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Blog: Matt Reese

Raising hands for 4-H

Ohio is winning and I decided I want to try and keep it that way.

As part of its “Raise Your Hand” campaign, National 4-H wants alumni to sign in at 4-H.org/alumni. The state with the most registered alumni by the end of June will bring home $20,000 to use towards 4-H programming. On May 23, Ohio led the national competition with 10,501 alumni. Coming in second was Indiana with 7,677. Texas was third with 4,495.

I remember watching in awe as something I built as a nine-year-old launched into the heavens. One of my first 4-H projects was rocketry and I still remember the euphoria as I gazed skyward at my rocket soaring over the Hancock County corn fields. That project was by no means the most influential part of 4-H for me, but a fond early memory from the program that was a part of my life for many years.

I signed up last week to add to Ohio’s total and hopefully all of you former Buckeye 4-Hers will do the same. It doesn’t take long. My many 4-H projects, including photography, creative writing, various livestock projects, tree planting knot-tying, and rocketry helped to teach me skills that I use regularly, if not daily, in my current profession. (OK, so not really rocketry). The organization provided not only those skills, but also helped me to develop leadership and social skills that have helped to make me who I am today.

Ohio State is highlighting Shelley Meyer (wife to  football coach Urban Meyer) who also “raised her hand” as an alum of 4-H, the national youth development program, by reciting the 4-H pledge for a social media effort. For  Meyer, 4-H helped prepare her for the public life she leads as the first lady of Buckeye football.

“I was president of our club, so I developed leadership skills. You have to get up in front of judges and talk about your outfit (she took sewing projects), so you develop speaking skills and confidence. Plus, you are relating to people all of the time,” Meyer said.

While she grew up on a livestock farm, helped bale hay and drive a tractor, Meyer did not take livestock projects. She does still remember, though, the beige terry cloth sweatsuit she sewed and serving as the Miss Ross County Junior Fair Queen.

 

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Author: Matt Reese

I grew up on a small farm in northwest Ohio and spent most of my youth writing, doodling, taking pictures, reading and exploring the surrounding farmland. With a family full of teachers, I also grew up around a culture supportive of education. I was active in athletics in high school before graduating from Ohio State University where I studied agricultural communications. This led to my career in agricultural journalism.

I continue to work on the family Christmas tree farm in Hancock County. I married my wonderful wife, Kristin, in 2002. We live on a small farm in Fairfield County with sheep, rabbits and chickens. We have a daughter Campbell Miriam who was born in the fall of 2007 and a son Parker Matthew born in August of 2009. We are active in our local church and with numerous other organizations. I help with the agricultural program at Ohio Christian University in Circleville as well.

I have worked for Ohio’s Country Journal since 1999. I also write a column for numerous newspapers around Ohio, Fresh Country Air and do freelance writing and photography work. I have written and self-published six books to date. To find my books, visit lulu.com and search for “Matt Reese.”

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