Growing up in small town Nebraska, it was the norm to be involved in youth organizations like 4-H and FFA. But one misconception about such groups is that they are only helpful for youth that are interested in a career in agriculture. While I did grow up on a farm and this was likely a factor in my decision to join these groups, I believe the knowledge and experience that I gained from my participation in such groups is something that all youth can benefit from — whether they are interested in becoming a farmer, doctor, or lawyer.
It was obvious to me from a young age that I was not going to be taking over the family farm when I grew up, yet I knew I wanted to be involved in youth ag groups. In addition to being a fun way to get involved in the community and make friends from other schools, I obtained a variety of skills through my involvement that I have carried throughout my life. From learning to meet deadlines, complete projects independently from start to finish, improve year to year and try new things, agricultural youth groups like 4-H were a great way to build my skill set and prepare for my future career.
As a public relations associate at Swanson Russell, my agricultural background and past involvement in youth ag organizations have been helpful in my work with agricultural clients and understanding the large role the agriculture industry plays in our economy and our lives. But more than that, involvement in these organizations as a child and the consequential lessons on hard work, setting goals and devotion can help prepare young members for a successful future, no matter where their career path might take them.