Tis the season to look back upon the decision that started it all

Whenever I think of my favorite holiday memories, the obvious choices of good times shared with friends and family always come to mind, but the one that stands out was the night that essentially made me who I am today.

My brother was interested in joining Enumclaw’s Chinook 4-H club in fall 2000 so we went to their Christmas party. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about joining 4-H and only went because my mom made me go. I also didn’t know that it would be a major turning point in my life. At the celebration, I met Sarah who is still one of my friends today. She was also just joining the club and eventually persuaded me to as well. The Chinook 4-H club is more like a family than a club and I wouldn’t be who I am today without it. Joining 4-H was the best decision I have ever made.

How could 4-H have that much of an impact on me? I used to be very shy, but the annual demonstrations forced me to overcome that. It was a huge honor when I was asked to speak on behalf of the American Dairy Science Association at the National 4-H Dairy Conference as the national president last year. Before, I wouldn’t get up in front of three people and speak, but this past year I spoke to hundreds and it didn’t even phase me. 4-H gave me the confidence I needed to succeed and gave me a love of showing dairy cattle. You can’t forget all of the amazing people I met along the way. People who are still to this day some of my best friends. Nothing beats hanging out in the barn at the state fair!

It is because of 4-H that I became a Dairy Princess, studied dairy in college and became so involved in dairy activities. It’s amazing what a program can do and how a decision that seemed so small at the time can have such an impact. Thanks to all of my 4-H leaders—you did make a difference!

Wishing you and yours a very happy and safe holiday season!

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