Ten years of service

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HSE grad caps 10 years at the Hamilton County 4-H Club with this year’s fair

For Shelby Swain, 18, the 10 years spent as part of the Hamilton County 4-H club made for life-long memories and a career path – and it all started with llamas.

Swain, a recent Hamilton Southeastern High School graduate, is a 10- year member of the organization that pledges to “make the best better” through educational activities. Both of her parents were 10-year 4-H members.

The first activity she got involved with was the llama competition – the competition that revolves around working with the animal leading up to a fair and then putting it through its paces with obstacle courses and the like.

The obstacles and challenges that go along with participating in the 4-H competitions prepared Swain as she takes the next steps in life.

A decade to shape a life-time

Swain’s next step is one towards a degree at Purdue University. After participating in 4-H competitions early in her career, Swain is pursuing a degree in agribusiness and is planning on putting it back to use in Hamilton County.

What lessons has she learned from 4-H to prepare her for an agricultural academic onslaught – besides tending beasts of burden?

“Too many to count,” Swain said.

Self-confidence. Patience. Responsibility. The value of hard work.

“[I learned to] work hard and work for what you deserve,” she said.

During her decade with 4-H, Swain participated in a laundry list of activities, including participating in a Supreme Showmanship competition and acting as a day-camp counselor, but she currently holds the top office for all Junior Leaders – president.

If anything in the program had a profound impact on her, it would be the Supreme Showmanship competition, according to Swain.

“It changed everything about my personality, because it was a goal that I worked towards for so long that I had confidence to do new and different things,” she said.

Looking Back

Swain said she wouldn’t change a thing about her experience with 4-H.

There might be little things about specific competitions she wish she could do over, but she’d leave the experience – as a whole – just the way it was.

She said the best part of being involved for as long as she was, were the people she got to meet and work with.

“The people [that]make it the best is probably the common denominator of it all,” she said.

Swain’s advice for people in the community: get involved with 4-H and increase a presence in the community.

Shelby’s Top 5 Reasons to go to the Hamilton County 4-H Fair

  1. Food – Grab some grub from local farmers and businesses
  2. Animals and Projects – 4-H’ers work hard the entire year readying to their animals for this one festival
  3. Entertainment – The Farmer Olympics and local acts promise to entertain
  4. Community Fellowship – Meet some folks you wouldn’t normally get to talk to
  5. Service – Help a community member out

Accomplishments outside of the stables

-National Honor Society

-Lettered for four years as wrestling team manager at HSE

-Volunteered as a page at the State House

-Board member of a local United Way chapter

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