4-H: Where Are They Now?

A young woman wearing a burnt orange and white striped shirt and smiling.

Chantel Stringfellow, former Kemper County 4-H’er

Q&A and photos by Michaela Parker

Just a few years ago, Chantel Stringfellow was a leader in Kemper County 4-H, and, now, she’s readying her leadership skills for entrepreneurship as she completes her studies for her Master of Business Administration at Mississippi State University. Stringfellow credits 4-H with helping her develop the skills she needs for success.

How did your Extension agent influence you?

Malikah Jones was my agent in Kemper County. Everyone has the same reaction when someone mentions her name—“Oh, I love Malikah!” She influenced me in a positive way, always pushing me to push beyond my limits. I was involved in public speaking, and, anytime I had to do a presentation, she would make sure I always had everything down pat with my topic and that I was comfortable giving the presentation. She was just always there for me, every step of the way. She really helped me learn more about myself as a person and helped me sharpen the qualities and skills I already possessed.

What did you learn from 4-H?

Leadership and community service. Once I start working, I want to give back to Kemper County because it was so influential in my life. 4-H taught me to truly love my community. We did several community service projects that made me love and appreciate where I’m from. Being in 4-H also made me want to be a better leader and role model. I was the vice president of my club, so I knew I had people looking up to me. It makes you want to be the kind of person that makes younger kids say, “I want to be like her when I grow up.”

What did you learn in 4-H that has had an impact on your everyday life?

Food safety is one thing I learned about through 4-H that has stuck with me. Like most kids, I didn’t know much about kitchen and food safety. I didn’t really know what to do and not do. The things I learned about food safety while in 4-H are things I still think about today. It’s good to have those things stored in the back of your brain in case you need them.

Because of 4-H, I realized …

I wanted to attend Mississippi State University. I came to Mississippi State for the first time for 4-H Congress. Getting to be on campus and experiencing it for several days made me really consider coming to MSU. I remember everyone here was so friendly and welcoming, and that must have made a big impression on me because here I am. I knew I wanted to major in business because that’s what my mom does, and MSU has a good business school. I’m wrapping up my MBA with a minor in data analytics, and, if it weren’t for 4-H, I probably wouldn’t have even come here.

What’s one thing you wish people knew about 4-H?

You’re going to meet really good people through 4-H. Like, really good people. You’ll probably meet your best friend, and you’ll always have people rooting for you. You’ll also get to travel and experience many different things that you wouldn’t get to do if you weren’t in 4-H.

What would you tell someone interested in joining 4-H?

If someone is even considering being a part of 4-H but can’t make up their mind, be like Nike and just do it. You won’t regret it!

 

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