Grace Marshall went through the program in 2014 and has shown both leadership and drive to be a positive influence both in her community and statewide. The application for the 2016 Ambassador Program is below.
Imagine a girl, 16 years old, with heart, determination and passion for agriculture. With her 4-H leaders, she would develop passion, creativity, and an inquisitive mind. Along the way, she would build life skills such as responsibility, discipline, and respect. As you have probably guessed, I am that girl. I have the heart, desire, and determination–that “want to” attitude to go the extra mile it takes to reach your goals. One of my goals was to become a Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassador. When I started my endeavor with Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassador program in 2014 I wasn’t aware of the impact it would have on my future until I completed the program and started to advocate. After completing the required hours my first year I began to realize the value of this program. I quickly discovered that the meaning of agriculture is so distant for the non-traditional agriculture student. Currently, I am a junior in high school in a non-rural city area—where most kids think their food comes from the grocery store.
Over the past two years I have worked to not only advocate for agriculture but encourage others to get involved so that we can grow other ag leaders. Last year, I helped to develop and implement an Ambassador program at the county level for our youth fair. I would say this has to be the biggest impact I have made so far –this program has given multiple opportunities to our youth to gain leadership skills and to develop their own footprint on advancing a passion for agriculture. Each species that shows or event in our county fair has two Ambassadors. These Ambassadors are responsible to conduct workshops in their specific area of expertise, conduct tours during the fair, help the species superintendent, and help at the county fair with weigh-in, tagging, and validation. It is amazing the impact that this program has made in our county and on our young leaders. I serve as an Executive Ambassador along with two others that have gone through the Texas Livestock 4-H Ambassador Program as well as the Agvocacy Academy. We mentor and help the species Ambassadors throughout the year. Watching the youth of our county step up to the challenge and serve as leaders has inspired me to make decisions about my future.
Last year I served as a Texas FFA Ambassador at the Texas State FFA Convention. I went into this experience with a mentality that it would be similar to our 4-H Ambassador program. It was a completely different experience! FFA Ambassadors job is to serve as a guide and leader of the organization for donors to the FFA Foundation. Although it’s a wonderful program it has a completely different objective than our 4-H Ambassador program. A goal I have is to work with the FFA program leaders to include advocating for agriculture along with its current objectives. After all, the more people we can get spreading the word and keeping it at the forefront of conversations, the more we will have an impact.
It is because of my involvement in the Texas 4-H Ambassador program and my goals in advocating for agriculture that I am considering a career in Advocating for Agriculture. I am now a junior in Lufkin High School and have my sights set on Texas A&M with a degree in Leadership and Communication with a minor in Ag Business. In this crazy day and time, no one knows where they will end up—one thing is for sure—I will always want to have a vital role in agriculture.