Clubs are more than just agriculture and livestock, she says.
By Richard Montemayor
Bridget Hughes, a 19-year-old culinary freshman at St. Philip’s College, has been saddling up with Oak Valley 4-H Club for six years.
She is currently helping out at this year’s San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo by mentoring the kids in her club, who will participate in Open Horse Show and Youth Rodeo, said Nora Reams, manager of Oak Valley 4-H Club and owner and horse trainer at Oak Valley Stables.
The equestrian life runs in Hughes’ family.
She said before she was born, her mother joined the program at Oak Valley Stables, near Fort Sam Houston.
“My mother grew up with horses and came out to the stables before I was born, and since that time I’ve always been participating with the program by showing horses,” she said.
Hughes is now an alumni member because she aged out of 4-H. But that has not stopped her from volunteering with Oak Valley. She is now a mentor to the next generation of 4-H kids.
“I loved it so much that I came back to help these kids by volunteering my time and motivating kids to join,” she said.
One of the benefits of joining a 4-H club is it can help students pay for college. One of Hughes’ best friends got $40,000 worth of scholarships and is currently working on her Ph.D.
Hughes said those who think being in a 4-H club is all about agriculture and livestock are wrong.
“When people think of 4-H, they think of animals and agriculture, but it is so much more than that. You can get into anything you really want to; you can get into finance, business and fashion; you can actually make your basis for a career later in life that you want to have,” she said.
The age requirements are 8 to 18 for any 4-H club, Reams said.
“We will help you,” Hughes said. “We will get you started and you don’t have to be into horses to be in our club. Yes, we do focus mainly around horses but we will get you into anything you want.”
Currently Oak Valley 4-H has 20 kids.
For more information, call Reams at 210-216-9422 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.