4-H: Where Are They Now?

A man wearing a Jackson State University scarf and a navy suit jacket smiles in front of a sculpture on the JSU campus.

Eric Hunter, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Operations Manager of Environmental Services

Story by Rhiannon Page • Photo by J3 Photography

Hinds County native Eric Hunter is using the skills and networks he developed in 4-H to succeed as operations manager of environmental services at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He applies time management and organizational skills to stay focused and prepared for his duties. His 4-H experiences also help Hunter mentor and encourage young people.

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4-H taught me...

Just because life is not going the way you expected doesn’t mean you won’t reach your goals. I remember we had these greenhouses, and I always said, “That’s not going to work. You can’t change the weather—it’s still going to be hot.” When the plants successfully grew in the greenhouse, I knew I was wrong. What I learned from that is, no matter what situation you are in, you can always dictate your future.

Because of 4-H...

I have learned a lot about planning and organizing. I have learned about time management, like after studying or working hard, you should take a break before going back to it. I have also learned about decision-making, which is very important in the hospital.

If I hadn’t been in 4-H...

I would’ve never seen life grow, which gave me the encouragement to keep fighting no matter what environment I am in.

What was your favorite activity, and why?

Planting. I got to see something grow from start to finish no matter the obstacle, including the weather, terrain, and seed.

What do you wish people knew about 4-H?

The places it can take you, the lessons you learn, the opportunities you experience, and the lifelong friends you make. Just the way you can build something and be proud of it.

How are you still making the best better?

One of the ways I am making the best better is through mentorship. I am actively showing the next—and possibly the greatest—generation different ways of dealing with triumph and adversity. I’m encouraging them to take advantage of opportunities available to them, like 4-H, that can help propel them to higher heights if they remain focused and persistent in life. Another way I have continued to make the best better is by reaching back in my community and coaching little league football. It is my hope to influence those young players to become great men and all-around great people by teaching them about football and about real life in a positive way.

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