Brady Gibson is a 12-year-old member of the 4-H Fulton Lucky Clovers in Kalamazoo County. In his second year of 4-H, he is involved in a variety of creative and expressive art projects, cattle, horticulture, physical and plant sciences. Brady is in sixth grade and wrote the following essay about his 4-H experience.
“Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in? I have a great family with many cousins who are always nice and treat me good. But they are
mostly farmers and work with animals. I always felt like I was a little on the outside and didn’t feel comfortable helping because I didn’t
know what to do. Most of them are in 4-H and every summer they get ready for fair. I try to help clean equipment and wash and load
the animals but was very uncomfortable and didn’t know what to do.
I decided to join 4-H so I could be a part of that. I took a calf to fair my first year and learned how to raise him from a baby. I learned how to work with animals and care for them. Now when my cousins go do chores, I can come and help and not feel uncomfortable.
I still have a lot to learn but at least I’m comfortable learning how and asking questions. My cousin even asked me to give him a hand assisting a cow that was giving birth!
Middle school is rough. Bullying is not tolerated but it still happens. You can be super smart and kids will still make you feel stupid. Everyone pretends to act a certain way one minute and then differently the next when different people are around. Kids who I was friends with last year are mean to me this year. It is hard to make friends and even harder to feel like you can ever ask anyone a question or ask for help. You can only talk to kids in certain groups that you aren’t a part of like the cool kids.
My first year at fair I was nervous. But it didn’t matter who you are or what club you’re in or what age you are. I asked lots of people for help and everyone helped and answered questions. I made lots of new friends. Some are much younger, and some are a lot older.
At fair it didn’t matter what group you are with or how fast you can run or how smart you are. If I wasn’t strong enough to lift something, someone would help me without making fun of me. If I didn’t know how to do something, another member would jump in and help and teach me while we did it together. It didn’t matter if we were friends or if we were even in the same club or sometimes even the same barn.
Because of 4-H I can be a part of a group without being picked on for my age or my interests or sports.
Because of 4-H I can be anything I want to be, but most importantly, I can be me. What do you want to be?”