What 4-H Means to Me

Congratulations to Makayla Rettger of the Silver Shadows 4-H Light Horse Club for being this year?s recipient of the Latrace Award at Prairieland Jr. Showcase for her essay entitled ?What 4-H Means to Me?. The Latrace Family Endowment has been in place through the Foundation since 1995, allowing a $225 award to one lucky lighthorse member during the Prairieland Jr. Showcase. Below are excerpts for her award winning essay.

...If you have ever been involved in 4-H, you know it raises confident leaders, teaches money and record keeping skills, creates life-long bonds, and of course teaches you about your chosen project. I have benefited from 4-H in all of these aspects, but whoever knew 4-H would teach an experienced Light Horse Intermediate patience, how to fail successfully, how to lower expectations of yourself and others, and how to not be a competitive person. Now, many of these may sound like negative qualities, but please, let me elaborate. I recently joined the Young Horse project and boy, was I in for a wake-up call. 4-H was always lots of fun and I had learned so many equine things because of it. I thought I would try to challenge myself and my horse-y knowledge by joining the Young Horse project with a Quarter Horse weanling, whom I named Zigby. This little horse and year in 4-H has taught me so many skills and has brought out every flaw I have. This year in 4-H almost means more to me than any other year I have been involved with this organization. I have not only expanded my equine knowledge, but my personality has changed dramatically for the better. I have learned how to be patient, how to tolerate my mistakes and how to fail, and how to put friends before being the best.

...I quickly learned from my leaders that it doesn?t matter how well everyone else around you is doing, it only matters if you are improving and challenging yourself against yourself. This has helped tremendously in school because I was also competitive in that aspect too. I have changed and I?m not so hard on myself if I?m not as good as the other people. Without 4-H I would still be stressing about being the best. Now I?m the best that I can be at that specific time.

...After this year in 4-H, my interpretation of the organization has dramatically broadened from leadership, confidence, and life skills, to all of those qualities plus patience, self forgiveness, and putting friendships before being the best.

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