Hope Morris loves her life.
An outgoing and active member of her community, Morris was a member of the Timberland High School Class of 2014 and plans to attend Clemson University in the fall to major in Agricultural Education.
Her future shines bright, like the first star at night, and she owes a great deal of that future to the Berkeley County 4H Horse-N-Around Club.
An eight-year member, Morris has held the offices of Historian, Secretary and President.
“4H has made such a large impact in my life,” she said. “I have been able to experience so many things that I would have never been able to do if I would not have joined 4H.”
Those opportunities included raising and showing her own chickens, competing in the dairy bowl, and taking part in a recycling project. She has also learned about crop production, judged horse contests and was a leader in her community, all because of 4H.
“The beauty of 4H is all that it has to offer,” she said. “Literally anything a child is interested in they can pursue. The organization is so welcoming regardless of interest and it allows a young person to blossom into a caring, passionate, well-rounded individual.”
Some of the experiences that have left a lasting impact on Morris have been the national trips, the community outreach programs and the young people following in her footsteps she was able to impact.
“My national trips, one to Washington D.C. and another to Atlanta, revealed to me the grand scale of 4H and how big of an organization it really is,” she said. “By pairing up with people from other states and countries I gained the ability to communicate with people globally while also having a respect for different cultures, beliefs, nationalities, and religions.
“Having the opportunity to reach out to so many people/organizations in the community was also a large honor.”
Organizations such as Fields to Families, H.O.P.E. Acres, Relay for Life, and the United States military have helped Morris expand her exposure to the world. “From picking up trash after a rodeo to building lasagna beds for crops to be grown I have done it all and am very humbled by the people’s lives I have been able to touch,” Morris said.
Morris is also active in her community. She gives riding lessons, sings lead in her praise band at her church, assists leading the youth praise band and is working as a veterinarian assistant at Lakeside Animal Hospital.
Morris helped organized community service projects such as the Roscoe Reading Program and Fields to Families, and donated items for the military troops overseas.
But her passion is barrel racing where she races her best friend “Dance,” and takes great pride in making the horse into the barrel horse she always knew he could be. Morris shows the horse on the NBHA circuit and has shown at the State 4H Horse Show and at the 4H Regionals show.
In 2013, Morris qualified for the National Barrel Horse Association World Finals and finished in her district with runs in the 1D division.
“I love to ride,” she said. “I entered 4H with little knowledge about horses or riding. By joining my club my eagerness to learn was fed and I began to further my knowledge.
“Through horse judging, pure experience, and a ton of genuinely kind people, I am the rider that I am today. I joined NBHA to partake in more riding.
“With much practicing I became increasingly better until one year I placed in the end of year points and qualified for the world championships.
“This year was no different except for the fact that I double qualified. The amazing part is that it was all on one horse, my horse, Dance.
Morris considers her relationship with her horse a special one.
“I take so much pride in him because I taught him most of everything he knows,” she said. “He runs with his full heart while listening to my every cue. I am honored to be his partner and would never have it any other way, even if he does get a little excited every now and then.”
While Morris may be leaving 4H behind when she heads to Clemson in the fall, she said 4H will always remain a large part of her life.
“My life revolves around 4H,” Morris said. “It has developed me into a stronger leader, equipped me with the knowledge I will need for years to come, supported me with the unforgettable experiences, and as a result, I am a well-rounded individual. I will make the best better, and I will never forget what 4H has done for me.”