and 150+ other industry-wide organizations which provides more than 2,800 free Wi-Fi locations nationwide. This innovative alliance was recently named a finalist for Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards.—Access to these sites, including 1,200 Cooperative Extension offices and 1,400 Tractor Supply stores, ensures reliable broadband is available to communities that need it most.

As the nation’s largest youth development organization, led by America’s land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension System, 4‑H acts locally by meeting the needs of young people, no matter where they are. Our proven positive youth development programs are investments in rural communities that ensure all Americans have opportunities to grow and thrive. And youth are at the forefront of that growth. The expansion of the 4‑H Tech Changemakers program, which empowers young people to teach digital skills to adults in their community, is a vital step in preparing our future leaders and addressing the digital divide.

Eliminating the Opportunity Gap

To create a truly equitable and inclusive future for all, increased investments in rural communities are needed to close our country’s opportunity gap. Farmers, students, families, small business owners and entrepreneurs all depend on vital resources like high-speed internet access to connect and compete in a fast-changing economy. Tractor Supply and 4‑H are uniquely positioned to understand local needs and—as trusted household brands—develop national solutions.

Learn how 4‑H Tech Changemakers is empowering young people to close the digital divide.

Jennifer Sirangelo is the President and CEO of National 4‑H Council

Hal Lawton is the President and CEO of Tractor Supply Company

National Agriculture Day is March 23 here in the U.S., and it has me thinking about the long, unlikely road that led me to agriculture and the importance it plays to the future of my own family and this bigger global community I’m a part of.

Despite my role today and the great pride I have in my work, the truth is, I didn’t think agriculture was for me.

I mean like, not at all.

I grew up on a farm near the small town of Millersville, Missouri. I’m proud to say it’s the same farm my mom, dad, brother and more than 200 of the world’s finest Black Angus cows occupy today.  But, as a teenager, I was convinced I wanted nothing to do with ag once I left the farm.

I worked alongside my dad many days after school, most weekends and every day during the summer. As many of you know, one scorching July of baling hay – the old-fashioned way, with square bales – can quickly turn a person off the idea of farming for a living. As I did my chores, drove tractors, cared for cows and tended to crops, I dreamed of going someplace like Chicago or New York, anywhere but Millersville.

But I learned that sometimes you can’t really appreciate what small-town America and what agriculture has to offer until you leave and come back.

My parents were horrified when I announced my intention to major in Art History and English. While reluctantly supportive, my two very practical parents put their blind faith in me and a power higher than any of us to help guide my path. But what’s really interesting is that English and Art History eventually put me on a career path that took me as far away as the high-tech PR industry in cities like Seattle, Silicon Valley, Houston, Austin and Dallas before leading me straight back to farming first at Monsanto and now at Bayer.

I started to realize what I should have known from the beginning: All the cool things my dad did on the farm, all the biology and science, I loved all that stuff. I just wasn’t very good at them from a technical perspective. But what I was good at was taking those complex ideas and translating them into concepts that were simple to understand and communicate. I can feel my dad giving me that knowing “I told you so look” right now as I write this.

And that’s what my job at Bayer now allows me to do – which is talk about some pretty mind-blowing science we create for farmers every day and explain how that science works to benefit our entire world. The wonderful things that are happening in agriculture impact everyone on the planet, and science is at the core of it all.

National Agriculture Day is a perfect moment in time to have a focused, important conversation about the intersection of science and agriculture and opportunity. And that’s what’s so awesome about 4‑H – they bring people into that conversation.

I’m proud of the work we do at Bayer and the rich tradition of every ag institution participating in National Agriculture Day. Way back when, I was a 4‑H kid. I showed steers at the local county fair, grew prize-winning tomatoes with my grandma in her garden, and went to the Southeast Missouri District Fair in Cape Girardeau to exhibit them all. My mom took me to ceramics classes through 4‑H. I learned how to tie knots and macramé. I went to summer camps where I met lifelong friends.

All these wonderful programs continue to help close the agriculture gap by showing kids what’s possible for their futures, shaping them in ways they might not even be aware of yet. In 4‑H, I even learned public speaking skills that eventually prepared me for my role in communications. Being a 14-year-old kid full of nerves speaking in front of a crowd turned out to very helpful as a professional later in life.

Now, I have kids of my own. And while they don’t seem interested in agriculture either – the way their dad was at their age – it’s hard to say where their journey will lead them. These days I feel like my own father … gently pushing the opportunities an agri-business degree might open up to them.

My dad’s got this great saying: “The older you get, the smarter I’m going to become.” So, if anything, my path proved his old adage true. My parents are proud that I’m as passionate as I am about the work I do in food and agriculture, and the way it supports the work that they and my brother do on the farm. The experiences in 4‑H helped prepare me for a life and career I’m blessed to have.

So, in an odd way, maybe we were both right.

Although I’ve grown up on a farm my whole life, I didn’t come from a 4‑H family. In fact, it wasn’t until I was in third grade that I even began to understand what 4‑H was. Some family friends encouraged me to get involved with some of the programming that 4‑H has to offer, and after talking to them, I knew I wanted to get involved. I went to their house, and I immediately fell in love with all of their cute, fluffy cows. That one positive experience with them turned into a 10-year career that was filled with a broad variety of programs, competitions, and even starting a family livestock business.

As my 4‑H career progressed, I wanted to pass on my knowledge to the future generations of agriculturalists. I not only wanted to teach people about some of the programs I became involved with, but I also wanted to provide them with opportunities that they couldn’t get anywhere else. I began to reach out to students at my school and invite them to come to my house, do their homework, and learn about a variety of potential areas of interest through hands-on experiences. In my time doing this I brought 12 new members to the 4‑H program, and many of those have begun their own cattle herd and have continued my legacy left on them to educate others.During my freshman year of high school, I made a new friend. Her name is Anna, and she has down syndrome. While I was feeding my cows at the fair, she ran up to me and said “I do that,” which to her meant that she wanted to get involved with agriculture but didn’t know how because her abilities were different than mine. Together, we got involved with a program called PossAbilities. This program partners an older 4‑H’er with a member with a disability. These members spend time working on their projects together and learning new things. Today, Anna is active in 4‑H and she now has her own beef herd that all started because we believed in each other’s abilities.Because of 4‑H, I found my passion. I found that I love to work with livestock, but more importantly that I love to educate and advocate for others. My journey began because one person believed in me, and my journey is continuing because of resources like 4‑H at Home. Had I not gotten out of my comfort zone to get involved with 4‑H at a different level, I never would have found my passions.

While I have been stuck at home during this pandemic, I find myself wondering how I can continue to impact those around me. There is one specific resource that has still allowed me to be involved in 4‑H, and that’s 4‑H at Home. This provides activities on a wide variety of topics that can be done with friends and family. For example, you can do a hands-on activity involving agriculture, which isn’t a topic that is covered in the classroom at some schools. 4‑H at Home can introduce young people to new areas of interest, and once an activity is completed it will recommend other activities for you so you can continue your learning journey.

Here are some of my favorite activities that kids can enjoy at home, while exploring different aspects of agriculture:

You can visit 4‑H at Home and use the filter tool to find activities related to agriculture, animal science, and so many other topics. It’s a great resource for young people, and I am thankful for my friends, family, leaders, and organizations for finding new and innovative ways to get involved in 4‑H programming, even while I’m stuck at home.

Madelyn is the 2021 4‑H Youth in Action Pillar Winner for Agriculture, sponsored by Bayer.