Column: With deep family roots, 4-H became my second home


PUNGO — Explaining what 4-H means is like trying to describe what water tastes like. I grew up calling the Virginia Beach 4-H Livestock Club my second home. 

However I wasn’t the only one. Most people around here instantly think livestock or “horse and pony club” when they hear 4-H, but it is much more than that. 

Arts and crafts, livestock, horse and pony club, teen club, cooking club, and dog agility, are just a few programs 4-H has to offer. Over 7 million of the world’s youth are enrolled in at least one 4-H club.

The organization teaches the youth more than they could ever imagine because it is based around the six pillars of life: caring, respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, and citizenship.  It not only taught me those essential traits, but it also taught me to never give up. 

There were many times I wanted nothing to do with showing animals because my lamb refused to walk and would run the opposite way. 

With some blood, sweat, a lot of tears, and a handful of sweet feed, I learned how to handle challenging situations. It taught me that nothing will work out immediately. 

It takes hard work to get places, and you will eventually succeed if you are persistent. 

Becoming a 4-H All Star was my second biggest goal when I was five — the first, of course, was to be a pink and purple sparkly princess as any other five year old had dreamed of. 

A 4-H All Star is the highest honor a 4-Her can achieve. In my family it is almost tradition. My older sister, father, uncles, my Grandaddy and Memaw, my great grandfather, almost all of my cousins, and probably a few more I forgot about, are all 4-H All Stars. 4-H is a large part of my family, so to be accepted as an All Star meant the world to me. 

Not every 4-Her gets to be an All Star. 

The application process is long, even stressful at times. It took me a couple of weeks spending over an hour a day working on it just to finish my rough draft. I had to count my hours of everything I had ever been involved in with 4-H – and even things outside of 4-H. 

All Stars must be those 4-Hers who are constantly involved, the ones who are at almost every single event and those who participate in making the community better. 

 4-H All Stars often represent the leaders and the ones who will be returning to the club to pass back what it gave to them. We understand that 4-H is more than a club. 

It is a way to make the future a brighter and better place because, as 4-Hers, we strive to make the best better.

Vaughan, of Pungo, will began studying at Old Dominion University this fall.

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