4-H Scholar Spotlight
Bill and Barbara Holthaus Family 4-H Scholarship Recipient
As a freshman this fall at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, 4-H scholar Madison Mahaffey has found herself drawing on many of the skills she learned during her years as a 4-H member in Montezuma County.
“It’s definitely helped me create the work ethic I have now and I think it helped me get into Colorado College,” Madison said. “It’s so different to be up here by myself. Raising animals and having to complete projects on time has taught me to be responsible and get stuff done.”
Madison became involved with the Battlerock 4-H club in Cortez, Colorado when she was just eight years old and spent a decade participating in a diverse range of projects including ceramics, rabbits, sheep, goats, dogs, archery and woodworking.
She also jumped at leadership opportunities, serving on her county council, attending the State 4-H Leadership Conference and as a Montezuma County representative for Citizenship Washington Focus. “It was fantastic,” she said of the experience. “I was part of a debate group where they taught us how to keep the flow of conversation going, and it was amazing to be able to tour Washington D.C.”
Madison is leaning toward a major in foreign languages, and says she’s grateful to be furthering her education at a small arts college in Colorado—an experience that involves a renowned unique block plan, and began with students participating in community service activities before school officially started late last August.
“The classes are amazing,” Madison said. “The 4-H program has made me a more confident and capable young adult ready to achieve success in my continuing education.”
The word “leader” could well be Justis Marshall’s middle name. As a 4-H scholar and freshman majoring in Agribusiness Pre-Law at Oklahoma State University, Justis has already been selected as a member of the President’s Leadership Council. He says he’ll be drawing on life and leadership skills gained from his 11 years in Kit Carson County 4-H clubs to help him succeed as a council member. “Growing up in a rural community, 4-H is something you’re always a part of but getting involved on a larger level I was able to gain valuable leadership skills,” he said.
Of his numerous leadership roles in 4-H, Justis points to his experience as Colorado’s State 4-H Vice President and the opportunities the position provided to work with youth across the state as having the most significant impact on him. “4-H has taught me the value of hard work, setting goals, being held accountable, doing your best, doing what’s right and serving others before self. It’s helped me see our world differently and that we each have the potential to make a bigger difference in the world.”
Horse, market steer, breeding heifer, market swine, rocketry, leathercraft and shooting sports are among the many 4-H projects Justis took on in his hometown of Burlington. “One of the great things about 4-H is that you can get into a lot of things. It’s really broad, he said. “With all the projects, it definitely gave me a base for work ethic.”
A bonus for Justis was the ability to make 4-H a family affair – both his parents and siblings have been involved in the program too. He certainly has exciting, busy years just ahead of him, but Justis expects 4-H will always have a place in his life. “I’m confident that one day I’ll put my kids through 4-H and give back to the program that gave so much to me.”
Brianna McBride was just 6 years old when she became involved in Colorado’s 4-H program as a Clover Bud. Today, as a fresh graduate of Windsor High School, her enthusiasm for 4-H is as strong as ever.
“I definitely learned a lot about how to be a good sport in winning and losing, and how to work within your club family,” she said. “There’s a lot of value in learning to work through issues and problems.”
Brianna is currently serving on Colorado State FFA Officer team, but eventually plans to attend Iowa State University and major in food science. “I would like to go into nutrition and business, creating products for consumers tied to dairy,” she said.
Showing and judging dairy cattle was Brianna’s primary focus in 4-H. Her experiences included traveling to the National Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky and attending a dairy show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. This summer will bring the bittersweet event of showing for the final time at the Weld County Fair.
Brianna says the support of her family and the Weld County Extension helped her succeed for more than a decade in 4-H. They’ve also helped create a life-long advocate for the program. “I want to become a leader down the road,” she said.
No doubt she will be a great one.