Around the state, 4-H’ers are working tirelessly to serve the organization and make it better for generations to come. Among these stellar students is Leiah Wilkins.

A member of the Hamilton County program, Wilkins currently serves as the State 4-H Council Representative at Large and is planning on running for Vice President at this year’s Roundup.

For Wilkins, the decision to run for a leadership position wasn’t something she had thought about until someone brought it up to her. Then, everything clicked into place and just made sense.

“I decided to go for the position of Representative at Large because I wanted to understand more about an officer role on the state level and help serve as a representative for African Americans in Tennessee 4-H,” explains Wilkins.

As Representative at Large, Wilkins participates in several activities; she attends council meetings and other hallmark events for Tennessee 4-H, like the opening ceremonies at the State Fair, and helps plan events like Roundup.

Through her participation in the public speaking, leadership and citizenship projects, Wilkins has been able to develop her skills and become a more confident public speaker.

“As a child, I was very shy and would hardly talk to anyone,” says Wilkins. “Once I joined 4-H and got into public speaking, I was able to write and express myself. After some time, I was able to confidently capture an audience and enjoyed talking to them.”

Wilkins feels that a commitment to 4-H and the skills that the organization helped her develop are what sets the organization apart for members.

“If I could give a younger 4-H’er any piece of advice at all it, would be to grow their confidence and to continue with 4-H throughout middle and high school, as it will help with both their personal and professional growth,” Wilkins says.