Monday, November 15, 2010

The importance of Youth Programs

As an 11 year 4-Her, past local officer, and past SD State 4-H Youth Council State President, I see myself as a very strong advocate and example of how youth programs can really change your life!

My 4-H story starts in October of 1999 when I joined the Prairie Lassies and Clippers 4-H Club in Spink County. I started the year with my show heifer Miss Kitty, my goats Lola and Nona, and several static exhibits. When I was awarded Grand Champion Breeding Heifer at the county fair(and I must point out that I did so by beating my 18 year old brother! ;D ) I was overwhelmed with joy and I realized I had found where I belonged!

Jumping ahead to June of 2008, I was selected onto the South Dakota State 4-H Youth Council. This was a change I never knew would have such an impact on my life! The following June, June of 2009, I was chosen as the 2009-2010 South Dakota State 4-H Youth Council State President, a job that sure was a roller-coaster, but a fun one at that! I was privileged enough to personally get to know the Director of Extension at South Dakota State University, Dr. Latif Ligari, as well as the Assistant Director for 4-H/ Youth Development  Peter Nielson. Along with L.J. Osborn, Marilyn Rasmussen, Nancy Swanson, LaNell Quam, Dr. Barry Dunn and so many more that I could keep listing names for hours! This experience left me with the strength, self-confidence, and desire to continue moving forward with 4-H!
As the State Legislature was closing and voting on their FY 2011 budget, 4-H was on the list of cuts! With the self-confidence and "oh no you didn't" attitude, I personally wrote, signed, and addressed 105 letters, mailed them to all the legislators, and awaited the fait of the program that I love oh so much! Well, as most of you know, we still got a big cut! But, we dusted ourselves off and are ready to face the next legislative term that is ahead of us!
As I wrapped up as 4-Her, I continued on my path of success and desire to promote programs, as well as the love for agriculture that I gained through my 11 year experience! 4-H is where I met most of my dear friends, where I found my love for showing cattle, and where I found my passion in helping others and promoting the program itself.

So, in closing, I encourage each and everyone of you to find a program that fits your interests! Whether it be 4-H, FFA, FBLA, FCCLA, or whatever, find something that fits what you enjoy doing! Mine was agriculture and promoting agriculture in a positive way! 4-H and FFA are the best programs you can find to do that! {My school did not have FFA, hence why I was not in it!} But please, go out and make something of yourself! Be the strong leader that you can be! Bring out that personality that so many people could fall in love with that is hiding deep down inside of you! That is what 4-H did for me! It brought out the shining star that I knew I could be, I just needed a little extra push!

Oh and P.S. CONGRATS to my cousin Cully Williams on being selected as 2010-2011 District VI FFA Treasurer!! :) So proud of you cuz! And also Big Rob on winning the Exemplary Speaking Contest and advancing to the state competition! And to other District FFA winners, Congrats to all and good luck at the State Competition!


  1. :) Thanks Caloline... you really are sweet

  2. I enjoyed your post. Continue your work as an ambassador of agriculture. I'm proud to call you my friend.

  3. said by a certain historian of the same officer year...