SMITHVILLE, Ohio – When it came down to choosing a platform for her year-long reign as Miss Ohio 2001, the choice was an easy one for Stephanie Meisberger of Hopewell, Ohio, in Muskingum County.
As a 10-year 4-H member and now a 4-H volunteer, Meisberger knew what the program could do for young people such as herself.
Meisberger told advisers and other volunteers attending the 4-H Volunteer Recognition Banquet that growing up in a single-parent home meant she spent a lot of time at her grandparents house when her mother was at work. Since her grandparents were involved in 4-H, it was only natural that she joined their 4-H club as well.
Meisberger said 4-H taught her life skills and it gave her a career.
“I learned about marketing, I learned to talk to people when I went out to the businesses to talk to them about buying my market rabbits,” she said. “Four-H taught me to sell myself and to sell my project.”
Currently a student at Franklin University in Columbus, she is director of development, annual giving and alumni relations, a job she credits to her 4-H experience.
Meisberger said 4-H taught her to be persistent and to be a goal oriented person. She said her goal was to be Miss Ohio, and 4-H taught her to be persistent and keep going even when she didn’t win.
“I didn’t have the best talent in the world, but 4-H taught me to be persistent and keep reaching for my goal,” she added. “This crown stands for my goal; it was something I had to work for. This (Miss Ohio) has given me the chance to travel 1,000 miles a week to promote 4-H.”
“Ohio is lucky. We have strong agricultural roots,” she concluded. “We have a strong 4-H community, 4-H started here – we are part of the old school of 4-H. There are so many aspects of 4-H. We can manipulate our programs to serve the demographics, but we can still teach our members core values. We need to teach young people to have confidence to live their own lives.”
Volunteers honored. During the banquet, three 4-H volunteers were recognized for the work with the county’s 4-H program. Roger Feather, Linda Eick and Barbara Stahl received the 2001 Meritorious Service Award.
Eick has been an adviser with the Los Caballos 4-H Club for 10 years. Eick developed the local 4-H Horse Bowl team and has encouraged the team to participate in the state contest.
Feathers involvement in with the junior fair beef program began as a 4-H and FFA member. As an adult, his involvement included serving as an adviser as well as a member of the beef committee and the Extension 4-H committee. Feather was instrumental in organizing and sponsoring the Wayne County Bred and Raised Class since it started. He also sponsors the carcass class and the rate of gain trophy for the carcass show.
Barbara Stahl’s involvement in 4-H began as a 4-H member. Today, she along with her husband, Howard, son David and daughter-in-law Laurie are 4-H volunteers. As the organizational adviser for the Madisonburg Pioneers 4-H Club, she has seen over 1,700 young people go through the club during her 24 years as an adviser.