by LIZZIE DEAL
After being involved in 4-H for years, a group of students established a collegiate 4-H club on campus. 4-H is an organization catered towards kids who are in fourth grade through their senior year of high school and helps them to develop their skills and individual interests.
“The concept of 4-H and Collegiate 4-H are a tad different, but both stand to focus on the development of citizenship, communication, leadership, and career skills for members,” Vice President Landra Reece said. “4-H is a youth organization which is backed by the United States Department of Agriculture and the land-grant university within each state. As a collegiate 4-H club, we welcome anyone who wants to take part in a meaningful organization which will give them friends, skills, memories, and awesome opportunities.”
After learning that there wasn’t a chapter available at Drake to join, the students set forth to create their own. “We have a lot of friends up at Iowa State who were also in 4-H and they have their own 4-H club, but we didn’t have that here,” President Haley Ledford explained. “[To become a Registered Student Organization,] we had to come up with a constitution for our organization, as well as assigning positions, come up with our general purpose, some ideas that we had for the future, and present that to the Student Senate. Then they vote on it and you become recognized. It was definitely a long process, but it was a learning process.”
Looking toward the future the club plans to host different service projects as well as help to establish a 4-H club with the youth of the Drake neighborhood, including the Boys and Girls club on campus.
“I’m really excited [to start] an urban 4-H club because that’s not very common and I really want to outreach in this part of Des Moines,” Ledford said. “The 4-H motto is ‘to make the best better,’ and I think that’s a really good thing to live by and remember. There’s always room for improvement and there’s always room to grow, and so helping kids find what they’re good at and get better at it and giving back to my community.”
Ledford hopes that an urban chapter of 4-H will help break the stereotype surrounding 4-H and its participants.
“There’s always this connotation that 4-H is only for farm kids, that it’s very agriculturally based, and while that is 4-H’s roots, there’s so much more to it, and I want to share that with kids,” Ledford said. “I had a really positive experience with 4-H, learned a lot, met a lot of awesome people, and I want that to grow.”
Most of all, the collegiate 4-H club members want to give back to the community that they were a part of growing up so that they can help others in the same way that the club helped them.
“[4-H] is important because it leaves such an impact,” Miranda Fickbohm said. “It gave me so many important skills and helped me to develop my leadership and communication abilities. It’s an important thing to give everyone an opportunity to be a part of and it’s never too late to develop and work on those skills.”