Athletes at the 4-H fair: Emma Winks


Name: Emma Winks

Grade: Junior

School: Brownstown Central

Sports: Cross-country and track and field

Number of years involved in 4-H: 8

Which 4-H activities are you involved in at the fair? Wildlife, cake decorating, any other crafts, floriculture, plant science, creative dramatics, horse, goat and Junior Leaders

Q: How do you balance your sports and 4-H responsibilities?

A: “Over the years, I’ve learned to start my 4-H projects early so I have more leeway to schedule around my summer jobs and sports activities. I usually begin working on next year’s projects right after the fair is over. Some projects I finish while on Christmas break, and I use any school snow days to work on my project books. However, livestock projects prove to be more challenging because they require daily care. I often have to get up early so I can feed before I go to work or practice, and then I run back out to the barn at night to feed again.”

Q: What is your typical schedule like during the summer when it comes to 4-H and sports? What is an average day like?

A: “Between 4-H and sports, there is no time for me to sleep in. Most mornings, I get up at 6 a.m. so I can ride my horse or walk my goats before it gets too hot. I also run with the cross-country girls as often as I can, so I meet them at 7 a.m. at Jackson-Washington State Forest on most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I babysit for another 4-H family who allows me to work on projects while I am there. When I get home in the afternoon, I usually work some more on 4-H projects.”

Q: Why are you involved in both 4-H and athletics?

A: “The main reason I participate in 4-H and sports is to socialize with my peers. Sports allow me to interact and form friendships with kids from my high school. However, 4-H allows me the opportunity to meet kids from all over the county, even outside the county. 4-H highlights a wider range of activities and interests, while sports connects kids with similar interests. For example, I attended a 4-H horse camp for several years that was held by the Jennings County Horse and Pony Club, and I made several friends there.”

Q: What is something you’ve learned from 4-H that translates to your sports or vice versa?

A: “4-H has taught me many valuable lessons such as being responsible and meeting deadlines, but the most valuable lesson is to work hard and always do your best. The work ethic I have developed from 4-H has led me to complete many grand champion and state fair qualifying projects. I have also had some success in the showmanship classes in both horse and goat. Those honors feel extra special because your knowledge of the species and how you handle the animal is being judged, not the animal itself. This same work ethic helps me immensely when running cross-country because I won’t give up, even when running the toughest courses.”

Q: Why would you encourage someone in 4-H to also participate in athletics?

A: “I would encourage my fellow 4-H members to participate in sports because the athletic programs teach many life skills such as teamwork. Sports teach kids to collaborate their efforts to achieve a common goal. I also learned through sports that everyone on the team has a clearly defined role, which is crucial to the survival of the team. Sports also teach kids how to deal with losing, which isn’t a fun lesson to learn, but valuable no less.”

The Tribune recently spoke with five different Jackson County athletes that are also involved in 4-H. These fair features started Monday and run through Friday.

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