4-H: Where Are They Now?
Jerry Tony Clark II, 4-H alumnus
Q&A with former 4-H'er Jerry Tony Clark II
Q: What 4-H memory stands out to you, and why?
One time our 4-H Leadership officers went out in Grenada to a muddy field—it was almost a swamp due to rain—and we planted a tree.
I wondered why we spent so much time walking through the mud and getting our boots stuck just to plant a tiny little tree. We had a lot of extra steps to make sure the tree would stand in the mud and would grow when the ground dried up.
Now, I realize that we often find ourselves walking through mud in life, and the ground we walk on will sometimes try to swallow us up, but, if we keep pushing through the mud, it’s possible to plant something that can grow into a beautiful thing if you treat it with care and attention.
Q: What were your favorite 4-H projects?
4-H Expressive Arts provided a platform for me to do all the things I loved: dance, make music, perform, and create art. A lot of people I was around threw judgment and labels at me. I was going to end up “feminine” from dancing, “poor” from music, a “typecast” actor, and so on and so on. 4-H Expressive Arts gave me a way to branch out and do what I wanted to do despite opposition.
Q: Fill in the blanks:
4-H taught me to . . . be a leader and a giver.
4-H taught me to stop . . . being mediocre. Being a part of 4-H taught me how to give and be a leader, which makes a person move toward greatness. I gave back to my community and gave speeches, got Congressional medals, and connected to hundreds and hundreds of people. On weekends in my free time, I was at soup kitchens, playing concerts, or on the road to Club Congress instead of sitting around watching TV.
Because of 4-H . . . I often find myself equipped to grab opportunities that come my way and handle them professionally and with integrity.
If I hadn’t been in 4-H . . . I honestly don’t know where I would be today. I actually went to college on a scholarship that I was granted due to my involvement with 4-H, which led to me living in Hollywood today.
Q: Why should young people join 4-H?
There are so many reasons why kids should join 4-H! Right now, I am living out my dreams in Los Angeles, currently achieving many of the seemingly “impossible” goals I set for myself, and I am setting new goals and climbing higher. I would not be here if it wasn’t for 4-H. I did not have a blueprint when I started chasing my dreams, but 4-H helped me figure out how to go without a blueprint. 4-H is a place where you will find support and encouragement and where you will learn how to be something greater in life.
Q: Who influenced you the most in 4-H?
Grenada County Extension agent Jan Walton is an example of someone who is truly dedicated to her community. She is a leader with a heart for serving others, especially those in need. I have watched Jan influence the lives of countless youth in my community, including my own. To this day, she still fully supports me and what I am trying to do in life.
Clark is an experienced entertainer, artistic director, producer, actor, and dancer who now lives in North Hollywood, California. He has been featured in several films, including Pitch Perfect 2 and The Maze Runner, among others.