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Be your own best advocate

February 28, 2019
4-H be your own best advocate Charles
Charles with his Grand Champion chicken at the Minnesota State Fair

In 4-H, we teach youth to be advocates for their projects. And we hope they'll raise their voice for a peer or a cause

they're passionate about. We teach them to advocate for agriculture, STEM, and everything in between. Charles M. of Dodge county has learned all these things, but above all he's learned to advocate for himself.

Throughout his 4-H experience, Charles has explored the rabbit, poultry, and beef projects. As he's gotten older, Charles has taken on leadership roles within the poultry project -even serving on the Minnesota 4-H poultry committee. His growing skills in poultry and leadership have earned Charles what he calls his "greatest honor and experience" winning the title of 4-H Poultry Prince in 2017.

The Poultry Prince and Princess Contest is a scholarship program that showcases the poultry knowledge and leadership of Minnesota 4-H youth. The program gives members like Charles the opportunity to develop networking skills, gain media experience, and serve as ambassadors of the program throughout a year of service. This past Charles won the 4-H Advanced Poultry Showmanship competition, another honor that this poultry prince alum can cherish.

Not just focused on individual success, Charles set another goal that required members from his whole county's team to pursue together -maintaining the first place title in herdsmanship during the State Fair. The herdsmanship contest allows 4-H members to demonstrate the effort and consistency they put into ensuring their animals are safe and comfortable while on the state fairgrounds. Again, success. Dodge county reigned supreme, earning top placement for a third straight year.

While his special interest in poultry has earned Charles several accolades, he is especially reflective of the character these opportunities have built in him. "The poultry project has helped me in many different aspects. I've become a better person," Charles reflected. "I'm an active of member of society and the community and have gotten close to those around me because of 4-H."

But what has been the biggest takeaway for Charles in his years of 4-H? "The ability to advocate for myself," he said without a moment of hesitation. "Whether going to an interview, asking questions, or talking to peers, self advocacy goes a long way in society these days."

4-H has empowered Charles to succeed in life and the confidence his grown has helped him develop plans for his future. "One day I hope to work as a clinical psychologist focused on mental health and wellness." He plans to work close to his roots in the Rochester area. Charles has also been inspired to support the 4-H project that supported him throughout his 4-H career. "And I definitely plan on being a poultry judge in my own community."

We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, Charlie!

Janelle Hueners
University of Minnesota student
Chisago County 4-H alum

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