Gordon County 4-H will be hosting an Open House on Monday, Sept. 25 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. This Open House will showcase all of the programs offered in 4-H, along with all of the staff members, volunteers, teen leaders and current 4-H’ers in the programs. Youth will meet new friends, play games, explore 4-H programs and enjoy activities while parents will learn about opportunities for their children and themselves in 4-H. All school-age children and their parents are welcome to attend. Supper will be provided. Sign up for a text message reminder of the open house by texting @gcount to 81010. As the Open House approaches, we will be doing a series of articles on current 4-H’ers and 4-H alumni of Gordon County to highlight the impact 4-H makes on its members.
Graduating Senior Chelsea Clayton
What years have you been in 4-H?
I’ve been in 4-H since I started public school in 6th grade.
What activities do you do in 4-H:
I have participated in almost everything 4-H has to offer, including livestock judging, Lifesmarts, Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging, and Project Achievement. I’ve served on County Council as an officer since 9th grade, as vice-president for two years and president for two years.
What DPA projects have you done and what was your specific topic in each of them?
My 6th grade year, I did a project in the Horse category on miniature horses. In 8th-10th grade, I did a project in the History category on Color Guard. Last year in 11th grade, I competed in the Public Speaking Category with a speech on the tug of war of life.
Why have you stuck with 4-H through high school?
I have stuck with 4-H through high school because of the wonderful friends I’ve made and the bonds we have with each other, not to mention the awesome adults that teach you more about life than school ever has.
What are you most excited for this year in 4-H?
I’m most excited about going to Project Achievement this year. Because it is my last time being able to compete, I want to make the best out of it.
How has your time in 4-H helped you in high school and as you prepare for life after high school?
A lot of bullying happens on a daily basis in school, but I have always had 4-H to lean on when things hurt my feelings. 4-H teaches you to be the better person, how to deal with the things of everyday life and how to handle all kinds of situations. I’ve even learned how to deal with bills because of being on the Lifesmarts team.
Best 4-H memory?
My best 4-H memory happens to be the last District Project Achievement, when everyone was done presenting their projects, and everyone from Gordon County 4-H got to hang out, play together, and bonded as a group.
What do you want people to know about 4-H?
I want people to know that 4-H is a very open place for anyone and everyone you wouldn’t hang out with on a normal basis. You get to experience things you wouldn’t have otherwise and you will always have someone to lean on when you need them.
4-H Alumna Katie Sutherland
What is your current occupation?
I graduated from Shorter University with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and have recently accepted a position at Gordon Hospital as a Registered Nurse.
What years were you in 4-H?
I was in 4-H from 2003 (5th grade) to 2011 (12th grade) when I graduated from Sonoraville High School.
What activities did you do in 4-H?
While in 4-H, I attended monthly school club meetings; submitted a recipe in the MilkMake Contest; was a member of the Livestock Show Team with my lamb project; compiled Livestock Project Record Books; competed in the SAFE Shooting Sports Program through the 5-meter BB rifle and shotgun (modified trap) disciplines; livestock judging; dairy cattle judging and poultry judging. I was active in Operation Military Kids, participated in District Project Achievement in the Time and Money Management, Lambs and Meat Goats, and Public Speaking project areas. I completed a class and became a certified teen leader. I attended State Council annually, Weekend in the Classic City, Leadership Day/4-H Day at the Capitol, and yearly conferences and rallies.
What was your main project area and what was your specific topic?
I initially competed in Cloverleaf Project Achievement in the Time and Money Management project area. For my presentation, I shared information on opening a checking account and correctly recording transactions with tips on saving money for college. I won first place! As a seventh grader, I chose Lambs and Meat Goats as my project area. My presentation gave step-by-step instructions on preparing your lamb and yourself for shows and included a check-off list. As a high schooler, my project area was Public Speaking. To build up my portfolio, I spoke at various local civic organizations, wrote weekly newspaper articles for a six week period, created tri-fold brochures on exhibiting livestock, competed in several public speaking contests including Georgia National Fair and jumped at every opportunity to speak….publicly. My speech was titled Perseverance. I placed first at district competition and advanced to State 4-H Congress, the best of the best competition. With a total of five competing in the Public Speaking Project Area, I placed second in the state!
How has your time in 4-H helped you since graduation (both in college and in the workforce)?
I feel that 4-H helped me the most by allowing me so many opportunities to building up my confidence and self-esteem. With 4-H, you can start out slow and easy as a fifth grader and each year add more. Speaking in front of a group of people was always scary for me. While in 4-H, I learned how to research, organize information and write a speech. This allowed me to feel comfortable with my topic. Having confidence in knowing my topic and being able to practice in front of a few other 4-H’ers encouraged me to push a little more and soon I was able to speak in front of groups. I have given speeches to as few as two and as many as 3,500 people. As a high school senior, having experience with public speaking helped me in interviewing for scholarships, applying for a part time job, securing a place in Shorter University’s nursing program, and obtaining my current job.
Best 4-H memory?
There are a lot of great memories from my 4-H years, but the one which comes to mind first is being selected as a Cloverleaf Camp Teen Leader at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. This was a non-stop, ready to go by 7 a.m., in bed at 11:30 p.m. week of working with and watching some amazing 5th and 6th grade students. Together we learned, swam, danced, explored, and had a lot of laughs. This week sharpened my leadership skills and re-enforced the importance of being responsibility.
What do you want people to know about 4-H?
4-H is a great way to not only make lifelong friends, learn new things, and go new places, but it also teaches responsibility and social skills that you will carry with you the rest of your life. There is something in 4-H for everyone whether you want to be extremely involved or just participate in a couple of programs. The possibilities are endless in 4-H and they all guide you to become a well-rounded, mature adult.