See Yourself in Ag with Katie Collins, My Ag Experience, Ag Life, Anyone Can Ag, Adventures in Ag

By National 4-H Council March 06, 2024

During my first year of high school, I represented 4-H at a local elementary school for Ag Literacy Week. While reading the book "How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?", I shared my childhood experience of growing up on a dairy farm. The students expressed their need for more understanding of agriculture. As I shared stories of living on a farm and my future goal of attending a four-year University to study animal genetics with the ultimate plan of becoming a lawyer, students became enthusiastic and excited to learn more about agriculture, farming, and the environment around them. I vividly remember Camille, a girl who looked like me, raising her hand and saying, "I love science and animals too, but I can't be a farmer or do what you want to do because I live in an apartment."

This conversation motivated me to create a solution for diverse and rural youth in my community to have access to agriculture and agriculture-related careers. As 4-H Honor President and a student member of the county's school board, I developed and honed communication and relationship-building skills to make my dream a reality. With the help of my 4-H agent, we assembled a Youth in Ag team that included our county mayor, ag committee members, county commissioners, and school board members.

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During our first meeting, I shared my experience reading to students and emphasized the need to create opportunities for youth in our community. We discussed the project's goals, which included helping participants develop a solid understanding and framework of what agriculture is, exposing them to careers in agriculture, and developing relationships with key industries and individuals to increase awareness of the project. We also arranged a schedule of events, school bus transportation, and potential costs. The project we developed was called "See Yourself in Ag," which aimed to connect diverse youth to successful individuals in our community to highlight the importance of persistence, resilience, and individuality, specifically in the workplace.

"We've been able to reach and empower more youth through the See Yourself in Ag project, which encourages youth to see their place in agriculture and understand their tangible value."

With the help of critical individuals, I secured donor and volunteer investments through relationship-building. When scheduling event dates, I engaged a wide range of various individuals and businesses instead of solely on farmers. I also utilized local agricultural industries to showcase all sides of agriculture, including science, profit, animals, crops, etc. The goal was to understand the many diverse aspects and roles within agriculture, not just farming.

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We've been able to reach and empower more youth through the See Yourself in Ag project, which encourages youth to see their place in agriculture and understand their tangible value. My biggest goal is to inspire youth like Camille to realize they belong and to create equitable opportunities for youth to be exposed to agriculture. I believe that creating a space for others to belong doesn't require anything special other than knowing your strengths and having a passion for it. I know that See Yourself in Ag is only possible due to the voice, belonging, and knowledge that 4-H has given me.

Join me in celebrating Ag Week! Are you interested in learning more about ag? Explore some of these awesome CLOVER activities or discover my favorite items on Shop 4-H.

 

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