Area 4-H’er returns as summer intern

Published 9:00 am Sunday, July 26, 2015

Guest Column by Krystle Lonning

I just can’t give it up, it’s in my blood. That’s why I’m back for another summer and the Freeborn County Fair as Freeborn County’s 4-H intern.

My name is Krystle Lonning; some of you may remember me from 2010 /2011 when I was the 4-H intern here those years, or some have known me for longer than that because I went through the Freeborn County program for 13 years. Unfortunately, after the summer of 2011 I was in my final year of college, was graduating and had to start job hunting for a “big girl” job (as I like to call it). Luckily I was able to find a job in LeRoy as a Middle School teacher and still love it. I not only love working with the students there, but it gave me an opportunity to come back and help with the 4-H program this summer!

Krystle Lonning

Krystle Lonning

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After having a few years away from the 4-H program, I missed it. Now, you hear about life experiences, role models, positive influences, family and friend support and multiple opportunities that helped to build a person’s character and 4-H has many of those qualities. As I look back of all the qualities I have as a teacher, most of them I learned from my 13 years in the 4-H program.

Here are some qualities I learned:

4-H taught me how to be patient and realize that not all things in life will be easy.

Whether it was making my project perfect before the fair, waiting in line to talk with a judge or waiting to find out how I did it taught me that good things come to those who wait. Now, good things didn’t happen every time with every project or task I did, but it helped me understand that life isn’t always easy and you need to be willing to adjust and accept it and try again next time.

4-H taught me how to listen and keep an open mind to what others were saying or doing.

There is such a great group of people in this program and at times not everyone agrees with an idea. There were many times where another member had a great idea that I didn’t think of and without the willingness to listen or keeping an open mind I would have never known and had that opportunity to experience.

4-H taught me about failure, how to use that as a learning opportunity and a hard work ethic.

I will never forget the first time I felt failure in the 4-H program; it was with my market sheep. I had worked all summer with this sheep, walking it morning and night and getting it ready for the show. I felt like this was going to be a great sheep and we would get a trip to state fair, however that is not what happened. The sheep show started and I was so excited to be in the ring showing all of my hard work, only to be second to last and received a red. I was crushed. However, instead of giving up the project and getting mad, I realized that my sheep was just not what the judge was looking for. It was not a result of the lack of hard work, it just wasn’t the animal he was looking for and I learned to accept it. That is like life, sometimes you fail and you learn from it.

4-H taught me how to get out of my comfort zone and push myself further.

One of my greatest fears is talking in front of large groups. If you have met me that may come as a shock, however, 4-H taught me how to deal with this and create a new level of comfort through public presentations, club talks, and Share the Fun. Without these experiences, I know that I wouldn’t be able to get up in front of coworkers or a class full of students.

4-H taught me how to deal with conflict appropriately.

This quality I learned more the first two years as a summer intern during the county and state fairs. Fair is a stressful time for everyone and sometimes our emotions get the best of us. There were conflicts where people were yelling at me over something I had no control over, however I knew that, and I didn’t yell back. I learned that many times I was just a person to talk with and give advice if they wanted it. Dealing with these conflicts helped me understand that communication is very important when dealing with conflict and conflict can be avoided or dealt with proper communication.

4-H taught me about true friendship.

Some of my best memories were with my friends I met through 4-H. Most of these memories are sitting in the goat or cattle barn playing cards or truth or dare, but they were so much fun. All these friends I still talk to and we still comment on how we miss those times at the fair. For those friends I don’t see as much, all we have to do is say hi and its like we never were away from each other. True friendship is hard to find and I met most of my friends in the 4-H program.

There are so many little qualities that I didn’t mention that I have learned from the 4-H program, but each has made an impact on who I am today. With all these great qualities 4-H gave me, I know I will use them for the rest of my life in my job as a teacher and in everyday situations. If you wondered or were interested in 4-H, try it out, you never know you may love it! You can find more information about 4-H by calling the Freeborn County Extension office at 507-377-5660.