Guest column: Oklahoma 4-H celebrates centennial State 4-H Roundup

The Daily Ardmoreite
Danielle Wells Carter County FCS Educator
4-H Members gathered on the Mini Turf Practice field to create a 100 to celebrate the centennial Roundup.

State 4-H Roundup always is an exciting time on the Oklahoma State University campus. This year’s celebration that took place July 28-30 was especially exciting as the delegates were part of the 100th Roundup

Steve Beck, Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development program leader, said it was great to have everyone back on the OSU campus this year and reported about 550 total participants.

“We were very excited to have the kids back on campus this year. Last year we did a virtual State 4-H Roundup because of the pandemic, and it was a great experience, but there’s nothing like being face to face on campus,” Beck said. “We allowed the kids a lot of time to socialize and reconnect with their friends from other counties.”

Serving as delegates from Carter County were Emma Bishop, Kiley Whitley, Livi Harrison and Lyssa Landers.

While most activities did take place on campus, the educational workshops and contests were virtual again this year.

“We still like doing things face to face, but we have learned there are some aspects we can do virtually and continue to provide opportunities for other youth,” Beck said.

This year’s 4-H Roundup offered club members three different options, including participating in person for the entire event, coming in for one full days of activities, as well as a completely virtual option. Counties were able to take advantage of any of the three options.

No matter how clubs participated in the 100th State 4-H Roundup, recognition continues to play a big role in this annual event. Club members were awarded $140,000 worth of educational scholarships during the Honor Night Assembly when they were recognized as state record book winners and scholarship recipients.

“It’s always great to see the kids walk across the honors stage to be recognized for their achievements. Over 1 million people were reached through service projects that just our youth who walked across the stage did throughout their 4-H careers,” Beck said. “They’re amazing individuals who give back to their communities and put others before themselves, and the Honor Night Assembly was the moment we could recognize them for their efforts and accomplishments.”

One of the highlights of Roundup always has been the announcement of the new inductees into the Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees are Rachel Miller, Tillman County, and Lilyana Sestak, Lincoln County. Oklahoma Farm Credit provides a $5,000 scholarship for each winner.

Also recognized during the assembly were the delegates who will attend National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Georgia, in November, as well as the new inductees into 4-H Key Club.

Recognition isn’t limited to club members only. The Honors Night Assembly also is a time to recognize others who have helped make the 4-H program a success. Orlean and Shane Smith were recognized as this year’s State 4-H Partner recipients. They are active in Pittsburg County where they serve in many volunteer capacities. In addition, Noble McIntyre, a third-generation 4-H’er, was recognized as this year’s 4-H Alumni Award winner. He is a trial lawyer and attributes his public speaking skills to his early days in 4-H.

The closing assembly is an exciting event for delegates as they learn who has been elected to the 2021-2022 State Leadership Council. The new officers are Elizabeth Chambers, president, Osage County; Carolyn Greenfield, vice president, Payne County; Olivia Napier, secretary, Pushmataha County; Madison Nickels, reporter, Garfield County; Madelyn Murphy, recreation leader, Osage County; Colton Tripp, Northeast District representative, Kay County; Abby Logan, Northeast District representative, Payne County; Makayla Hunt, Northeast District representative, Lincoln County; Jenessa Dugger, Southeast District representative, Pittsburg County; Haven Hinton, Southeast District representative, Johnston County; Emma Taylor, West District representative, Grant County; Brance Barnett, West District representative, Washita County; Summer Prince, West District representative, Garfield County; and Murphy Peterson, Southeast District representative, Pittsburg County.

What’s on the horizon for the next 100 years of 4-H? Beck said the possibilities are endless.

“We started with sows, plows and canning clubs, and we still have our traditional agricultural projects, which are an important part of our program. Now we have rockets, robotics, computer programming and electronics, as well as other projects that meet the ever-changing needs and interests of our club members,” he said. “What’s it going to be in 100 years from now? I think it’ll only be growth and expansion of new project areas to help our kids develop life skills to help them succeed.”

Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.