4-H is a tradition in Paige Hamilton’s family.
Her grandmother joined 4-H during the Great Depression and became a 4-H agent as an adult, and her father showed lambs in the 1950s. Hamilton became a 4-H’er in school and worked as a parish 4-H agent, too.
As parents, she and her husband, Jon, helped their five children participate in 4-H from fourth grade through high school.
“4-H has given my children opportunities to go to new places, meet new people and try new things,” Hamilton said. “Through those experiences, they have learned better communication skills, developed leadership skills and practiced important life skills. As a result, my children left the 4-H program with the self-confidence to go out into the world and make a difference.”
In a recent interview, Paige Hamilton discussed with Louisiana 4-H why the program has meant so much to her family.
My children grew up on 4-H stories. They accompanied me on many of my adventures as a 4-H agent. The younger ones attended club meetings and contests with the older ones. Officially becoming a 4-H member was a right of passage for my children. I will never forget the morning the youngest child in our family was finally going to attend her first 4-H meeting as a member. All her older siblings were cheering and clapping for her as she walked out wearing her brand-new 4-H T-shirt. They insisted on taking pictures of the moment.
I definitely believe the 4-H program met individual needs of my children. 4-H is such a diverse program. There are such a wide variety of projects and contests available that it would be difficult not to find something to spark interest. I had kids who excelled in project work because they loved completing the activities in the books. Some of my other children enjoyed leadership and serving on boards. One of my children looked forward to service projects and feeling like they were doing good for others. Whatever a child’s natural inclinations, there will be a part of 4-H that appeals to that child and builds upon their talents.
So many people think of 4-H as a club for kids interested in showing livestock or sewing garments, but for our family 4-H has definitely opened the doors to a whole world of new experiences!
Because of 4-H, my kids have also tried new things they might not have otherwise thought to try but ended up loving. From gardening to photography, my children have tried just about every project 4-H has to offer. Sometimes my children were glad to see projects come to an end. But other times, projects had a long-lasting effect that no one could have predicted.
This question is so hard! I can think of at least a hundred words to describe 4-H. However, I am going to pick “well-rounded.” 4-H is a well-rounded program. It has educational components, service components, competition components, etc. There are so many options of how you can participate: livestock, shooting sports, camping, etc. Members have a wide variety of projects to choose from. It’s just a program that offers so much.