The Davidsons Oklahoma 4-H Foundation Donor Spotlight

Many alumni credit 4-H for developing life skills, career preparedness and lasting friendships. For Jered and Lindsey Davidson, involvement in 4-H not only led them to a lifelong passion for the organization, but also lifelong partners in marriage.

Both fourth generation 4-H members, Jered and Lindsey have bled green since the beginning. Although growing up they were both heavily involved in other activities such as athletics, band and other youth organizations, it was the Oklahoma 4-H program that brought them together.

The couple both remember the excitement the felt when they finally were old enough to become official 4-H members.

“On my 9th birthday, I filled out my enrollment form at the county Extension office,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey, a nine-year Osage County 4-H alumna, said the 4-H tradition runs deep in her family. She and her family spent countless hours traveling the state participating in various 4-H activities, ranging from livestock shows to speech contests. In addition to showing livestock, she was active in the areas of food science, public speaking and leadership, and was named a state project winner in food science and advanced achievement.

Jered also had an exemplary 4-H career. A Caddo County 4-H alumnus, Jered spent his 10-year 4-H career involved in the conservation of natural resources project area. He wrapped up his 4-H career in 2006 by serving a term as state 4-H president and being inducted into the Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame.

Reflecting on his time in 4-H, Jered said the organization was instrumental in teaching him the importance of empathy and being a lifelong learner, providing avenues to meet new people, exploring new ideas and getting outside his comfort zone.

As 4-H members, Jered and Lindsey attended several state and national events, including Citizenship Washington Focus, Kansas City Global Conference and National 4-H Congress. However, one special event stands out as the beginning of their love story.

In 2002, Jered and Lindsey attended State 4-H Club Congress, a three-day event focused on learning citizenship and state government. Jered was part of the State 4-H Ambassador welcome team when Lindsey’s mom dropped her off to check in.

“With my luggage in tow, Jered helped me with my bags and opened the door,” Lindsey said. “For me, it was love at first sight. My mom picked me up from the conference two days later and I told her I found the guy I was going to marry one day.”

At the end of the event, a smitten Lindsey convinced Jered to take a picture with her. Today, Lindsey said she still has that picture framed on her nightstand.

Their chance encounter at State 4-H Club Congress blossomed into a great friendship, Jered said, and the two remained close friends throughout the duration of their 4-H careers. Jered explained how progression through various 4-H leadership roles often led to spending more time with his cohorts at meetings and activities, and he was admirable of Lindsey’s motivation and dedication to the 4-H program.

“I was always attracted to Lindsey’s constant energy and enthusiasm for life and her 4-H work,” he said. “She was an extremely hard worker.”

After several years of staying “just friends,” the pair went on their first date after State 4-H Roundup in 2006, setting the stage for many future dates to come.

Jered and Lindsey attended Oklahoma State University, where they majored in agricultural economics and agricultural leadership, respectively. Jered went on to earn a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oklahoma and began working as an attorney at The Public Finance Law Group PLLC.

Lindsey also obtained a master’s of agriculture from OSU and now serves as the social media communications coordinator for OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Although her future career path in communications was something she did not anticipate as a young 4-H member, Lindsey said her 4-H experiences prepared her to be successful professionally.

“There are many things I am thankful for when it comes to skills that 4-H has provided me over the years,” she said. “Being able to communicate clearly and effectively is something I use each and every day. Learning public speaking at a young age by participating in speeches and demonstrations prepared me for my future.”

Eleven years after that State 4-H Club Congress, Lindsey’s prediction came true when the pair married in 2013. Jointly, they agreed that remaining close to the 4-H organization as supporters was a top priority as they started their lives together.

“Our position in the 4-H program has shifted, we are on the other side of positive youth development — as adults,” Lindsey said. “We like to volunteer and give back whenever we have the chance to do so. It's important for kids today to have the same opportunities that we enjoyed and grew from.”

Jered said it was never a question whether he would support the organization that shaped much of who he is today. He said the adults who played influential roles in his 4-H career inspired him to give back, and he aims to pass along that inspiration to current and future members.

“When a youth member makes the transition from wanting to win or hold an office for the title to ‘This is the platform I have been given, how can I help?’ is what defines a successful 4-H career,” Jered said. “I want to make sure youth continue to have that opportunity for generations to come.”

In addition to their monetary support of the 4-H program, the Davidsons have stayed involved by offering training workshops at 4-H leadership retreats, emceeing State 4-H Honor Night Assembly and lending a helping hand to members across the state. Jered also currently serves as vice president of the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation Board of Directors.

Jered’s 14-year tenure on the board of directors has been served with the purpose of reducing the financial responsibilities of 4-H members in leadership roles and increasing scholarship dollars for members attending national trips. He said it is important to provide youth with opportunities to have the life-changing experiences 4-H offers.

Looking toward the future, Jered said he hopes other 4-H supporters will consider joining the board of directors and encourages potential donors to contribute to Oklahoma 4-H Foundation.

“It does not take a $1,000 contribution to make a difference in the programs that can be delivered by the 4-H Foundation,” he said. “Even $5 or $10 a month, the cost of a cup of coffee a day, can change the life of one youth who receives the right programming.”

Jered and Lindsey said they will continue to be strong advocates for the 4-H organization.

“By participating in 4-H, doors are opened, minds are expanded and goals become a reality,” Lindsey said. “There are so many amazing things that this organization provides, one being a safe place to succeed and fail. This type of positive youth development is needed today more than ever.”

Photo credit: The Davidsons and L'Amour de Paris

Published 2019

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