This year, we happened to have only one King candidate who won by unanimous acclimation, but we did have three very talented young women vying for the Queen title.

Let me be clear that this is not a beauty contest. The 4-H King and Queen competition is about recognizing and honoring kids who’ve been leaders in their clubs and will be good leaders and examples for the youth in our county.

I’m always impressed when I read the applications. Not only do these kids excel in school (they’re often active in academic, sports and other activities), but they’re also involved in multiple 4-H projects at the same time. That means lots of meetings and mandatory, detailed record-keeping in addition to their school and community work.

One thing that always strikes me about the candidates is their proficiency at public speaking. You can tell they’re nervous, but each does a pretty darned good job giving a five-minute presentation on leadership skills to three strangers. Then they sit down and answer whatever questions we throw at them.

This year, in fact, one of the candidates got her dates mixed up and didn’t show up at her assigned time. One of the other candidates called her to see where she was. I can only imagine the panic (and the parental disapproval) on the other end of that phone call. We went ahead with another interview, and the “missing” young lady then showed up dressed perfectly and with her presentation ready to go. She was a little out of breath, but by the middle of her five-minute presentation she was cool, calm and collected. Talk about grace under pressure.

One thing the candidates talk about every year is how important it is for teens to stay active in 4-H. They’re very conscious of the fact that 4-H has helped them excel by teaching them responsibility, organization, and working well with others.


 Those may sound like quaint attributes in this day and age, but it’s hard to argue with success.

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