Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Advocating For Agriculture

Name: Shelby Nicole Thomas
From: Indianapolis, Indiana
Grade: 12
School: Franklin Central High School
Votes: 0

For the past seven years I’ve been donating my time, effort, and money
to volunteer for my local 4-H club. Within this I mainly focus on
the Marion County Horse and Pony Club, the Indy Riders. I’ve
been helping this organization because of my passion for agriculture,
education, and livestock.

As a club we have one meeting scheduled a week open for members. As
well as a meeting for the adult board around bi-weekly, which I also
attend. Normal meetings run from 6:30 until around 7:30 to 8
usually. Board meetings run from 6:30 to around 9 or more. As a
club we also have volunteering meetings where we work on cleaning up
and maintaining our section of the county fair grounds. There is
only a handful of us that show up to these work meetings, and through
my seven years I’ve only missed one work meeting.

My responsibilities through volunteering with 4-H go from helping run
and assist with shows including county fair preparation, where my
mother and I type by hand every 4-Her and their horse/pony/mule into
each of our around two hundred classes. This process will usually
run me about six to eight hours of solid computer work just for one
part of the multi parted process. I also do mostly manual labor
jobs, helping our main workaholic Vic setup for events, do
maintenance, and tear down/ clean up after events.

My biggest challenge as a volunteer is trying to get fellow 4-Hers
involved like I’ve been through my years. This will be my last
year in the club as a youth, and while I’m in college in Murray,
Kentucky I will not be able to do all the work I’ve been doing, so
I try to get youth alongside with parents interested in helping out.
I plan on coming back to the club and becoming a leader after I
graduate, but that’s four years away.

The most satisfying thing about helping is seeing everyone learn from the
end product, which is our main event. The County fair. Not only do
I enjoy the 4-Her’s reactions, but the bystanders who walk through
our barn, being able to teach them about the horses and other aspects
of agriculture make all the blood, sweat, and money put in worth it.

As a volunteer through an agricultural program I have learned my passion
of educating others about agriculture. Being the Youth President for
the past three years has taught me to speak in public and try my best
to teach others and grow their love for agriculture.

My volunteering has stemmed my major in college as an Agriculture
Teacher. I know I will definitely continue my participation in 4-H.
I hope mine and everyone’s hard work pays off. Right now I’m
trying to build a new Agricultural Fairgrounds here in Central
Indiana, this is a multi-million dollar project that I pray will make
a difference for future agriculturalists.

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