National 4-H week is finally here! This year the week of October 4th through October 10 2020 marks the week where we can celebrate and share all of the amazing experiences and opportunities 4-H has brought to our lives. I am so proud to be a part of this organization and I am so thankful for what I have learned.

One of my favorite parts of 4-H is that there are constantly more opportunities to improve yourself and become a better volunteer, leader and human. My first leadership role in 4-H was as the Community Service Officer for my club.  Next, I became a junior leader and now a teen leader. I have been able to change what I focus on as I have gotten older and gained more experience. I am now a Youth Ambassador, am helping organize the county and I am currently working as a youth contributor on the National True Leaders in Equity committee. In the past I’ve even been able to be a part of the planning for the entire Youth Summit program in California. 4-H has allowed me to grow in the program and alter my experience to suit me at any given time in my life. It helps me strive to make myself and those around me better and better.

My most meaningful 4-H memory was when I planned and executed the “Backpacks for Kids” project. In this community service project I collected and donated backpacks and monetary donations from various clubs in Ventura county to school children in Quilali, Nicaragua. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Nicaragua, along with my mentor Elizabeth Cornejo, and directly deliver the donations to the kids that benefited from my project. It was a really eye-opening experience and truly shows the amount of ideas you can bring to fruition because of the 4-H program. 4-H has allowed me to help others and have the tools to try and make real change; not only in my local community but also my global community.

In these unprecedented times, a lot of kids my age are stuck at home doing online school and it can be harder to connect to others because of COVID-19 restrictions. Because of 4-H, many youth are able to connect over zoom and learn more about themselves and their communities. Youth leaders are able to work together to reimagine 4-H. There have been a lot of difficulties, but this time has allowed us to grow and change. I am so thankful for the amount of opportunities and experiences I have been able to have because of the 4-H program. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it.

-Adler Striegel