We all get a start somewhere. For many kids and adults in the community, it can be traced back to 4-H or another youth program. The experiences kids have as they are growing up can have a dramatic impact on how they think about themselves and what kinds of adults they will be.

Recently, interviews for the Outstanding 4-Her and Danforth I Dare You awards were held, and they will be awarded Oct. 2 at the Celebration of 4-H.

The impact 4-H has made on these young people was evident.

Teens from all over the county were nominated by club advisers to compete for the honors. They completed detailed applications, came dressed appropriately for an interview, and talked to the judges about their experiences and how 4-H has benefited them.

Hancock County has a great set of future leaders and community members.

Hannah Betts (Van Buren) plans to study agricultural education or animal science. “All the skills I need to grow and advance in college I have learned through 4-H. Leadership and teamwork are the biggest skills I have learned through my club.”

Ethan Campbell (home-school) plans to study information systems. “My 4-H experiences have shaped the way that I approach situations that come up in daily life, along with shaping my future.”

Annalyse Dissinger (home-school) plans to be a teacher. “All the experiences I have had through my 4-H years contributed to who I am: the struggles, the learned skills, the gained confidence in speaking, the added determination and perseverance to achieve my goals.”

Sarah Ensign (McComb) plans to be a teacher. “As a camp counselor, knowing that younger kids are looking up to me and I am their role model is one of the greatest feelings.”

Martha Foltz (Arlington) plans to be a teacher. “4-H has given me a drive to strive for excellence in all that I do. I believe that it isn’t something you can find anywhere.”

Jessica Haught (Arlington) plans to be an early childhood/special education teacher. “I have learned things about myself through my time in 4-H. Through the projects I have taken, I have learned valuable lessons and skills to use in the real world.”

Avery Holland (Cory-Rawson) plans to be a social studies teacher. “Being active in so many areas of 4-H and in other areas makes you budget your time to make all deadlines, complete projects, and to truly be the best you can be.”

Jamey Miles (Cory-Rawson) plans to be a firefighter. “4-H has allowed me to grow in many areas of my life, from my interests to my friendships, and even how I interact with others.”

Miranda Mowrey (Van Buren) plans to study as a registered nurse. “The experiences I have gained in 4-H are indescribable; they are part of my soul. 4-H has developed in me confidence, compassion, maturity and responsibility.”

Aaron Rider (McComb) plans to study marketing and business. “In 4-H I have learned so many things: how to run a club meeting; how to properly dress when shooting a bow; what composite colors are; how to raise a market hog and get it ready for the fair; and so much more.”

Daniel White (Cory-Rawson) plans to study athletic training and coaching. “My diverse 4-H career has helped me to mature and develop critical thinking skills and has helped me prepare for attending college.”

Karis Wilson (Bluffton) plans to study as a nurse practitioner. “Something else I love to do is public speaking. I won my first clock trophy in the state demonstration contest. In a constantly-changing world, communicating with others efficiently is key to making the world a better place.”

Brandon Zuercher (Cory-Rawson) is exploring different experiences. “During project interviews and demonstrations, I have developed leadership skills on how to express my opinion in a way to help others learn and grow.”

Everyone needs to find their niche. 4-H, FFA, Scouts or another youth organization might be for your child. Help them have an opportunity that will change their life and make an impact on our community.

Anderson is the Extension educator for 4-H youth development at the Ohio State University Extension for Hancock County.