Grant County volunteer values skills developed and project variety in 4-H
As a 4-H volunteer, Jennifer Winningham-Floden has a front row seat to watch the benefits of 4-H play out in Grant County.
Striving for service
Though she was never a 4-H’er herself, Jenn has definitely gotten her 4-H fix as an adult. Her husband Brent’s parents were founding members in the club their children are still in today, the Redwood 4-H Club of Grant County.
Their six kids, ranging from 22 to 11, have grown up in 4-H. And Jenn has been with them the whole way, beginning her volunteer journey fourteen years ago. Her first role was club leader, planning activities and informing the club with important news during their monthly gatherings. She’s just recently “passed the torch” to the next volunteer who will lead in this same capacity. But Jenn’s not going away! She remains supportive of the club events and also helps with the annual banquet and awards committee for the county federation. She’s also serving a three-year term on the Grant County Extension Committee, which provides advice and oversight of all the Extension programming offered locally.
Being a volunteer in 4-H allows Jenn to see up close the benefits of 4-H participation for youth in her community. “I’ve seen kids apply to colleges, for scholarships, and explore work opportunities because of their 4-H experiences,” she recently noted.
Jenn’s son Jakob is one of the many youth she’s seen benefit from 4-H involvement. His 4-H experiences gave him an edge when it came to interviewing for an internship, which happened to be at an agriculture-related company. “The extra leadership and agriculture background through 4-H essentially got him the internship,” Jenn said. “4-H is a great resume-builder, and shows youth how to become leaders!”
Why devote your time to 4-H?
Though 4-H is a family tradition for Jenn, she recognizes how “amazing the variety of projects there are offered for 4-H youth” even who are brand new to the program. She notes that no matter what a youth’s background is – rural, urban, or suburban – there is a project area for everyone. Jenn credits 4-H for helping youth in Grant County, including her own children, to develop many important life skills, including critical thinking, empathy, communication, and self-awareness. They can take these skills into any career, community, or service role.
A place where everybody can grow
Though 4-H is designed to make an impact on the lives of young people, adult volunteers can also discover new traits and hone their skills through 4-H participation.
Jenn recommends being a 4-H volunteer to other adults. “You can be involved as much or as little as you wish. It’s fun to share your interests and talents with youth. Helping kids grow is very rewarding!”
Want to help youth grow? Volunteer with 4-H today.
By Bailey Ruen
University of Minnesota student
Fillmore Co. 4-H member