For many GreenStone customers and employees, 4-H was a building block in their career path. Helping ensure the next generation of youth have the same opportunities requires dedicated volunteers who give back to their local programs. 4-H teaches kids about record keeping, profit and loss, networking, business etiquette, teamwork, problem solving and much, much more. With the future leaders of the agricultural industry learning these imperative skills, the industry is destined for growth and success.
Ashlee Gibson, a credit analyst in GreenStone’s Alma branch, is the leader of the North Gratiot Livestock 4H club in Michigan’s Gratiot County.
“I love working with these kids,” Ashlee said. “My favorite thing about it is seeing their excitement at fair when their hard work pays off.”
Ashlee was what one might call a legacy in 4-H. Her grandparents were the leaders of the same 4-H club when her dad and his siblings were in 4-H. Ashlee’s mom was the 4-H leader when Ashlee and her siblings were in 4-H. Ashlee later became the secretary, then president of the club. She is now leading the club, and her children are now involved learning the same values and skills she was taught as a child.
“I remember taking my first calf, Penny, to the fair,” Ashlee shared. “I was very heavily involved in 4-H and I had a strong background in beef. I feel like I was destined to become the club’s leader.”
Ashlee organizes and facilitates club meetings, and teaches the club’s officers to do the same. The club’s fundraiser each year is working the ice cream stand at their county fair. Ashlee helps organize the stand, and the 4-H members take turns running the stand throughout the week.
Ashlee added, “The kids learn all sorts of valuable lessons, even down to the basics like shaking hands and how to properly introduce themselves. The value is huge.”