When one thinks of 4-H, they might not jump to music. However, 4-H allows youth to develop skills that help in areas of creativity and performance. Lindsay Mickelson was a Dayton Tiger 4-H’er from Webster County. Involved in several project areas, she loved to show pigs at county and State Fair, cattle for a couple years, photography, baking and Share the Fun.
“I have so many great memories from 4-H. From playing cards in the cattle barns with friends to earning trophies for raising a fine-looking pig,” says Mickelson.
“Fair time was always my favorite time of year because it combined my two favorite things: hanging out with friends and tending to the animals. I can remember the first year when I started 4-H, we had our calves so tame we would lay on them in the barn, just because they would let us. Half the time the calves couldn’t care less, as long as they had food and water, they were happy.”
Mickelson identifies 4-H as a steppingstone growing up, teaching her how to communicate with and meet people, and getting her out of her shell. She was always a bit shy but learning to communicate goals and project processes to judges really helped improve people skills. And Mickelson credits those club presentations as the perfect place to build public speaking skills.
“I can just remember getting so nervous when it was my turn to do a presentation but after each one you grew a little more, learned what was helpful, and applied those skills into your everyday life. And now, I stand on stages in front of hundreds of people as a hobby. Funny how things turn out.”
Mickelson’s fulltime job is working in the real estate department at Hy-Vee Corporate. However, her hobbies are where her creative skills have come to light. Mickelson is a Magician’s Assistant for Ben Ulin Productions. During the summer months she typically works at Adventureland Amusement Park in Altoona, IA, entertaining park goers with different illusions, tricks and a few comedic routes.
She is also a BoxJumper, Magician’s Assistant and Showgirl for Entertainment Group. Mickelson does a lot of traveling magic shows all over the country throughout the year where she performs with other entertainers. She often travels with Master Magician Lance Burton and performs some of his classic pieces from his shows in Las Vegas, NE.
Finally, Mickelson is a volunteer actor at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. “This community theatre has always been a great place to call my second home. I audition and volunteer whenever I am needing a break from the magic traveling and/or in need of a new challenge. The people who work and volunteer there are always so supportive and encouraging, it really makes acting fun for everyone.”
Mickelson received her Associate of Arts degree from Iowa Central Community College where she was involved in Concert Band & Choir, Show Choir, Jazz Choir, and Theatre. She took voice and piano lessons as well. Mickelson then headed to Wartburg College to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. She joined the women’s choir and the jazz choir – Castle Singer’s.
Mickelson says, “I was able to travel to several different places around the country and into Europe through Castle Singer’s. Europe was a highlight, to sing in old historical churches with beautiful architecture and amazing acoustics. Seeing those places and meeting people of different cultures was so interesting and eye opening, being able to sing there was just the cherry on top of a fantastic experience.”
Mickelson has taken full advantage of her talents to continue to “share the fun” with those around her. Specifically, at the Des Moines Playhouse, she has been involved in the shows Singing in the Rain, Elf – The Musical, Young Frankenstein, Junie B. Jones, and Mary Poppins.
“I tend to enjoy singing in a more relaxed and fun atmosphere with friends where we can play and be silly,” says Mickelson.
Mickelson points out how the 4-H Program is important to create well-rounded individuals. She says, “You learn the importance of how to take care of animals and how to care for others. You learn to communicate with people. You learn the importance of community through club gatherings and events, whether it be getting everyone together to pick up trash along the highway or going for a fun night of ‘cosmic’ bowling. 4-H brings people together to help kids grow to become knowledgeable, helpful, communal and skillful adults for the future.”
That is what makes 4-H unique, the ability to build skills and encourage individuals to grow in areas where they thrive. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time being a 4-Her and had a fantastic experience,” says Mickelson. “To current 4-H’ers, please take advantage of all the opportunities you have. No matter what, you will never regret being part of something that encourages growth and provides great experience.”