I Got My Start in 4-H - Alumni Highlight

Texas 4-H volunteer Kathy Sweger has roots in Pennsylvania.

Kathy and her children are now involved in Texas 4-H.

Kathy and her children are now involved in Texas 4-H.

When I was 8, my mom signed me up for our small, but active, local 4-H community club. I remember learning about the basics of cooking with her and then other leaders as the years continued. I tried basket weaving, cake decorating, and sewing, which culminated in Fashion Show Round-up. I eventually became the club treasurer and knew how to balance a checkbook well ahead of my peers because of this role.

A few years later, my cousin challenged me by saying that I wouldn't dare get dirty. I figured I'd prove to her that I could, so I joined her in the County Sheep project - Lancaster County 4-H Woolies and showed sheep until I was 18. My brothers also showed sheep, then later dairy beef and finally beef. My youngest brother still helps out with the local club as a leader, while my parents can be found at our hometown fair helping with the shows.

More than 25 years after I started, I found myself in the busy city of Houston, TX. I had five children and was looking for an extracurricular activity that would include all of them. To my surprise, we found a 4-H club right around the corner with an active clover kid program. We jumped right in and my girls are learning to cook (they love the Food Challenge competition). My son is in robotics and everyone is in public speaking. I love leading our Duds to Dazzle team. This is our third year with the club. My girls have officer roles and I assumed the Club Manager role.

4-H has come full circle for me - first as a member and now as a club manager and parent. I know my children will learn valuable skills -- leadership, community service, team building besides the life skills -- because I learned them in 4-H too!