University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources
University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources
University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources
University of California
University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources

Client Stories

1960s 4-H a prelude to Mariposa woman's breakthrough business career

4-H Showmanship Sheep
In the late 1960s, the young Barbara Massey-Nino really wanted to work in agriculture. But Future Farmers of America wasn’t open to girls at that time. So Barbara went to her local UCCE office in Mariposa County and joined 4-H. By 1972 she had become her county’s 4-H President, and was working with sheep and horses and learning how to sew. Barbara went on to make her career in a predominantly white-male industry and became a leader in business careers for women. “In each of my early positions, women were expected to excel in homemaking, motherhood, nursing, teaching, or clerical work, not in other professional roles,” says Barbara. “4-H was one of the building blocks that helped me prepare for my place in the world. ... My professional life has been one of accomplishment, thanks to 4-H and the leadership volunteers.”


4-H leads once-shy youngster to career in teaching

Jamie was an extremely shy and introverted little girl growing up in Kern County. As a child, she couldn't even look an adult in the eye. To help her develop better social skills, her parents signed her up in a local 4-H Club. Through her interactions with other club members and caring adult volunteer leaders, Jamie began to come out of her shell. She discovered some things she was good at through 4-H, and that experience gave her more confidence to try other new things. Jamie became a proficient public speaker, a skill that helped her get her first job. Eventually she graduated college and today she is helping a new generation of children develop their own talents as a special education teacher. Jamie’s mother confidently proclaims that “4-H saved her life.”

4-H teen's public speaking project addresses county peer needs

Leah is a 4-H member in Santa Clara County, and her favorite activity is Presentation Day, where members have the opportunity to practice their public speaking and presentation skills. When she noticed that Presentation Day enrollment was down in her county, she decided to take action. With the support of her UCCE 4-H advisor, Leah initiated a public speaking project designed to improve public speaking skills among her peers. The positive response from fellow teens was overwhelming. Working with UCCE and her local 4-H Club, Leah learned first-hand how to identify a social problem, design a plan to address it, and implement a solution.

Bee-friendly garden lands El Dorado 4-Hers grant funds

Honey Bee

When youth members of Northside Nuggets 4-H in El Dorado County became concerned about the decline in pollinator populations, they decided to do something about it. With the help of their UCCE 4-H advisor, club members adopted a garden plot at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds where they planted a garden designed to attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. UCCE Master Gardener volunteers donated the plant material and helped the club figure out which plants would be best at attracting the pollinators. In recognition for this work, the club was awarded a grant of $1,000 from the 4-H Revolution of Responsibility program. Members plan to use the money to help teach about the decline of pollinators at local farmers markets and help the customers there see how they can be a part of the solution.

From 4-H feathers and fowl to county fair leadership, honors

A passion for birds and poultry first drew Sarah* 4-H. That shy 9-year-old Sarah grew up in 4-H, and 6 years later is a fearless community leader. She recently chaired the poultry area of the West Marin Fair, served as clerk at the County Fair, and taught countywide poultry showmanship workshops for other 4-Hers. She launched a service project through which other 4-H members build barn owl boxes and donate them to anyone who wants to help the project and support the owl population. Her passion for birds and 4-H also led her to create a new countywide birding project based on the Audubon Society curriculum. Recently Sarah was selected to serve on the State Animal Science Education Committee and honored with the William H. Danforth “I Dare You” Leadership Award.

Teen takes the lead in Sonoma 4-H service projects

In 2009, UCCE in Sonoma County recognized a need for service projects in the community. When the county office was unable to find an adult volunteer to lead the community service effort, a 4-H teen member named Gianna stepped forward. At age 14, Gianna worked with her UCCE 4-H program representative and formed the Sonoma County 4-H Teen Community Service Action Group. Working through her 4-H Club, Gianna has organized more than 300 teenagers to engage in service projects and to raise thousands of dollars in donations and countless toys, blankets, and toiletries for distribution by organizations that help the less fortunate.

Young immigrant learns science, social confidence in 4-H

4-H Girl Poultry Showmanship

Saira* came to the United States from Mexico with her family when she was 11. Thrown into a brand new culture and language, she was at first very self-conscious and shy, and kept mostly to herself. That was, until she discovered her local 4-H Club. In the 4-H Youth Experiences in Science project, Saira began to present weekly science lessons, using snails, bubbles, and worms, to engage other youngsters in the afterschool program. “Now when I’m in school I’m not shy,” says Saira. “I can talk to anyone...Go in front of class and just talk. It’s good.” Saira recently graduated from high school, and expects to be the first in her family to graduate from college, majoring in Biochemistry.

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