Thursday, October 3, 2013

What's Your 50?

I was honored to be recently recognized by Volunteer Iowa and their "What's Your 50?" campaign.  This campaign recognizes volunteers from across the state and then shares why they volunteer, to encourage all Iowan's to volunteer just 50 hours annually.  I was nominated by Franklin County Extension.

As part of the recognition I was asked to share the top couple organizations I volunteer with and explain why I share my time with them.  It was hard to choose the top couple because I volunteer with many groups.  In the end I decided to share my experiences of volunteering with 4-H, Make-A-Wish and Farm Bureau.

Chaperoning State 4-H Conference (I'm on the far right)
4-H.  I was involved in 4-H as a youth and I credit this activity for helping me explore my interests and ultimately helped me choose the major of agricultural communications for college.  Because 4-H gave me so much, I wanted to give back immediately.  I began judging 4-H projects and contest at the age of 19 and have volunteered with my county 4-H program for the past five years.  For my local county Extension program I am the Communications Project Leader, chaperon conferences, help during the County Fair, serve on the Extension Council Nominating Committee, and have been a 4-H Club Leader.

Working with one of my Wish Kids
Make-A-Wish.  I have been involved with the North Iowa Make-A-Wish chapter for four year and currently serve as the Vice-Chair and a Wish Granter for the group.  I got started with Make-A-Wish because of my cousin Jake who received a wish during his battle with cancer.  He always said that his wish meant so much to him during his last year of life.  I wanted to help make other wishes come true after knowing the impact Jake's wish had on him.  With Make-A-Wish I help with wish granting, fundraising and community events.  I have even jumped out of an airplane (twice) for a Make-A-Wish fundraiser.

Doing a radio interview before my local county Farm Bureau's
"Breakfast Battle" National Food Check-Out Week event
Farm Bureau.  Being a farmer and raising my family on the farm are very important to me.  My Farmer and I both have become active with Farm Bureau, which allows us to network and interact with other young farmers and to perform community outreach that shares information about the importance of agriculture.

So... What's your 50?  I enjoy volunteering because it allows me to make new personal connections and make a big difference in my community, especially in the lives of young people.  I am proud of where I am from and by volunteering I can only make it better and strive longer.  Volunteering is a great way to become a leader in your community.  No matter the amount of time you have to give, there is a volunteering opportunity for you.  I personally average five hours of service each week.  For you, it might be helping with one program's project or event.  Whatever it is, you are making a difference.  Through the "What's Your 50?" campaign, the Governor's Call to Action is to encourage Iowan's to increase their service activities to 50 hours per year.  Currently, Iowa is ranked second in the nation for its state volunteer rate.


  1. Congratulations Val! You are very deserving of this honor. Keep up the great work!
    Paula W.

  2. You'll be excited to know that I was recently elected as our county's Women's Committee Chair for Farm Bureau! I never really went to meetings or anything, just helped my husband out with stuff. I was out of town for work for the meeting, my husband nominated me, and next thing you know most of the 75 people there voted me in. How about that? hahaha. I've got a lot of work ahead of me, because this is a role that we've never really fulfilled every year. Wish me luck!

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