Posted on August 26, 2016 at 8:47 AM by Emily Saveraid
Connie Burhop began her 4-H experience before she was “legally” eligible to be a member of the Wyoming Polly Pigtails. Connie’s Mother helped start the club; her aunt was a leader, and her oldest sister a charter member. She even completed a record book before officially joining the club at 9 years old. Connie remembers her most exciting moment as a 4-H member was being elected the Jones County 4-H Girls president in 1957. It was then that she realized the importance of being able to speak confidently in front of others.
After she married her husband, John, he became a leader of the Oxford Livewires 4-H club and joined Youth Committee. Connie would come along to support Jones County 4-H programs before eventually joining the Youth Committee herself. Both of her children, Perry and Penny, joined 4-H when they were eligible and had very active and rewarding years in 4-H before going to college. The year after Penny joined; Connie began her journey as a 4-H leader.
Connie’s decades as a 4-H leader have been very exciting. She comments that she has learned just about as much as the 4-H members. Her favorite part of being a 4-H leader is watching the youth develop and turn into mature adults. Connie has provided continuing commitment to 4-H and youth development to two generations of Oxford Happy Hustlers 4-Hers. She says, “It’s so much fun to have mothers tell their kids that she was their leader too.” Connie believes the most important thing you learn in 4-H is the ability to speak in front of others. Every member in the OHH gives at least 2 presentations each year. Members may dislike it then, but she doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t thanked later for the self-confidence and communication skills it builds. She states “Just a little encouragement and they are off to the race tracks!”
During Connie’s 42 years as a club leader, Connie excels when donating her time in support of 4-H. Connie has helped with the county Dairy Foods Club, 4-H Style Shows, been a representative for Jones County at the very first Regional Leaders forum, and has served on the Youth Committee twice – 3 years each time.
Connie began working for 4-H and Extension & Outreach in the 80’s, filling in for the office assistant when needed, before becoming a 4-H Program Assistant. She remembers her time as the CYC as, “A marvelous experience, with some headaches but very rewarding.” One of her goals as CYC was to make the 4-H Teen Council a vibrant and active group again, and she more than succeeded. Teen Council would meet every month, do activities, and each year take a fun trip. A favorite time of year for Connie is the Great Jones County Fair. It may be the “5 Best Days of Summer”, but as soon as she became CYC, it turned into at least 2 weeks of the best days of summer. 4-H is one big family, and it really shows at fair time.
As Connie’s days as CYC ended, she knew she would miss it very much. She is still very active in 4-H as a leader of the Oxford Happy Hustlers, helping with county activities, and keeping up to date with the 4-Hers. In her own words, “When I think back – 4-H (and cows) has been my life, and my family’s life.”