From Farm Queen to financial adviser -- an easy transition for BeckyLynch.
A graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Lynch said she pursued her degree in agricultural economics becauseshe wanted to combine her interest in finances with her background in farming.
"I've always been interested in the financial industry and I've always enjoyed my farming background and wanted to keep that exposure," Lynch, a Westminster resident, said. "I can keep my farm roots and still have a lot of city exposure."
Employed as a financial planner with Fusco and a registered representative and agent for the Equitable Companies, Lynch said she feels her integrity and her investment style has helped her gain countians -- particularly farmers -- as clients.
But the 1991 Volunteer Rookie of the Year and native of Uniontown said the self-esteem and confidence she needed to succeed in her profession came from 4-H.
The Rookie of the Year Award is given to an adult volunteer who has worked with Carroll's clubs for less than an year.
To be chosen by a panel of students on the AchievementBanquet Committee, the adult must show he or she has worked on projects benefiting the entire 4-H program and has helped with activities inside and outside of Carroll.
"I do a lot of seminars and the public speaking skills I got were not from school, but 4-H," Lynch, a graduate of Francis Scott Key, said. "A lot of my self-esteem and self-respect came from the awards and recognitions that I worked hard for."
In addition to being Maryland Farm Queen -- a title that Taneytown resident Jenell Rinehart now owns -- Lynch was the state winner for sheep in 1982, one of several awards she earned that year.
"It'sreally a tremendous development program," she said. "You gain an awful lot of experience and exposure by taking a project and working on it as your very own."
Lynch said that since she gained so much from 4-H, she now wants to help young people in the program with their projects.
"I just enjoy working with the kids," she said. "School doesn't always teach you the practical side of life -- the social side, the day-to-day useful things that you use in college or if you go on to another job."
Lynch said she really is impressed with what the students complete on their own. For example, Kimberly Baile -- who died in a car accident last May -- had completed a technical study ofa horse's vision and was expected to compete at the state level thisfall.
"She described that what the horse sees is a different angle of vision from the rider's, and what the horse picks up is different from what Kim as the rider would see," Lynch said.
"Kim said this helped her understand why the horse spooked sometimes, and this helped her guide the horse through the jump courses.
"It's really gratifying to work with the kids and see the type of work they can produce on their own."
In fact, volunteers are what make the 4-H program successful, Lynch said.
"Bob (Shirley) does a tremendous amount of programs as an extension agent, but he needs volunteers to help," she said. "What builds self-respect and esteem is doing something on your own and your own accomplishments."