By Eric Thomas
Anne Becker, a junior at Jacksonville High School (JHS), has pursued interests that will ultimately take her places and play a part in success.
She has been involved in 4-H for nine years and serves as president of Agri-Starts 4-H group here in Morgan County. Her main focus through 4-H has been raising and showing pigs. “Each summer, it becomes our family vacation, as I show swine at seven different county fairs,” remarked Becker. While she enjoys all components of 4-H, she is very interested in the community and leadership aspects the most.
Her successful involvement in 4-H and showing swine have led to her involvement at JHS with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program. In the fall of 2019, she will assume the role of president of the JHS chapter, and on April 30, she was elected the vice president of FFA sectionals for the coming school year. Not only are her leadership abilities being noticed in her FFA involvement, but they have also really soared in the world of 4-H.
Through 4-H, in addition to serving as president of her local club, Becker serves on the Youth Leadership Team for Illinois. This team has 22 members from all over the state. When she applied to be a part of this, there were 19 applicants for 7 open positions. She will serve a two-year term and then can reapply for another term. The Youth Leadership Team host a 7th and 8th grade leadership conference for Illinois. They only accept 100 participants to the conference. Currently, Becker serves as recorder for the group and puts out a newsletter every three months.
Last fall during Thanksgiving break, Anne Becker attended the 4-H Congress, a nationwide opportunity for 4-H members. As a state award winner in leadership, Becker joined the delegation from Illinois for the annual congress in Atlanta. Historically, the 4-H Congress goes back more than 99 years and is a five-day event that engages high school 4-H members in leadership, citizenship, global awareness and inclusion. Members participate in state-of-the-art educational workshops and hear from world-renowned speakers, as well as network with people from across the country. Each state determines the number of delegates that can attend the congress and they set their own selection process. While a part of that congress, each participant is assigned to one of a variety of community service projects in the Atlanta metro area.
During the second week of April this year, Becker attended the National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C. This event provided the opportunity for the young people involved in 4-H to connect; engage; lead; and impact their communities, their nation and their world. “It was a great problem-solving opportunity, taking part in roundtable discussion groups regarding many important topics,” shared Becker. “It was great to have federal agencies get a youth perspective on problems facing our world.” During the week there, she worked closely with the Department of Agriculture and interacted with members from all 50 states, plus U.S. territories and Canada.
Someday, Becker hopes to pursue a career in international agriculture. On top of her experience with the agricultural, she is interested in traveling. It has always been a big interest of hers, and it all started with a trip to Canada with her mom and her grandma when she was only eight years old. She has also traveled to Australia through People to People, an international travel program for students, as well as the 10-day trip to Spain through Jacksonville High School. It seems she’s on the right track for her intended career.