Twins Grace and Peyton Fravel not only share similar DNA, but also an interest in 4-H that has lasted nearly 10 years.
When Peyton was 7 years old, he attended his first Cloverbud meeting, which would lead Grace to attend her first Cloverbud meeting at 8 years old.
“We have done pretty much everything together ever since I can remember,” Grace Fravel said. “4-H was something that allowed us to explore our individual interests, as well as many things we do together, like raising our animals.”
Run by Cooperative Extension, 4-H is the largest youth development organization in the United States and has allowed nearly 6 million students to complete hands-on projects in areas including health, science, agriculture and civic engagement, according to its website.
As 4-H members, the Broadway High School students show market animals at the Rockingham County Fair, attend various workshops and club meetings, participate in judging teams and work as camp counselors for the junior 4-H camp.
Grace Fravel serves as the vice president of the Port Republic 4-H club and is a 4-H youth representative on the hog committee for the Rockingham County Fair.
Peyton Fravel is a judge on the livestock and stockman’s 4-H judging team, the poultry judging team and cattle working team. He was also on the Interstate Exchange team from 2016-18 and is the 4-H youth representative for the livestock committee and market steer committee for the county fair.
Peyton Fravel, 17, said he has always enjoyed agriculture and saw becoming a 4-H member as a “great opportunity to get involved in a different aspect of it besides just farming.”
For Grace Fravel, 17, it sparked her interest because of her brother and older role models who were involved with 4-H.
“I soon realized the opportunities that 4-H offered within agriculture, which I am very interested in,” she said. “4-H also offers many things outside of agriculture, which is fun to be involved with as well.”
Grace Fravel said that by both participating in 4-H, it allowed them to support each other with their accomplishments.
“It’s great being able to share 4-H with my twin sister,” said Peyton Fravel. “It gives us time together to do something we both really enjoy.”
And while they have been able to share their experiences with one another, what they have taken away from 4-H is far different.
“When I started out in 4-H, I wasn’t very confident, and I had a hard time traveling at all for contests,” Peyton Fravel said. “Many people supported me through that and have helped me grow through it. Without 4-H and the great leaders I’ve had helping me along the way, I wouldn’t be able to do any public speaking, participate in contests or raise and show animals.”
Grace Fravel said being in 4-H was the beginning of her becoming a more outgoing person.
“I already had an interest in agriculture, but as I’ve grown in 4-H, it has helped me learn a lot more than maybe I would have otherwise,” Grace Fravel said. “It gave me the confidence to join FFA when I got to middle school, which eventually led to my success there as well.”
While participating in the program, Grace Fravel said, they keep record books on all of their animals that must be turned in at the end of each 4-H year. It helped her to learn record-keeping, managing finances, responsibility and overall accountability with her market animals.
“4-H means being a part of more than just a group. It means being part of your community to do great things,” she said. “I am able to better myself and be a role model for others. There are so many opportunities for me, and I am thankful to be a part of a great program like 4-H. It is truly an honor.”
They both said they would recommend joining 4-H to anyone they knew, even if they weren’t interested in agriculture.
“It’s nice to be dedicated to something that so many others are also,” Peyton Fravel said. “I hope to take my experiences into the future and to help others like I’ve been helped throughout the years. It gives me a feeling of pride to be part of a group that has been around for so long and that has touched so many lives.”