Emily Taylor of Stephens County 4-H Club Inducted into the Oklahoma 4-H Hall of FameMon, 31 Jul 2017 15:15:02 CDT
This Stephens County 4-H’er grew up in the 4-H program, tagging along with her older sister and brother to various activities. At the ripe old age of 5, Emily Taylor had no idea she wasn’t a “real 4-H’er.”
Fast forward 13 years and you better believe she’s the real deal and she just achieved the highest state honor a 4-H member can earn. During the Honor Nigh Assembly at the 96th State 4-H Roundup, Taylor was inducted into the Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame.
“This really is the icing on the cake, a sweet ending to my 4-H career,” Taylor said of her honor. “My dream has become a reality. From the first time I attended Honors Night, I set the goal of being inducted into the Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame. This is the fulfilment of my planning, organizing, sweat, tears and dedication.”
The Hall of Fame award comes with a $2,000 scholarship sponsored by Oklahoma Ag Credit.
Just as she tagged along to 4-H activities with her older siblings at an early age, she also followed in their award-winning footsteps and is now part of the Taylor family trifecta. Her sister, Cathleen Taylor, and her brother, Matt Taylor, also were previous Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame inductees.
In addition to the Hall of Fame recognition, Taylor was presented with the $1,200 Ira Hollar Advanced Leadership Scholarship sponsored by Bill Doenges, and the $1,000 Harold and Jeanne Gibson Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by the Harold P. and Jeanne Gibson Endowment. She also was recognized as a member of the Blue Award Group.
Taylor is a member of the Stephens County Teen Leaders Club and is active in the achievement, health and fitness, citizenship and leadership project areas. She gives her all to everything she does, but said her work in health and fitness is most rewarding.
“I’ve really gotten excited about the fourth H - health. I’ve learned being overweight can lead to many health problems, so I’m working hard to avoid this,” she said. “Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of obesity in the country. I think if youth like me help educate adults and other youth, we can put American back on a healthy path.”
She was instrumental in developing a video based on one of her favorite songs - “All About that Bass,” with her version being “You Gotta Eat Your Fruits.” After hours of editing, her project was ready to post on YouTube. She even showed it to her computer teacher, who then showed it to all of his classes. The video has had national exposure, as well, being shown at the National Healthy Living Summit and been featured on the National 4-H website, the Oklahoma 4-H website and 4-H websites in seven other states.
Last fall, Taylor was able to continue her work in the health and fitness project by being selected as a National Healthy Living Ambassador and to be part of the Healthy Living Summit design committee. Ambassadors from across the country met last spring in Washington, D.C., for the 2017 National Healthy Living Summit and learned more about how to implement programs in their home states. Currently the Oklahoma ambassadors are planning a statewide Healthy Living Summit this fall.
“During the national summit, the design team was in charge of just about everything,” she said. “Serving on the design committee was an amazing experience and definitely one of the highlights of my 4-H career.”
In addition to healthy living, Taylor also believes in supporting those who have served in the military. She used her sewing skills to make more than 100 neck coolers, 92 flat bears and collected over 70 pounds of candy that was shipped to military personnel serving overseas.
Kases for Kids is another project close to her heart. Although she likes to sew, she found sewing for a competition makes her too anxious. So, she uses this skill in other ways to help the community. In addition to the neck coolers, Taylor makes pillow cases and fills them with personal hygiene products and donates them to youth at the Ada Area Youth Shelter.
During her tenure as a 4-H’er, Taylor has had many opportunities to hone her leadership skills. She just completed serving a year as vice president of the State Leadership Council. While in this office, she traveled about 2,500 miles and visited club members in 42 counties. Other leadership roles include Southwest District representative on the State Leadership Council and Stephens County vice president, to name a few.
Some of her other 4-H activities and honors include Citizenship Washington Focus delegate, Denver Western Roundup, National 4-H Congress, State 4-H Roundup and National Healthy Living Summit 2014 and 2015.
Taylor admits even though her 4-H career has been filled with great experiences and honors, it’s not without some disappointment. She organized “Outlaw Girls Rock,” a county event featuring workshops on nutrition and exercise, social media safety, fashion, bullying and etiquette. Not enough people signed up and she had to cancel the event.
“I was really disappointed, but talked to my district specialist and she thought it would be great as a Southwest District event,” she said. “Thanks to social media, word spread to the Southeast District, too. I was so excited this event was finally happening.”
As her 4-H career winds down, Taylor said she can’t help but think about all the amazing things 4-H has taught and continues to teach its members.
“If it was not for 4-H, I don’t know where I would be. Being in 4-H has helped me discover what I want to do for my future career,” she said. “I want to become a 4-H educator so I can help other youth find their passion to become leaders and role models for the future.”
A 2017 graduate of Marlow High School, she is the daughter of Steve and Liz Taylor. She will attend East Central University this fall and major in family and consumer sciences.
Source - Oklahoma State University
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