Find Your Spark! National 4-H Week

Oct 07, 2021

By: Elizabeth Butcher

Confidence and perseverance are two things my 10 years in 4-H taught me. Hello, I am Elizabeth Butcher and I joined 4-H in third grade. I thought it was just another fun activity my parents were encouraging me to join. That first year, I took horse, electric, and dog projects. I was confident in my ability to complete these projects. Finishing my first year with blue and purple ribbons, I was happy. That same year, I attended the Supreme Showmanship Show. I thought it was so cool watching the older members show six different species during a single show. This encouraged me to take more livestock projects. How cool it would be to win the title of Supreme Showman!

My second year in 4-H I pushed myself outside my comfort zone by adding sheep to my projects. I had to persevere after bringing sheep home. I allowed them to relax and get comfortable in their new environment. When I thought they were ready to start working on show techniques, they were crazy! It took my mom and I well over an hour to catch two sheep in a small pen. We learned a lot that day, after a week of practicing I got better at catching the high energy escape artists that were my two sheep. Year after year, I learned new ways of handling my sheep and they turned into one of my favorite projects.


Expanding my species to swine and beef projects, I was working towards my goal of being able to compete in Supreme Showmanship. By winning showmanship in one of my species, I would be able to compete! My freshman year I won Sheep Showmanship, giving me the opportunity to show six species including beef, dairy, horse, goat, sheep, and swine. This was a dream come true. Unfortunately, I did not win my first or second year competing in Supreme Showmanship. Through perseverance and hard work, my third year competing in Supreme Showmanship I was able to win this honorable title I had dreamed of eight years prior.

The livestock projects I took in 4-H ignited my passion for agriculture. When I started High School, I started looking at career options in agriculture specifically in areas of livestock. I chose to attend Southern Illinois University pursuing a degree in Agriculture Communications with a Minor in Animal Sciences. After college, I joined Superior Ag to continue that passion that was ignited years ago.


My 4-H experiences prepared me by pushing me to follow my dreams. Still heavily involved in 4-H as an adult volunteer, I help current and future members find their passion through a great organization that has kept me motivated. This week is National 4-H Week. I encourage everyone, children and adults, to step outside their comfort zone and see what 4-H can spark in you!