While Tyler Lappe put his sweat to good use volunteering at the Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center in Columbia this past summer, he was also sweating about his chances to become Missouri's next 4-H president.
Lappe's wishes were answered as he took the podium in the closing session of the 2011 State 4-H Congress and delivered a speech as Missouri 4-H Council's new youth leader.
4-H youth in every Missouri county are represented by their peers on the State 4-H Council. The Missouri State 4-H Council is comprised of four officers, four state representatives, and 28 regional representatives. Elected from each region at State 4-H Congress, the State 4-H Council assists in planning and implementing statewide 4-H programs, advises on 4-H program and policy issues, and works to address the issues and concerns most important to Missouri 4-H youth. The State 4-H Council is a youth-adult partnership of the University of Missouri's 4-H Center for Youth Development and Lincoln University Extension.
4-H teaches life skills
As Lappe shoveled mulch for horse trails for children with disabilities, he reflected on what really kept him involved in the organization. He's spent more than 10 years in 4-H -- from his small chapter in Oak Ridge, to his current Collegiate 4-H involvement as a sophomore at the University of Missouri.
"It's about the enjoyment and almost family atmosphere that you get from being involved with the state 4-H council," Lappe says.
Lappe has served as a regional representative on the state 4-H council for two years. "It's satisfying to see in others the passion I've felt for 4-H," he says.
That passion was evident in more than 270 youth who spent three days of learning and fun at the 66th annual State 4-H Congress last June in Columbia. Activities ranged from hands-on workshops with a professional chef to service projects, and from a livestock judging clinic to helping businesses develop marketing aimed at youth and college-aged students.
Bradd Anderson, state 4-H council lead adviser and University of Missouri Extension state youth development specialist, believes the state congress helps youth like Lappe embrace success now and well into adulthood. "This is where many youth come to learn important life skills, learn leadership and have a lot of fun making peer connections," Anderson says.
The 4-H experience can range from local activities to international programs. Lappe notes that one of the most exciting opportunities for him came last year when he stayed with a host family at a dairy farm in Australia.
"I milked cows for three weeks straight and loved every minute of it," Lappe says. "The youth in Australia were just amazed at what 4-H offers and how many opportunities 4-H gives you through youth leadership."
National 4-H Week is Oct. 2-8. For more information on Missouri 4-H programs, visit www.4h.missouri.edu or call 573-882-7430.
Source: Missouri 4-H Center for Youth Development