As past articles have mentioned, 4-H is a great way to find your passions in life, or “sparks” from an early age. Multiple projects give kids and teens a chance to become involved in many interesting activities such as robotics, sewing, public speaking, and not to mention the countless other animal groups that 4-H is known for. One local 4-Her, Olivia Berman, has recently discovered one of her sparks through 4-H and reports that public speaking has become an important part of her life, and is something that she now loves.
Olivia stated on her website, “I began public speaking in 2015 and fell in love with the 4-H presentation and public speaking program at 12 years old. For me, the thrill of getting up in front of a group of people and just talking is what made me always want more. Now that I am older, I can clearly identify that public speaking is one of my “Sparks,” and I have the 4-H public speaking program to thank.”
If you do not know what goes on in the public speaking group, they compete in multiple competitions that are held in front of a panel of judges. This may sound intimidating, and it can be. But if the speaker is well prepared and passionate about what they’re speaking about, judges usually notice and appreciate their hard work. However, often it is hard to find enough judges to attend these competitions.
Since Olivia has been in the group from an early age, she knows first-hand how the lack of judges can greatly affect these competitions. So she took matters into her own hands and created a solution to this nationwide problem. She contacted the Santa Ynez Valley Rotary Club and discussed the benefits of the public speaking program and the possibility of having them as judges. Nine members immediately signed up. Now, if you do not already know, the Rotary is an organization that works to solve issues in our community and the world. They focus on promoting peace and goodwill through local businesses and community leaders. Rotary has been going strong for more than one 110 years, and they hope to create lasting change for another 100.
So why would contacting one local organization be the solution to a nationwide problem?
Well, Olivia thought that if Rotary was the answer to a local program, perhaps they could be the answer to a nationwide problem as well. So she created her website www.oliviaspeaks4-h.com that provides step-by-step instructions on how 4-Hers can get in touch with their local Rotary club.
After information about her website was sent to state 4-H offices all around the country, Olivia has heard from 4-H directors in Alaska and Massachusetts, thanking her for helping to solve this big problem. Olivia invites everyone to visit her website and learn more about the public speaking group, 4-H, and Rotary.
Also, if you’re interested in finding out what presentation day is like for public speakers, our first competition is approaching quickly. On Feb. 2, multiple public speakers including Olivia and myself, will be speaking at Olga Reed School in Los Alamos. If you’re unable to make it on those days, two more competition dates will follow. I’ll make sure to include those two dates in my upcoming articles.