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Featured 4-H'er: Abby K.

Abby is a 4-H'er from Stearns County who currently serves as a Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador. She lives on a hobby farm and has always had an interest in animals. Her participation in 4-H has enhanced her involvement and interest in agriculture, specifically livestock. Ten years ago, when she first started 4-H at the age of 6, her only livestock project was showing rabbits that she leased from an aunt. Since then, she has continuously increased the number of livestock she's shown at the county fair, including swine and dairy heifers, and has participated in dairy knowledge bowl and dairy judging. Abby currently works on a dairy farm that is owned by one of the 4-H families in her county and plans to add a breeding pen of Call Ducks to her livestock entries in the coming year.

Through her 4-H experiences, Abby has discovered and is pursuing a career path toward becoming a large animal veterinarian. While preparing her Veterinary Science projects, she has included other species of animals that large animal veterinarians would often tend to and treat. These projects have provided her opportunities to job shadow local veterinarians and gain further knowledge to prepare for her future.

Another area that 4-H has provided Abby opportunities to explore is robotics. Through her involvement in a local robotics club, she is able to learn about technological advances as they occur and relates them to the effects that they have on the agricultural industry.

Serving as a local 4-H ambassador through the Stearns County Junior Leaders program led Abby to apply for and be accepted as a Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador. Through this program, she has had the opportunity to learn about many different parts of 4-H including STEM, performing arts, and clowning, and how 4-H can look different in different parts of the state, but still be the same program. She has built up her leadership skills through officer positions in the Stearns County Dog Club, Robotics Club, and her general 4-H Club, Spunk Creek Critters. Through these leadership experiences, she has improved in public speaking, working with adults and youth, conflict management, and teamwork. She has also gained appreciation for the value of community service as a participant in activities such as cleaning ditches and preparing a meal for the residents at the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis.

4-H has given Abby, and many other youth in Minnesota, life changing experiences by allowing them the chance to not only explore areas they are passionate about, but to also challenge themselves and experience new opportunities they might not have otherwise experienced. By supporting Minnesota 4-H, you can invest in the youth of Minnesota, youth like Abby, who take a small opportunity and make it into a whole new enlightening experience.

Erin Kelly-Collins
Alumni engagement coordinator
Minnesota 4-H Foundation

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