The Tennessee 4-H All Stars program is celebrating 70 years!
The 4-H All Stars is the second level in Tennessee 4-H recognition. To qualify for All Stars, 4-H’ers may apply for membership after finishing the eighth grade in 4-H Honor Club. Membership in All Stars is based on service, which is the All Star motto. Being accepted as a member of All Stars is the highest recognition that a Tennessee 4-H’er can achieve.
Ultimately, the goal of All Stars is to contribute to positive youth development through service to the 4-H program.
The program started in West Virginia and in 1948, two Virginia All Stars, including Don Bowman, traveled to Tennessee to help organize the first chapter in the state. The following summer, Tennessee held its first All Star Conference on Aug 20, 1949, where Bowman served as the All Stars Master of Ceremonies and then, eventually, the first Tennessee All Stars President.
“Being one of the founding members of Tennessee All Stars was quite an honor and at the time I didn’t realize that it would still be going this many years later,” explains Bowman.
Emily Nave, current All Star Chief, echoes this sentiment.
“Joining 4-H All Stars was one of the best decisions of my life,” explains Nave. “I have been blessed to be surrounded by selfless individuals that have pushed me to improve myself. All Stars has impacted me by teaching me to put others ahead of myself and help my community.”
Like the 4-H program overall, All Stars emphasizes maintaining and honoring traditions. Though the program has changed over the years, at the core, 4-H All Stars still exhibit their motto of service throughout the county, regional and state service projects they complete each year.
“As Chief, I am able to lead an organization that has always been a part of my life,” says Nave. “I have gotten to highlight the importance of being a servant leader and community involvement.”
Both Bowman and Nave encourage younger 4-H’ers to stay active and involved with the organization.
“Be proud to be in 4-H,” says Bowman. “Go ahead with your projects and try to be acknowledged for your hard work – it means a lot when you’re at that age.”