4-H Senior Profile: Meg Nieslanik

phmkmegnieslanik4• How long have you been involved in 4-H?
Ten years.

• What is your favorite 4-H activity?
I love raising my sheep and pigs.

• What categories will you compete in at the fair?
Market Swine and Market Sheep.

• List past 4-H awards or accomplishments?
I’ve held many offices in various clubs, won the Herald Times “Best 4-H Reporter” twice, been awarded the Supreme Lamb award twice, received three scholarships from the 4-H foundation, the Rio Blanco County 4-H and Meeker Swine Club.

• What have you learned from your time in 4-H?
I have learned much more from my time as a member than the skills required to raise, groom, and show livestock in the fair. I have come to appreciate the presence of agriculture in my life and our Rio Blanco County community, as it is a lifestyle that is diminishing and becoming a rare commodity. It has become very apparent to me that the 4-H organization plays an important part in ensuring that kids in our community are blessed with the opportunity to participate in agriculturally affiliated activities for many years to come.

• What is your favorite 4-H memory or experience?
The atmosphere of the hour or so prior to a show at the fair is a clear memory for me. Once the animals are fitted and ready to go, the tiny locker room becomes packed full of anxious first-timers, seasoned fairgoers and frantic mothers. Whether Becky Ridings is ironing show shirts or Kelcee Vroman is braiding your hair, there’s always a thick aroma of hairspray clouding the bathroom visibility. Nevertheless, everyone always emerges pressed and primped and ready to show.

• What are your future plans?
Next fall I’m going to attend Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., to pursue a degree in secondary education or political science.

• What advice would you give up-and-coming 4-H’ers?
The competition at our county fair and even more so, statewide, is always heating up. Many times your 4-H project turns into your parents’ hobby. Try to worry less about winning or making the most money and more about actually learning how to shear a lamb, feed a lamb, help a lamb when they are sick. Having the flashiest equipment and attire will satisfy for the moment, but give you little to fall back on down the road. Enjoy your animals and try to in the back of your mind remember why you began having 4-H projects … to have fun.