Leading efforts to steward a vital community of donors at one of the nation’s top universities requires an authentic sense of gratitude and deep understanding of the importance of service to others. As Managing Director of Donor Relations & Stewardship for Colorado State University, Colleen Meyer credits her 4-H experience with helping instill in her the value of service to others—along with countless other benefits. Read on to learn more about her 4-H story.
What is your relationship to Colorado 4-H?
4-H found me! I was born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado and with three older brothers, had no choice but to tag along to just about every sporting event you could imagine. When it was my time to “get involved,” my parents tried everything (dance, girl scouts, gymnastics), you name it! Nothing really seemed to light my fire. Then one day, a neighbor mentioned 4-H to my mom. Finally, I had found an organization that ignited my confidence! I was a shy and quiet kid and didn’t have much confidence in who I was let alone who I could become. To this day, I credit
4-H for breaking me out of my shell, providing me with a plethora of leadership opportunities, and encouraging me to explore new possibilities.
Do you have a favorite 4-H memory?
My most meaningful memory was attending the National 4-H Conference in Washington DC. In particular, it was experiencing the opportunity to lay the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I don’t remember how or why I was selected, but along with two other 4-Hers, we stood alongside the soldier, presented the wreath, and trembled as the bugler played taps. It was at that moment that I realized it wasn’t about me, but about serving others. Service to others is the 4-H value that I align with the most.
What is your history of supporting 4-H in Colorado?
I give what I can. Most of all, I share my story of how 4-H positively impacted my life and hope that it sparks an interest in others to get involved or spread the word. When my daughter was little, we would enjoy going to the 4-H Carnival and Larimer County Fair.
Why is it important to you to support Colorado’s 4-H youth?
Although my 4-H experience was more than 30 years ago and times have changed, I can’t help but think that today’s 4-H youth are experiencing some of the same issues I faced (albeit in different ways). They have fears. They have dreams. They also have a network of 4-H alumni, volunteers, and others who are willing to lend their hands and hearts to help 4-H youth achieve their goals-big or small.
I’m blessed to have a wonderful 14-year-old daughter which allows me to experience the challenges and endless opportunities our youth are facing. As a parent, there is nothing you want more than for your child to find a community where they can grow and thrive. Although my daughter chose a different path instead of 4-H (believe me, I tried). I’m grateful that 4-H is a solid organization with a purpose, dedicated volunteers and committed staff who care deeply about the development of our youth.
How do your values align with 4-H values?
Just the other day, I found myself reciting the 4-H pledge to a colleague. I paused and smiled at how happy that made me. If I had to choose, I would pick service. It is core to who I am and always will be. I cannot imagine my life without serving others.