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October 02
What 4-H Means to Me: Miranda DeVries

In the spirit of National 4-H week, we have asked some GreenStone team members to share their experience in 4-H, either as a member, a parent or a volunteer. As you will read in their stories this week, it is evident 4-H has a positive impact on many people in many different ways!​

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​Some things that immediately come to mind when I think of 4-H are: Learning new skills (life, leadership, etc.) and building confidence in these skills, realizing the importance of team work, becoming a more responsible individual, facing challenges and problem solving, gaining new experiences and opportunities, making new friends and memories, and of course - fair time!

I started 4-H relatively young-probably around the age of 7. Throughout my years, I was a member of three different clubs spending a couple of years in arts and crafts where we presented our entries at the local fair for judging; a couple years in sewing, where we made our own clothing then participated in fashion shows; and many years in a cooking club, also presenting at the fair for judging. Some of my fondest memories from 4-H were presenting my cooking dish to the judges during the fair, in hopes of earning a blue ribbon!

Another great memory I have from 4-H was attending Exploration Days on the campus of Michigan State University. This event is where 4-H kids from all over Michigan would come and stay a few days in the dorms during the summer and attend all sorts of hands-on learning classes. There was everything from sign language, line dancing, babysitting, farm/ag classes, to business classes, money management, and recreational sports classes.  Members from all backgrounds would eat in the cafeteria dorms, and attend classes similar to how college students do. This was my first time being away from home for an extended period of time with limited adult supervision, where I felt freedom to make my own decisions.  It was a pretty fun experience for my age!

4-H is a great way to get kids and teens involved in their local communities, either from an agriculture perspective such as raising cows, pigs, poultry, etc., or from one of the many other perspectives 4-H clubs offer such as cooking, woodworking, and photography.  4-H is not just about producing a product that will be judged at a local fair. It’s about the time and effort kids put into these projects and the lessons and experiences they gain along the way in the process.  Ask any 4-H kid what their favorite time of the year is however, and chances are their answer will be “fair time!” Even with the long hours and hot, exhausting days that this time frame brings, the fair (and 4-H in general) bring a sense of accomplishment and encouragement for those who participate.  

Miranda is from Livingston County, and works at the GreenStone East Lansing office in the Information Systems Department. 


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