Garfield County’s Madison Nickels inducted into 4-H Hall of Fame
Monday, July 31, 2023
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Garfield County 4-H’er Madison Nickels believes the most important job as a leader is to inspire others. Through her 4-H project work and leadership roles in fabrics and fashions, breads, community service, and foods and nutrition, she has done just that.
The hard work and dedication Nickels devoted to her nine-year 4-H career culminated in a lifetime achievement recently when she was recognized as one of two Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame inductees. The honor is Oklahoma’s most prestigious 4-H award and was announced at the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma Honor Night Assembly during the 102nd State 4-H Roundup at Oklahoma State University. Nickels received a $5,000 scholarship sponsored by Farm Credit Associations of Oklahoma.
In addition, Nickels was awarded the $1,200 Rule of Law Graduating Senior Scholarship sponsored by the Rule of Law Endowment; the $3,000 NoBro Farms LLC Endowment; and the $2,000 Harold and Edith Shaw Memorial Ambassador Scholarship sponsored by the Shaw Family Endowment. She was also named a member of the Blue Award Group.
“4-H has helped me figure out my career plan,” Madison Nickels said. “It helped me recognize my passion for helping others, so I’ve decided to become a speech pathologist and help kids with their confidence.”
Supporting others has been a consistent theme throughout her 4-H career. Using the sewing skills that she learned from her mother and grandmother and further developed in 4-H, Nickels started a service project to help Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends cooling ties to military members to help them deal with the heat. As much as she enjoys sewing for herself, she loves sharing her talents through gifts for others.
“I loved the idea of supporting our troops, so I made a few cool ties. I quickly learned there could be a greater outcome if I enlisted the help of my fellow 4-H members from around the state,” she said. “We’ve made and sent 650 cool ties for Operation Gratitude, and I’ve started making paracord bracelets for troops as well.”
Sewing isn’t her only talent. Nickels enjoys cooking and baking, which runs in the family. Her great-grandmother owned a restaurant, and Nickels learned by watching her cook. She became the assistant — then head — noodle maker of the family. Her love of cooking inspired her to start a cooking club, and one of her favorite cooking projects is baking muffins for teachers to welcome them back to school each fall.
Nickels said her work in 4-H has helped her develop entrepreneurial skills to start her own business called Just Craftin’ Around. She sells items such as tissue holders and purses at craft shows and online. Never passing up an opportunity to promote 4-H, she wears a 4-H T-shirt each time she sets up a booth.
Nickels has taught 99 educational workshops, completed more than 700 hours of community service and held numerous officer positions at the local, county, district and state levels. She has served as a State 4-H Ambassador and a Healthy Living Ambassador as well as a delegate to National 4-H Congress, 4-H Day at the Capitol, Youth Legislative Experience, New Mexico Senior Leadership Conference, Health Rocks National Conference, Healthy Living Summit and State 4-H Roundup.
She has fun memories as a 4-H Cloverbud and became a co-leader of the Garfield County Cloverbuds later in her 4-H career. She currently serves as the Garfield County Cooking Club leader.
“One of my favorite activities was teaching them how to make a no-sew fleece scarf,” she said. “I enjoyed seeing how excited they were to show their parents what they made. They had the same pride I had when I completed my first item with my Nan.”
Jessica Nickels, Garfield County OSU Extension 4-H educator and Madison Nickels’ mother, said it has been exciting to watch her daughter grow over the years.
“Madison has compassion, resiliency, determination and leadership skills that are some of the qualities that make her Hall of Fame material. She’s very determined in everything she does,” Jessica Nickels said. “She is a great leader in our county, especially to younger 4-H members, and always is encouraging them to try new things.”
Cathleen Taylor, state leadership and civic engagement specialist with the state 4-H office and 4-H leadership team advisor, said civic engagement is a big part of 4-H programming, and Nickels truly understands this concept.
“She strives to live out the 4-H motto by giving back to others in ways such as her Operation Gratitude project,” Taylor said. “She’s working to help our service members and make the best better. Through her 4-H work, she has learned life skills, and I have no doubt that she will give back to 4-H.”
Throughout her years as a 4-H’er, Nickels said she has become more grateful for the experiences she’s had in the youth development organization. The life skills she has acquired, like public speaking, time management, leadership and organization, will serve her well in life.
“I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, what I taught others, and most importantly, how I served others during my 4-H career,” Madison Nickels said.
Nickels is the daughter of Jamie and Jessica Nickels and a graduate of Enid High School. She will attend OSU this fall.