My 4-H journey began the summer of fourth grade with an end of the fair week sale of an obese, spunky, nippy, black Mini Rex Rabbit. The condition my parents gave me for getting the rabbit was that I had to join 4-H. I eagerly began attending meetings and ever since then I have lived by the motto “To Make the Best Better”. My pet rabbit project turned into breeding rabbit projects along with a cavy project. I remained in the program until I was 19. I grew up with a learning disability and things did not always come easily; 4-H allowed me to be successful when I didn’t always succeed academically. I had very tough competition in the rabbit barn and it took me many years before I won and was able to move on to Showman of Showman. Over those many years I learned the importance of sportsmanship and how to lose gracefully.
As I got older, I joined other 4-H leadership teams, participated in 4-H activities, and held offices within my club. I learned about breeding, quality assurance, genetics, end of life, and an endless amount of other things. Some life skills I acquired were how to lead, create agendas, and maybe the most important of all is to speak in public. I also learned to serve my community, stay active, appreciate agriculture and support local farmers. The skills acquired over the years contributed to my success in college and are helping me accomplish my goals in my career. Without 4-H I do not know where I would be. I can honestly say I would not have the drive, leadership skills, or confidence that I have today.
I am still active as an advisor in the same club in which I grew up. My Dad is 4-H alumni and for that I am grateful because it opened the doors for the rest of my family. My sisters both participated in the program as well. My mom quickly became an advisor and still serves. My niece and nephew have also been exposed since birth and are active members in our club. It’s amazing to see them learn, grow, and find projects of their interest. I love seeing their anticipation for fair and successes. My kids are very young but already show a strong interest in participating, a love for animals, and the fair. I think it’s innate. For us, 4-H and the fair have become a family tradition and I do not think any of us would have it any other way. Thank you, 4-H, for all the amazing experiences you have provided to me and my family, I am excited for the ones yet to come! ~by Amanda Siciliano