4-H helps turn 15-year-old into family’s handyman
Fifteen-year-old Jeremy Winfrey understands what the Mayginnis 4-H program is about.
"You have people to look up to, people that really show good leadership," Winfrey said.
Winfrey, who became involved with the organization after moving to Leavenworth County, has participated in several events at the Leavenworth County Fair, but said many people have misconceptions about what the organization does.
"I've talked to my friends and all they know is you raise livestock," said Winfrey, a student at Basehor-Linwood High School. "They think it's basically just pigs and cows."
In the past, Winfrey has participated in many events, including electricity, clothing, photography and shooting sports.
Winning ribbons and trophies are nothing new for him. Winfrey has captured grand champion honors for his electrical projects four out of the six years he has participated in the event.
"I like the fair a lot," Winfrey said. "That's the big time, where everything really comes together and you go out there and show your things."
Winfrey said he has always enjoyed building and hopes to possibly become a mechanical engineer when he is older. For now, he is content to work on cars at his cousin's body shop or a friend's performance shop.
Winfrey has especially enjoyed the experience and knowledge he has gained by working on his 4-H projects.
"I usually like putting everything together," Winfrey said. "Usually you start out with this huge piece of wood and when it's done, it kind of surprises you how it went together."
Working on 4-H projects has made Winfrey somewhat of a family handyman, he said.
"The most useful skills I've learned are electricity," Winfrey said. "I have relatives, you know, that when they need a lamp fixed or something, they give it to me."
Besides repairing small appliances for family members, Winfrey said participating in 4-H has taught him leadership skills, how to organize projects and how to interact with others his own age to accomplish goals.
4-H offers enough activities to participate in that almost anyone could find something of interest, Winfrey said.
"Anything that you probably consider a hobby is probably a project in 4-H," he said.
Winfrey would encourage other people to learn more about 4-H before passing judgment on the program.
"There are people that have no idea about it," Winfrey said. "They've heard of it, but they don't really know what it is."