So 4-H Grows True Leaders

By Ron Drum June 28, 2016

I’m told that 4‑H grows true leaders.

When the slogan was first announced a few folks said to me, “Is it that 4‑H grows the leaders or that the leaders just excel in 4‑H?” Perhaps it is a bit of both. I mean, you have to have talent to be great. Yet I’ve known quite a few highly talented people that never seemed to get off the starting block.

And perhaps that is what the slogan is saying.

4‑H grows true leaders.

4‑H provides the water and sunlight, the nurturing and opportunity, the elements essential for success. Within the essential elements 4‑H provides, the young people find the fertile ground in which to take root – and grow.

Timmy Clemetson, a 4‑H member from Belfast, Maine found his fertile ground at the Edward Reynolds House Senior Community, literally. He and fellow 4‑H’ers, planned, acquired the needed materials, and then built raised gardens for the community. Read his story here.

Timmy built a garden to help feed a senior community. Kate Newman of Houlton, Maine cooked up a way to help feed a whole community! She provides her community with free meals and she’s been at it now for three years! Kate says she has a “strong desire to make a difference in even the smallest way and I know the values and work ethic I have learned through 4‑H will guide me in all of my future endeavors.” Here is her story.

Dalaney Dunn of Ellsworth, Maine doesn’t cook food for her neighbors or put down soil to grow food. She promotes 4‑H, and she does it by putting her foot down! But when she does, she can tear the soil up! Dalaney’s 4‑H project is building and racing race cars.

Not little model cars you race down a ramp. Not even the kind they race in the Soap Box Derby. The ones she builds are the kind you put gasoline in and race in NASCAR. That kind of race car! And then she puts the 4‑H Clover on her car and tells everyone about her 4‑H Project!

“4‑H has given me the skills to be able to go out into the community and gain people’s attention,” she says. You can read about Dalany here.

But if it’s a story-teller you want, look no further than Waldo County, Maine’s own Lydia Schofield. Under her pen name, JoJo Thoreau, Lydia recently wrote and published her second book, an illustrated children’s book entitled Buckaroo Bobby Sue. It was so good that the Western Writers Association gave her their 2016 Best Western Storyteller Spur. She is the youngest person to ever receive one! She’s headed out to Cheyenne, Wyoming in June to pick it up in person. She says her 4‑H Writing project helped make all this happen.

When she isn’t writing, or taking care of her 4‑H Dairy cows, she’s telling other children how important it is to be able to read and write, something she wasn’t always good at. But, with help from school and 4 H, she is now! At the end of a recent presentation at an elementary school, a third-grader told Lydia she too struggled with reading. More than a few eyes grew moist when the student added she was glad to know there was hope.

And that student was just one out of more than 6,750 Maine students and adults Lydia’s talked to so far. Did I mention that Lydia is only eleven?

It would seem it doesn’t take much to become a true leader.

Just 4‑H.

I heard 4‑H grows them.