News > Articles > November 2018 > MKC Employees Reflect on Impact of 4-H

MKC Employees Reflect on Impact of 4-H

Nov 13, 2018

This year, National 4-H week stretched from October 7-13. National 4-H week marks the beginning of a new 4-H year and celebrates the largest youth organization in the U.S. The program is named after the four “H’s” head, heart, hands, and health. 4-H develops skills in youth through project areas ranging from livestock, robotics and many in between. In Kansas, over 74,000 youth are enrolled in the 4-H program. To celebrate the accomplishments of the 4-H program, MKC asked employees about their past and ongoing involvement.

For Alex Miller, location manager at Onaga, enrolling his children in 4-H felt like a given. Miller was a 4-H member for nine years in Pottawatomie County and loved seeing everyone else’s projects and meeting new people at the county fair. His children recently started the program, they have participated in horticulture and crafts, and are beginning the goat project next year.

Miller is excited for his children to grow in the program. “I want them to learn about hard work and leadership through 4-H. In the future, I hope they look back at projects and have a sense of pride in something they accomplished,” he said.

Lorna Pauls, counter and scale specialist at the Groveland, did not participate in 4-H as a child, but her children have been 4-H’ers in McPherson County for the past 13 years. During their time in 4-H, Pauls has not only supported and encouraged her children, but stepped up to become a member of the McPherson County fair board.

“It takes an army of volunteers to help programs such as 4-H succeed, and it’s good to for those who have reaped the benefits and see value in the program to give back some of which they have received. I stay involved because I have seen first-hand the many benefits of this program and how it helped to develop strong character and values in my children,” she said.

Hillary Birtell, grain marketing specialist for TMA, was not a Kansas 4-H’er. However, she was a member for 13 years in Rhode Island. Her favorite project area was dairy, which she participated in for all 13 years. Despite being a long-time member, Birtell’s favorite 4-H memory happened after she graduated from the program. The summer before her sophomore year of college, she worked as a 4-H program coordinator on a Navy base in Rhode Island. Birtell enjoyed teaching youth that had not experienced agriculture about its impact.

Birtell believes every child should experience 4-H. “Not only does 4-H prepare youth to be successful in the future, but it also teaches valuable lessons and leaves you with invaluable experiences and lifelong friendships. I would not be where I am today without the experiences I had in 4-H,” she said.

As a proud supporter of Kansas 4-H, MKC is excited to kick-off the new 4-H year, and thankful for the volunteers and alumni on our team. The 4-H motto is to make the best better, and MKC employees and their families continue to do just that.