Striking Luck with 4-H Clovers

Striking Luck with 4-H Clovers

Blake Garber, Journalist

“I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, and my Health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world, to make the best better.”  That would be the 4-H Pledge, a habitual oath recited at the commencement of standard meetups in 4-H clubs.  

Many of us Piedmont Panthers claim school is a core essential, but extracurricular activities are also an integral component of collegiate applications, not just exceptional GPAs and employment opportunities.  After all, only 18% of generation Z was employed likely due to educational endeavors in 2018 anyway, according to Pew Research Center.  What better way to get involved in extracurriculars than by joining 4H, especially when members age out of certain clubs as seniors when they transcend eighteen or nineteen years old?  Of course, one can re-enter as a volunteer, leader, county cooperative extension agent (ours is currently Crystal Starkes), council member, or any other service within the industry of 4-H, but several fellow members I have conducted interviews with have reported joining young to be far more gratifying.  Anyone can sign up at any time so long as they meet age requirements, which is as young as five to eighteen years old.

In 4-H, there are various clubs to get involved in.  There’s cooking, STEM, nature exploration, horse husbandry clubs, along with other versatile focuses such as aerospace, civic engagement, zoology, sewing, livestock management, leadership, the list rambles on.  A 4-H club requires five or more members to constitute it and there are currently fifteen active clubs of the Union County 4-H department.  You can find more about times and meeting schedules on the Union County 4-H Website.

Joining 4H also provides an opportunity to connect with other students from different schools.  Emily Eddy, an Ardrey Kell High School junior, wanted “to be able to do more activities and be more involved in the barn,” which is the Brandywine Stables facility in Midland owned by Samantha Taylor, a 4-H club leader.  In Emily’s experiences with 4-H, she has gained “a lot of friends and (a) place of security.”  Her journey has taken her around two years into her membership and she has participated in a basketful of opportunities including Horse Bowl, Horse Judging, Hippology, all the classic shows, the District 4-H Show, and the State 4-H Show.

4-H not only benefits students in linking together interscholastic connections, but also unveils the deluge of unexplored opportunities to them as well.  Better yet, it opens up many competitions to those seeking to unleash their unbridled competitive spirit, for instance, in Horse Bowl, Hippology, and Horse Judging, a string of contests where members relinquish their lives to studying with rigor and mettle about the horse.  The 4-H program is known for encouraging sportsmanship, erecting self-esteem, giving modesty, and enriching the world with the output of responsible, well-rounded individuals of all qualities colleges are looking for.

“If I had not done 4-H and horse judging, I would have far less academic awards and future opportunities,” said Olivia Hill, a thirteenth-year student in attendance at Central Piedmont Community College for her Associate’s degree.  She affirmed how the club engrained an impactful seed in her self-esteem that bloomed her confidence enough to devise an occupation she describes as “somewhat demanding and difficult…forensic psychology.”  Her four years in navigating her facilitated growth throughout 4-H have taken her to judging in the District, State, Regional, National, and World levels as well as communications at the District, State, Regional, and National levels.

Tales of unparalleled success are founded and nurtured to fruition day after day with 4-H youth.   You can find more information if you are interested in the 4-H section of the NC State Extension website by visiting