Patience, responsibility, compassion, and cooperation. These are just a few words that come to mind when Maureen Hanson thinks of the values she learned through 4-H.
Maureen was an active member in Clinton County, Iowa for nine years as a member of the Junior DD and DDD, better known as DeWitt Darling Daughters, in DeWitt, Iowa. She also was a member of the DeWitt Hustlers, which at the time was considered a “boys club”, in order to show her livestock.
Maureen has multiple favorite 4-H memories, but the best was attending Intermediate Camp at the Iowa 4-H Camping Center at Madrid.
“I still vividly remember so many details of that week, and it was a life-changing experience, all for the better,” she says.
Maureen is still very active in 4-H activities, serving as a Clover bud leader in Benton County for seven years, a leader of the Bruce Boosters 4-H Club for almost nine years, and assisting with the Benton County Livestock Judging team, and it doesn’t stop there! She has also trained dairy judging and dairy quiz bowl teams, and served as a county fair static exhibit judge.
“The group of seniors in our 4-H club who will be graduating this spring were beginning 4th-graders when I started as a 4-H leader. They are an exceptional bunch, and I could not be more proud of them! It is so gratifying to play a small role in the upbringing of young people, and to watch the amazing things they do with their lives and abilities as they venture out into the adult world.”
When asked about the values 4-H taught her, Maureen sights raising livestock for the importance of patience and responsibility for another living creature.
“I learned resilience in that you don’t always achieve your desired outcome, even after giving your best effort. I also learned the value of compassion and cooperation through my 4-H club work.”
Hanson has many fond memories of not only 4-H friends, but those who were older role models, as well as younger members who she was able to help or encourage in some way when she was an older member.
“I am grateful to the many adults who served as volunteer leaders and mentors to me when I was growing up, and have enjoyed the tremendous reward of helping other young people become their best selves by serving as a 4-H leader myself.”
Those who have participated in 4-H know the tremendous, unparalleled impacts it can make in a youth’s life.
“The concept of “life skills” that 4-H promotes is real. My experiences in 4-H and also FFA inspired me to embrace and make a career out of the things I loved learning about the most: agriculture and communications.”
Currently, Maureen is a full-time mom to 6 kids, a part-time freelance writer for the dairy and veterinary industries as well as pumpkin farmer. The multi-tasking skills taught in 4-H have come in handy for her, “I think my 4-H background has made me a better parent, if only in terms of knowing the satisfaction of the rewards that perseverance and hard work can bring you – and teaching my kids the same.”