AMES, Iowa – Iowa 4-H youth are raising awareness about environmental issues and initiating environmental projects that make a positive difference in their communities as they celebrate “Keeping It Green” National 4-H Week Oct. 5-11. During National 4-H week and throughout the year, 4-H’ers solve problems in their communities, raise awareness about environmental issues and make a difference for their futures.
Chad Johnson, who went from a southwest Iowa farm boy to Corporate Counsel at Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., says 4-H citizenship and community service projects contributed to his business success. “4-H guided me to my career,” said Johnson. “I was interested in science and law from the time I was in fourth grade. In 4-H, I was able to explore science though my projects and cultivate good communication skills through 4-H leadership opportunities. By building on these 4-H experiences, I achieved my goals and have a career that combines those interests.”
Johnson enrolled in 4-H as a nine-year old, with the encouragement of his parents. As a Fremont County 4-H'er, his favorite projects were swine, soil, crop production and food and nutrition. He credits the club projects with building his work ethic – what he describes as digging in deep and finding an inner strength to complete goals.
Communication is the basis of everything he does in support of intellectual property licensing at Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. He relies on the base of communication skills that he developed through 4-H as a club, county and state 4-H officer, and as a delegate to the National 4-H Council.
“In addition to developing a work ethic and building communication skills, 4-H taught me how to dream big, set goals and how to position myself to achieve those goals,” said Johnson. “There were always caring adults, in addition to my parents, to encourage and support me as I worked towards my dreams.”
For Johnson, 4-H put him on a path to acquire skills at a young age that he could build on as his goals evolved. During National 4-H week, many young people will be developing those skills through community service projects. Others will be enrolling in 4-H for the first time and starting down that path toward tomorrow’s dreams.
Chad Johnson talks more about his 4-H experience in an audio interview with Doug Cooper. Contact your county extension office to learn more about local 4-H opportunities and enrolling in 4-H.