Ann Keene has been volunteering with Louisiana 4-H for 44 years.
Through her four decades serving Louisiana 4-H, Keene has served on the Louisiana 4-H Foundation Board and helped establish the Volunteer Leaders Association. She was also the voice of the LSU AgCenter spring livestock show for several years. Keene has received numerous awards on the state and national levels.
My oldest child, Mary Kathryn, joined 4-H in the fourth grade at Tallulah Elementary School in 1976. During that year, the agent needed help with a workshop to make aprons. As an avid seamstress, I was volunteered to help. About the same time, Madison Parish got a new 4-H agent, Mike Rome, who also attended St. Edward Catholic Church with us. We soon became fast friends. As a Hereford exhibitor and a poultry aficionado while in 4-H in East Baton Rouge Parish, Mike quickly developed a livestock program, which delighted my husband.
Initially, I was a project volunteer with the sewing club and moved on to become a livestock project leader on a large scale! In about 1984, I became the 4-H Club leader at Tallulah High School. I continued in that role until 1995 even after my children were off to college.
I became a member of the Northeast Louisiana Livestock Show Board in 1997 and still serve in that role. Also, in 1997 I became actively involved in the support committee and served as one of the superintendents for the beef show at the Northeast Louisiana Livestock Show. Along the way, I began announcing beef shows at the state fair and later became the beef committee chairperson. I served as the announcer at LSU spring livestock show for many years, and now I serve as the office manager for the beef show office at the spring show. For the last 10 years, I have worked the office for the state horse show.
Because of these volunteer activities, I was able to help establish the Volunteer Leaders Association in our state and assist with developing the Master Volunteer Program.
The extended family that we have developed while in the pursuit of educating young people by using hands-on learning experiences. Providing caring adults who can work with youth is even more important today as we have so many single-parent families and so many children who do not have a male figure in their lives.
A long time ago, I was told that 4-H is an experiential learning program for youth and the caring adults who work with them. I would encourage new volunteers to take advantage of the many educational opportunities that extension and the 4-H program offer for adults. I am the person I am today because of all the rich educational experiences that were made available to me through 4-H. Regional, state and national conferences took me to places that I would never have been able to go if not for 4-H.
In high school, Ann Keene joined 4-H to be in a club, but her real love in high school was Future Homemakers of America. However, when she became involved with 4-H as a parent, she fell in love with the program and the people involved.
"It is difficult to find nicer people on the planet than those who volunteer with 4-H."
- Ann Keene