Program has provided leadership, service and cultural opportunities for 4-H’er

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 1, 2022

By Olivia Stirrup

Happy National 4-H Week! I’m Olivia Stirrup and I’m celebrating this week by sharing my 4-H story. First, let me introduce myself. I have been in Rowan County 4-H for 3 years and I’m currently the president of the Rowan 4-H County Council and the Rowan Rolling Pins 4-H Club. I am a junior at South Rowan High School and an early college freshman at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. I enjoy reading, cooking, spending time with friends and attending my 4-H club meetings.

My 4-H story began in May of 2019 when I attended my first Rowan Rolling Pins 4-H Club meeting when the club was just beginning. Since then, I have taken on multiple leadership roles in both the Rowan Rolling Pins and Rowan County Council, including being reporter and president. I have also attended district 4-H trips including Winter Enrichment in 2019, Teen Retreat in 2020 and Virtual Winter Enrichment in 2020 and state level 4-H trips including Virtual Citizenship Focus in 2020 and NC 4-H Congress in 2022. I have competed in county, district and state level presentations since 2020 where I have received gold and silver level awards. I have participated in programs like Speak-Up, International Pen Pals, Global Exchange Student, Summer Fun and Poultry Judging.

Since 2019, 4-H has given me the opportunities to grow through public speaking, leadership, community service and travel. Through the Speak-Up program, I learned how to improve my public speaking skills and become more confident in front of my peers. While participating in the International Pen Pal Program, I was matched with a teenager from South Korea where I learned about her family, culture, schooling and country. Over the summer, my family and I hosted a foreign exchange student from Japan through a 4-H international exchange program. We gained new knowledge through our cultural differences and customs. While attending trips like Winter Enrichment, Teen Retreat and 4-H Congress, I have met 4-H’ers from all across N.C. and participated in workshops like Becoming A Camp Counselor, Team Bonding and Leadership and Civic Engagement.

Through 4-H, I have stepped outside my comfort zone and tried new things. 4-H has given me so many new opportunities that have shaped me into the person I am today. I have met tons of new people, including city, county and state officials, and have gained lifelong friendships and connections. My 4-H connections have even given me the job opportunity I have today. I have gained new role models like my 4-H agent, Laura Allen. She has become a strong individual in my life who is always a source of positive encouragement and leadership. She is someone I will always look up to.

I’m very thankful for everything I have gained and continue to gain through 4-H. It’s a great way to get involved in your community and try new things. To me, 4-H is beyond what you see on social media or in your local newspaper. 4-H not only gives me an opportunity to grow but also gives me a place where I can explore my interests and capabilities. Although my 4-H story began 3 years ago, I feel as though it’s just the beginning. I cannot wait to see what else 4-H has in store for me and I will always continue to make the best better.

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