By SUE ERWIN, The Daily Sun Staff Writer

ARCADIA — Katie Howard traveled to Tallahassee in April to represent DeSoto County at 4-H Day at the Capitol.

See article here: DeSoto County 4-H teen represents county in Tallahassee | News |

A 4-H member for the past decade, Howard was among more than 1,000 who attended the annual 4-H state conference.

At the event, Howard spoke to lawmakers about their jobs and learned more about what they do for the state.

“We also talked about 4-H and asked if there are any related upcoming bills that might affect the organization,” she said.

Howard was part of the planning committee for the event, and arrived at the Capitol building the day before to help set up.

“We passed out packets of information about 4-H to all the senators and representatives,” she said. “We also had field games in the courtyard — disc golf, cornhole, Hula Hoops and jump ropes.”

In the Capitol, she spoke about her community service with 4-H.

“We have a state club called ‘executive board’ with about 80 youths, and we get special training and have different events,” she said. “4-H is about so many different things. We held a camp for middle schoolers to explain different projects they can do in high school.”

More than 1,200 people of all ages attended from around the state.

“For me, it was a busy day but a very fun experience,” Howard said.

Howard has been involved with 4-H since she was 8.

“My first projects were showing chickens and growing citrus plants at county fairs,” she said. “Then I started doing public speaking events, where I presented something with Powerpoint slides and explained how to do something.”

Her first public speaking event was explaining how to sew a dress.

“I made a dress for my Halloween costume that year, so I used the idea for a project.”

The 18-year-old also shows and raises dairy goats in DeSoto County.

“I definitely will be volunteering for 4-H in the future in my county,” Howard said. “I might apply to be a summer camp counselor.”

Howard is a homeschooled senior. She also attends South Florida State College out of Avon Park online and takes courses at the satellite campus in DeSoto County.

“I am doing all I can to get my associate’s degree along with my diploma.”

She plans to attend Florida Gulf Coast University and become a civil engineer.

“I would urge anyone interested in 4-H to attend a camp,” Howard said. “The experience has changed my life. It’s so much more than just plows, cows and sows.”

4-H is a youth development program for ages 8 to 18. Its mission is to engage youth to reach their fullest potential, according to its website.

— Source: The Daily Sun