South Routt teen wins state-level 4-H award

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— Soroco 4-H member Megan Baker is now an identified and certified leader after receiving the 4-H Outstanding Youth Leader Award in Colorado. The young south Routt native was singled out from a field of 24,000 4-H members in Colorado who were eligible for the honor.

Each county nominates one 4-H member for the leadership award. Baker was nominated out of 262 people in Routt County.

To her surprise, Baker received the award at the Colorado State 4-H Conference in late June at Colorado State University. She had no idea the award would be given to her, and was honored and shocked when she was called to the stage to receive a plaque.

"It was really exciting," she said.

Baker, 17, has been involved with 4-H since she was 9 years old. Since then, she has risen to the highest post she can get locally, council president, and is the district vice president.

"She is seen as one of the premier youth leaders in the 4-H organization," 4-H agent Jay Whaley said. "I don't know of anyone getting this award before in Routt County."

When Baker began as president last year, one of the goals she, and the council, wanted to achieve was to increase enrollment by 10 percent. Since then the enrollment has risen 17 percent, going from 230 to 260 members.

Whaley was pleasantly surprised with the accomplishment.

"I thought 10 percent would be hard to reach," he said.

Part of that increase in members is due to the leaders in 4-H, Whaley said.

Baker looks to the past members as an inspiration for her role in 4-H.

"There's a lot of kids that graduated before me that are amazing leaders, so I've looked to them," she said.

One of her biggest influences is her older sister, Janet.

"She gave me all her old stuff and has helped me out through the years," Baker said.

Even with her success as a leader in 4-H, Baker said her real sense of accomplishment comes from completing assigned projects.

Baker raises two market steers, five breeding and market sheep, and three horses for 4-H, keeping financial records on the animals and showing them at fairs.

When she's not working with 4-H, Baker is still working.

She has a job selling clothes at Soda Creek Western Mercantile and also helps her parents on their ranch off of Twentymile Road.

As a senior at Soroco High School this fall, Baker is looking ahead. She hopes to take the knowledge that she's gained from 4-H and pursue a career in agribusiness, ideally as an extension agent.

To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail dcrowl@amigo.net

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