It’s been a good ride for 2019 Oak Harbor High School graduate Camden Miller.
For 10 years, beginning when she was in third grade, she worked with animals, mentored younger students and competed in Island County 4-H events.
For her tireless efforts, as well as her animal husbandry know-how and successes, Miller earned the title of “4-H’er of the Year.”
And this year, Miller proved she isn’t afraid to try something new.
“I started off showing horses. This year I switched to showing steers,” Miller said. “It’s definitely been super different and super interesting.”
For this first time in a long time, the 4-H veteran found herself doing “a lot of asking instead of showing.” She raised a young steer, Jimmy, from a 6-month-old calf into a large, muscular, healthy adult.
Tasty too, Miller hopes.
At the annual fair auction, if Jimmy makes weight, he will be up for sale alongside lamb and swine; bidders may purchase meat in quarters or halves.
“It’s a chance for the community to buy a part of what you worked on,” Miller said of the steer that she fed and walked daily since December.
“I was lucky enough to get a really calm steer. He hasn’t been too hard to deal with,” Miller said.
She grew up raising cows, so parting with Jimmy, the black Angus bovine, isn’t such sweet sorrow.
“They’re cute but they gotta go,” she said.
Jimmy and Miller will also be in several other classes at the fair, including showmanship and marketplace.
Miller is looking forward to experiencing the Whidbey Island Fair in a new way this year.
For the past nine years, she participated with horses, including Lena and Addie.
The transition in divisions was smooth, Miller said, due to the helpful community and friendliness of 4-H members.
Applying for the title of 4-H’er of the Year meant collecting letters of recommendation, writing a personal essay and taking part in an interview.
Miller’s interviewing skills in particular impressed the panel of judges, according to Youth Development 4-H Program Coordinator Cathi Mann-Fisher.
Additionally, Miller’s work mentoring younger students and knowledge in her projects made her the prime candidate for the title.
“She’s just been generally a very active young lady,” Mann-Fisher said. “She’s the type of person who makes everybody feel comfortable. She works great with everybody and is always good to lend a hand if you need help.”
Miller’s 4-H work over the years in the horse division lead to state competition every year she was involved. She placed top five in her classes, Miller said.
“She’s great with the animals, very gentle and good at handling them,” Mann-Fisher said. “She’s very respectful young lady. She cares about people and she’s just generally an all-around wonderful person.”
Mann-Fisher said she will miss Miller after she leaves for college at Whitworth University in Spokane.
For Miller, the best thing about her time in 4-H was the friends she made and the people she met throughout the year.
Perhaps someday after college, she will return to help out in 4-H once again, Miller said.