Landra Reece is starting a legacy, a legacy of service and keeping Iowa 4-H strong. And she’s still in college! Reece is a student at Drake University majoring in Environmental Science. During the summer she works for the Iowa DNR as a water patrol officer. “In 4-H, I was able to volunteer, network, and work in natural resources and outdoor recreation programming, this helped me get to where I am today,” says Reece. “4-H really gave me a heart of service and a want to always help others, which I am proud to still have today.”
Reece started her 4-H career in the Montana Miners Club in Boone, Iowa. She was involved in many of the project areas which gave her a very well-rounded experience. Some projects included Food & Nutrition, Photography, Clothing & Fashion, Communication, Safety & Education in Shooting Sports, Outdoor Adventures, Environment & Sustainability, Dog and Sheep.
“I think 4-H set me aside from my peers in helping me learn communication, time management, leadership and teamwork,” Reece said. “I use these skills every day, but they have especially helped me in college and in my jobs.”
While in 4-H, Reece was a member of the State 4-H Council and attended Citizenship Washington Focus, National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Conference. She says she has many amazing memories from her 4-H experience. These range from county fairs and state 4-H conference to state council retreats at the former 4-H camp.
“I would say that my favorite memory out of all of these is attending National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C.,” says Reece. “I met friends from all over, including different states, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Iowa had a small delegation of 5 people and one chaperone, so we were lucky to have fun adventures around D.C. and get close and make great memories!”
Reece also had the opportunity to speak to leaders of the USDA and NRCS and meet with U.S. Representatives and Senators while at National 4-H Conference. She currently volunteers with various political campaigns and is a proponent of all ages being involved in the political process. She is also encouraging college students to stay active with their 4-H roots. With several other 4-H alums, Reece recently started the very first Drake University Collegiate 4-H Club. They work closely with Collegiate 4-H at Iowa State and the Polk County 4-H Program to grow their club and help youth in the area. The Drake Collegiate 4-H Club hopes to pass down what 4-H has done for them and start an urban 4-H club at the Boys and Girls Club located on Drake’s campus.
“There are experiences that 4-H gave me that I could have gotten other places, but I truly don’t think I would have made the friends, memories, or had the same community support that I received in 4-H,” Reece said. “In 4-H I had great older youth and adults as role models and friends and have had the opportunity to be that role model for younger kids.”
Reece wants to encourage current 4-H’ers to take every opportunity they can to do new things and get out of their comfort zone. Reece also wants fellow alums to stay involved. She says reach out to your Extension Office and see if you can volunteer, network with 4-Hers, or see if your employer can help the program in any way. And as always, if you feel comfortable, financial giving is always appreciated.
“The 4-H Program is unique because it has so many stakeholders who are able to help youths in the program. There are so many opportunities, and the experiences it gives can carry youth on to more success in college, career, and personal life,” Reece said.
As she participates in 4-H judges training to judge and volunteer at county fairs and with Collegiate 4-H next fall when Drake University on-campus classes resume, Reece will continue her 4-H legacy.