When I really think back on my time as a 4-H member, and the choices I’ve made through life, I think back to my first Taylor County Fair photography judging experience. I was extremely nervous. I presented the judge with two projects; a photo of cats and a series of photos of my dog. The photos were rough and the writeups were worse, but the judge took time to get to know me and my photography knowledge. He taught me so many different terms and techniques and challenged me to pick two, work on them, and bring back a stronger photo next year.
I did just that. Each year, he would challenge me to do something better and he took the time to educate in the process. The topics of our conversations quickly turned to my life goals and plans. Because he decided to take the time to teach a shy, little girl something about photography, I decided to pursue a degree in agricultural communications and journalism and agricultural economics at Kansas State University (the judge’s alma mater). I decided to pass on his kindness and the knowledge he taught me by becoming a 4-H photography judge and eventually Iowa State Fair 4-H Photography Volunteer.
My 4-H story continued as I served as a Leadership Activities Coordinator at Rock Springs (4-H Camping facility in Kansas), Taylor County 4-H intern and CYC in Montgomery County. Currently, I am working on my master’s degree at Iowa State University in Agricultural Education with an emphasis in Extension Education. I truly do not believe I would have made those choices if it wasn’t for one southwest Iowa judge giving an Outstanding Junior ribbon to a first-year, 5th grader with a rough photo of yellow farm cats.
Beyond photography, as a Taylor County member, Celine participated in woodworking, home improvement and photography projects for eight years. She says, “It takes just one person to believe in you. 4-H gave me my person and I hope to pass that opportunity on to youth.”
Photos from Celine's senior year in 4-H:
Top: Celine as a counselor at the 4-H camping facility in Kansas, getting pumped for campers to come!
Bottom: Celine evaluating a first year member’s project before she gets judged to curve some nerves.