At only 19 years old, Louisiana 4-H alumnus Cade Jenkins is setting the world on fire and forging his own path at his family’s business, Jenkins Blacksmithing.
Cade has found his niche — making handcrafted knives from scratch.
Jenkins grew up in Loranger, Louisiana, with his parents and four siblings. He credits his father with inspiring him to “tinker” and make things, and his mother with “teaching him everything else he knows.” His grandfather founded Jenkins Blacksmithing in 1976, and Cade recently took over the business after his grandfather retired. A Tangipahoa Parish 4-H member for nine years, Cade credits 4-H with helping him learn to run a business.
While I learned my technical blacksmithing skills from my grandfather, 4-H helped me develop life skills that are critical to managing my business, skill sets such as public speaking, how to properly shake hands, record-keeping and money management skills.
The first week was filmed at a studio shop in New York, and the second week was filmed in my home forge. The competition often involved 10-hour days. Louisiana was blazing hot during filming, but the experience was so worth it. The champion piece was a rooster-headed French pioneer sword built at my home forge in Loranger, Louisiana.
During my senior year of high school, Louisiana 4-H won the National Shooting Sports Competition, and I was part of the team. Throughout high school, I competed in various disciples, including archery, .22-caliber rifle, muzzleloader and air pistol. I served as a Louisiana shooting sports ambassador for four years, and that was a great experience. In addition to shooting sports, I enjoyed participating in various 4-H camps and 4-H University because of the friendships that I made. Everything that I did with 4-H is a great memory to me.
4-H taught me that you have to tough through the hard stuff until you get to the good stuff. I learned that you often have to work through mundane things, such as paperwork and registration, to experience the fun and worthwhile experiences, such as 4-H camp, 4-H University and shooting sports ambassadors. I would advise 4-H’ers to get comfortable pushing the limits of their comfort zones. Also, the life skills learned while participating in these opportunities will help them adjust to different environments and situations. Practice and preparation is so worth it. The opportunities that 4-H has given me, along with my blacksmithing skills, have been so worth all of the days and years of practice and sweat.
Landon DeShields is a junior at Grand Lake High School and is an active member of the Cameron Parish 4-H Program. He does not let his disability get in the way of his success. In addition to showing livestock, Landon is actively involved in the Cameron Parish 4-H Junior Leadership Club. Showing livestock, he said, helped him learn to be responsible. He said he has enjoyed the opportunities that have been presented to him while doing something he loves.
As the president of his fourth grade 4-H club in Bienville Parish, Antavion “Tay” Moore would have never believed that he would one day represent the entire statewide program as the Louisiana 4-H president.
He never aspired to be a statewide leader in the organization. He simply wanted to put into action the pledge he recited every month at his local 4-H meetings.
But through his actions while on the Louisiana 4-H Executive Board, he shared his vision and modeled what a true servant leader is.
“4-H taught me life skills that could not be learned from a textbook in my school and gave me opportunities that far exceeded anything I ever imagined, from presenting to leaders of the USDA in Washington, D.C., to being selected to plan the 99th Annual National 4-H Congress,” he said. “I did not achieve these accolades because of my personal charisma — but the inner drive within to positively impact others around me.”
Moore’s advice to new 4-H'ers is to jump in wholeheartedly, leave your worries behind and allow 4-H to push you out of your comfort zone. Take advantage of as many opportunities as you can, he said.
“Where you are right now does not have to indicate where you may be in the future,” Moore said. “Growth starts when you stop being comfortable, and anybody can be a leader, a great public speaker, serve their community and change the world. You just have to be available and willing.”
Moore noted that he never met anyone who regretted being involved in 4-H from an early age, but he has met those who wish they would've gotten involved sooner.
Moore earned two associate degrees from Bossier Parish Community College while in high school through a dual enrollment system. He is currently majoring in biological engineering at LSU. He plans to engage in research, participate in service-learning activities and work with his colleagues to uphold sound values of public service by solving problems to improve the health of society. Moore hopes to one day become a physician and pursue a career in hospital administration.
In addition to being named the Louisiana Senior Student of the Year by the Louisiana Department of Education, Moore was named a prestigious Ron Brown Scholar by the charity named in honor of a former U.S. secretary of commerce. He also was recently selected for the National 4-H Young Alumni Advisory Committee.
“Throughout my journey of life,” Moore said, “I hope I’ve lived for a purpose far greater than myself and inspired other young people to embrace their place as a member of the next generation of leaders.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic began in winter of 2020, masks were in short supply. Sabine Parish 4-H’ers and volunteers banded together to produce masks for the rural western Louisiana community. Volunteers Lynette Mitchell and Ginger Jordan got busy on their machines, and the community donated materials. 4-H’ers Abby Shanley, Morgan Green, Sarah Kate Green, RyLeigh Morales and Allison Russell began turning out masks for the area nursing homes. These Sabine Parish 4-H’ers and volunteers made 1,500 masks, supplying all medical facilities in the parish, as well as two other clinics in Bossier Parish and Lafayette.