Ireland Sweeney is a recent graduate from Orange County, Virginia and will be attending Ferrum College this fall, where she knows the skills she has learned in 4-H will help her excel.
Sweeney has been an active member of 4-H and the Livestock Club, with her most memorable experience being helping out at the Therapeutic Adventure Camp of Orange (TACO). "It was rewarding to work with the kids and see their smiles when they rode the horses, I loved seeing campers so excited to see their favorite horse or camp friend. Each day volunteering at TACO was a new day, but it was always a good day," Sweeney said.
As an active member of the Livestock Club, Sweeney had the chance to participate in a livestock project.The project challenged her to purchase her own goats, budget out the money needed for their expenses-such as vet bills,feed costs, and fair entry fees, and train the goats. She showed her goats in showmanship and in market classes at this year's fair and regards this experience as her biggest accomplishment through 4-H. "Showmanship is a big deal because it is all about how you work with your animal, all eyes are on you. It's how you walk the animal, how you set the animal, how you react when the animal doesn't want to move, and how you talk to the judge-is how you are judged. I was able to accomplish all of this because 4-H was my foundation," Sweeney said,
4-H has been more than just a club and the opportunity to show animals for Sweeney, it has helped her become a more responsible individual, she learned time management skills, business skills and feels she has become a more outgoing confident person because of 4-H. When asked to describe 4-H she said "4-H is more than working with your show animal. It's education, mentoring, volunteering, and being one with your community."