COLUMBIA, Mo. – A 12-year member of the Rockford Rebels 4-H Club was named the new State 4-H Council president at the recent 4-H Congress in Columbia.
Laura Bardot, a sophomore at the University of Missouri, hails from Lonedell, a Franklin County town so small that it doesn’t have its own population sign. A graduate of St. Clair High School, she studies science and agricultural journalism and animal sciences at MU.
She is vice president of Mizzou Collegiate 4-H and is leadership and communications assistant for Missouri 4-H. She manages social media pages for 4-H and serves as a key communicator for the organization. Bardot hopes to work in public relations for a livestock commodity group when she graduates. She also wants to mentor youth through programs such as 4-H and FFA.
“The best part of 4-H is how it helps you find a passion and allows you to soar to great heights in life,” Bardot says. “For some, 4-H might be for only a small portion of their lives and for others it might be for their whole life, but any way it is, you can say you were part of the largest youth development program in the nation.”
Bardot is the daughter of Roger and Wendy Bardot of Lonedell. She grew up on Bardot Family Farm, a commercial cow-calf operation. The Bardots also operate a laying hen operation and sell eggs at the St. Clair Route 66 Farmers Market. Her older sister, Emily Bardot, is an agriculture education teacher in Oklahoma who is marrying another agriculture education teacher in June. Another sister, Rachel, recently graduated from MU with an animal sciences degree.
Other officers include Greg Vangunda, Seneca, vice president; Anna Roth, Altenburg, secretary; Jensen Mayes, Lathrop, treasurer; Russell Mitchell, Paris, 4-H Foundation trustee; Alex Engeman, Montrose, state extension council liaison; Jennifer Mosbrucker, Nevada, county youth liaison coordinator; and Jacob Boeglin, Seneca, Kids Helping Kids coordinator.
Bardot was elected president at the recent 70th annual State Congress, attended by 225 youth, on the MU campus. She is one of few female presidents in the council’s history.
State 4-H Congress delegates also elect 36 peers to represent them on the state’s 4-H council for the coming year. This council works with faculty from MU and Lincoln University to provide a youth voice in the continued development of Missouri 4-H programs.
4-H is a program of MU Extension. More than 22,000 Missouri youth participate in 4-H clubs. Missouri 4-H programs reached more than 206,000 youth in 2014.
Research shows youth involved with 4-H are more likely to pursue careers in science, excel in leadership, have higher educational goals, and embrace fewer unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol and tobacco use.