Like most seniors in high school, Caroline Brooks is busy with a wide array of activities, including serving as the 4-H State Council Vice President.
The Warren County native began her 4-H career in fourth grade at the encouragement of her teacher and extension agents at the time. To date, Brooks has attended National 4-H Congress, served as a member of the Tennessee 4-H Performing Arts Troupe for two years, and was awarded as the Level I and Level II State Project Winner in the Performing Arts and Recreation category. Brooks also serves on the UT/TSU Extension Advisory Council as the Vice Chair of the 4-H Sub Committee.
Though Brooks has clearly given a lot of her time and talents to 4-H, she credits the organization for her success.
“Since the fourth grade, 4-H has allowed me to grow and has truly made me the person I am today,” says Brooks. “I wanted to be State Council Vice President to represent the organization, share my story and get more youth involved.”
As Council Vice President, Brooks often works closely with donors and supporters of Tennessee 4-H, works to get students involved, and helps plan and preside over the State 4-H Roundup. For Brooks, the most rewarding part of her position is the day-to-day interaction she has with 4-H youth and their families.
“I love to see parents’ faces light up when I tell them about the programs and projects their children can participate in,” explains Brooks.
These interactions allow her to share the many ways that 4-H has a positive impact on members and the growth potential for students.
“4-H broke down my barriers and allowed me to come out of my shell,” Brooks says. “I have found that the more activities that I am involved with, the broader my comfort zone gets. As a 4-H’er, I am constantly redefining my comfort zone.”
Q&A with State Council Vice President Caroline Brooks
Where are you from, which county do you participate in and what year are you in school?
I am from McMinnville, Tennessee, and am a part of the Warren County 4-H Senior Honor Club. I am a senior at Warren County High School.
How old were you when you first became involved in 4-H and what drew you to the program?
I became involved with 4-H in the fourth grade thanks to strong encouragement from my teacher, Ms. Ashlee Reep, and my extension agents at the time, Mr. Michael Barry and Ms. Jamie Harris.
Justin Crowe highly recommended you for your many achievements. Could you tell me a little bit more about them?
I was the 2017 and 2018 Performing Arts and Recreation Level I and II State Project Winner, which allowed me to attend National 4-H Congress in November 2018. I am a two-year member of the Tennessee 4-H Performing Arts Troupe. I have also interviewed live with RFD-TV about my work as a State Council member and my work as a Healthy Living Ambassador for my county. I am on the UT/TSU Extension Advisory Council, where I represent 4-H as the Vice-Chair of the 4-H Sub Committee.
What leadership roles have you held in 4-H before becoming the state 4-H Council President?
I served as the Warren County Honor Club Secretary, Social Media Chair, Healthy Living Ambassador and President. I also served on the State 4-H Council as a central Region Junior Representative in 2017 and 2018. I am also a member of the UT/TSU Extension Advisory Council, where I represent 4-H as the Vice-Chair of the 4-H Sub Committee.
Why did you want to be Council Vice President and what are some of your responsibilities?
Since the fourth grade, 4-H has allowed me to grow. It has truly made me the person I am today. I wanted to be State Council Vice President to represent this organization, share my story and to get more youth involved. Some of my responsibilities include talking to donors and supporters of Tennessee 4-H and helping plan and preside at State 4-H Roundup.
What is the most rewarding part of being the Council Vice President?
The most rewarding part of being Vice President is talking to parents of younger children about getting involved in 4-H. I love to see parents’ faces light up when I tell them about the programs and projects their children could be involved with and when I share my own story with them.
Which projects do you compete in and which is your primary focus?
I have completed in the Leadership and Performing Arts and Recreation Project through my portfolio and the Communications Project through countless public speaking competitions. My main project is Performing Arts and Recreation. I enjoy singing, dancing, performing and acting in musicals.
If you could give a piece of advice to a younger 4-H’er, what would it be?
Take every opportunity, especially if it is out of your comfort zone. I have found the more activities that I am involved with, the broader my comfort zone gets. As a 4-H’er, I am constantly redefining my comfort zone.
What is your favorite part about 4-H?
My favorite part of 4-H is definitely the friendships I have made. Because of 4-H, I have friendships from all across the state. I am so thankful for the connections that I have made with people that I never would have met if it had not been for 4-H.
How has 4-H helped you develop as a person?
I was a very shy fourth grader and 4-H broke down my barriers and allowed me to come out of my shell. Through 4-H, I learned that I love public speaking, which is something that I would not have thought of doing before. 4-H took that timid fourth grader and turned her into a more confident, better version of herself.