“Step out of your comfort zone and live in the moment.” This was the advice Grace Cooper, an 18 year old recent graduate of Orange County High School, wanted to share with the youth of 4-H.
Grace first began Orange 4-H showing Angora and Nigerian Dwarf goats at the fair much like her four older siblings. Around age ten, she started attending 4-H junior camp every summer, and believes that shaped her into a more confident and outgoing person. As a camp counselor, it was her duty to make sure that the younger campers were being safe and having fun. She really enjoyed serving as Great Bear, the highest youth leadership role at camp, and one in which she led nightly campfire ceremonies.
“It was really different this year having an online camp, but we still had fun and were able to have some virtual campfires” Grace said, one of three teens who led virtual campfires via Zoom in 2020. As she reflected on her time in 4-H, she cited one of her favorite memories being her final 2019 campfire where everyone surprised the seniors by singing and having fun together.
“When camp was over, it was sad that everyone was leaving, but it was great to have the experience and make memories,” she said.
Outside of 4-H, Grace was a member of the Orange County High School yearbook staff, National Honor Society, and Varsity Club. She played field hockey for five years and plans to play on the field hockey club team at James Madison University. She also hopes to continue her passion for yearbook at James Madison, as she likes interviewing others about their experiences, and taking photos that they will cherish forever.
4-H activities and school experiences have led Grace to major in Elementary Education, where she will complete a five-year master’s program. Grace has been a role model for the youth of Orange County, and she continues to encourage everyone to get out and have fun. She says the experiences and people that you encounter through 4-H can have a lifelong impact on anyone and lead to great opportunities for school, work, or friends.
Thank you, Grace, for continuing to inspire others, and best of luck to your future endeavors!
By Evan Lineweaver, Extension Intern