Facebook campaign lands teen state 4-H leadership role

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By The Staff



Adults aren’t the only ones campaigning this time of year.

Kingston resident Mason Van Horn said he spent the last couple of months campaigning to become Tennessee 4-H Council president.

The stumping paid off. Van Horn, 17, was elected president at last week’s 4-H Roundup in Martin.   

Officials from 4-H said the last time a Roane Countian was president of the state council was in 1951, when C.J. Cate held the position.

“It’s pretty cool,” Van Horn said.

Van Horn and Beth Thew, a 4-H’er from the Harriman area, were also inducted as Vol State members at the state roundup.

Both are homeschooled students.

Vol State is the highest level of recognition a Tennessee 4-H’er can receive.   

“It’s something I’ve kind of been looking forward to my whole high school career in 4-H,” Thew said. “It was pretty amazing. It really felt like I accomplished a goal there.”

Vol State recipients must be active All Star members and are nominated by their 4-H agents.  

Van Horn said he used Facebook to let other 4-H’ers know he was interested in becoming council president.

The campaigning continued when he got to state roundup.  

“I campaigned not only to the eastern region, but 4-Hers from other regions of the state, as well,” he said.

As president, Van Horn said some of his goals are to increase participation and encourage 4-H’ers to work together more.

“It’s not that we haven’t been working together, but I think if everybody is working toward one common goal, I think we can make such a difference,” he said.

Thew, 16, said the camaraderie shared by 4-H’ers is one of the things she likes most about the program.

“I like the fact that even though I’m learning things I still get to make new friends and see them a lot through 4-H,” she said. “Those friendships are going to last my whole life.”

Round-up brings together 4-H’ers from all around the state.

Van Horn and Thew said that’s one of the things they really enjoyed about it.  

“You know some people from your region generally, but when you first get to round-up, there’s a lot of people you don’t know,” she said. “By the time you leave, you’re exchanging e-mails and becoming family members already.”