When 4-H & FFA Is More Than Livestock & Competitions

In 4-H and FFA, most see livestock and competitions. With livestock projects come great life lessons. Through these things, I have not only grown in the agriculture industry, but I’ve also found a future that my six-year-old self, would think I was insane.

Back when I was six, I thought I was a fashionista, and looking back now, I don’t know what I was thinking. From Kindergarten through First Semester of Sixth Grade I was this way. Then I finally figured it out and went from keeping up with the latest trends to Wrangler Jeans, belt buckles, and square toes boots.

The difference in that time was when I started showing sheep, which led to Red Angus Cattle, Boer Goats and an Alpaca. I had always shown Quarter Horses at an occasional open show since I was 3 years old in lead line. I showed sheep for the first time at the 4-H Fair the summer after fifth grade. That spring I had been asked to show sheep by the sheep superintendent, and I said that I’d try it. I've shown sheep for 3 years now, and I earned Rate of Gain with my market lamb at 2018 Shelby County 4-H Fair.

After spending a week in the livestock barn, I found my home for the best week of the summer, the County Fair. There is no place I’d rather be. Before, I had no reason to go back to the barns since they were at the back of the fairgrounds, and the horse arena is in a different area and they show a week before the rest of the fair. This is the start of my sixth year in 4-H, and I couldn’t be happier.

This past year, I was old enough to join Junior Leaders. This when I realized that most of us in Junior Leaders show livestock. Over the past year, we not only did community service and became friends, that are part of my extended family.

So, back to sixth grade. It’s February, and time for Horse Judging practices to start. I know, in February, most people are thinking about the cold Indiana winter, but two girls wanted to do horse judging, and my FFA Advisor was looking for someone with more expertise.

In this process, they were also looking for a teammate, and then it all fell into place. My mom became the coach for the team, and I was the 3rd team member. Then that lead to me doing Dairy Cattle Judging and getting a head start on my FFA career. That opportunity has opened so many doors for me. In my 2 years of FFA, I’ve done Crop Scouting, Soils Judging, Livestock Skillathon, Crop Judging, Horse Judging, Dairy Cattle Judging, and Leadership Contests including Public Speaking.

All of this has lead me to where I am today. Currently serving as Reporter for my FFA Chapter, writing for Raised In A Barn, and serving as the 2018 Shelby County Indiana’s Junior Miss Agribusiness. Even if you seem like you don’t fit in, always remember that you're just doing what you love, and that is what matters most. Win or lose, it's the friends you make that counts.

By guest blogger, Camille Thopy.

I'’m Camille Thopy, and I’m proud to serve as your 2018 Shelby County Indiana’s America’s Junior Miss Agribusiness. I’m an 8th Grade student at Southwestern Jr./Sr. High School. I currently serve as Reporter for the Southwestern-Shelby (County) FFA Chapter. I compete in various Career Development Events (CDE’s) and Leadership Development Events (LDE’s). In 4-H, I show Quarter Horses, Red Angus Cattle, Sheep, Boer Goats, and an Alpaca. On our farm, we grow about 750 acres of corn and soybeans.

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Breanna Viles