Lisa Hinton has been involved with 4-H her entire life, first as a 4-H member, then as a volunteer and agribusiness manager for the Florida State Fair.
During her 10 years as a 4-H member, Hinton won several 4-H awards including the Danforth Leadership Award, State Dairy Foods Project Award Winner and State Agriculture Demonstration Winner.
As a 4-H member, she helped organized the first Florida State 4-H Legislature, which has helped thousands of 4-H members learn how government operates and develop leadership and public speaking skills. She was a member of the State 4-H Livestock Judging Team and attended National 4-H Congress.
When asked what she felt she gained from her time in 4-H, Hinton said, “The ability to speak in front of people is definitely one of the biggest benefits I gained from being in 4-H. It also helped me develop leadership skills and provided an opportunity for me to meet and work with other young people across the United States. It has been a very rich experience for me.”
While working as fair manager for the Florida State Fair, Hinton was instrumental in revolutionizing the state fair experience for 4-H members and made the fair a strong ambassador for agriculture, not an afterthought.
“Lisa played a pivotal role changing the youth programs at the Florida State Fair, focusing on education in addition to the traditional animal programs through the Champion Animals and Champion Youth Program. This program has impacted thousands of young people,” said one of Hinton’s associates with at the Florida State Fair.
The top winners in each of the fair’s eight livestock shows receive savings bonds and they compete in the Champion of Champions final event, where they demonstrate knowledge of all eight livestock species at interactive “skillathon” stations.
“The program is a tool for teaching young people responsibility and record-keeping,” said Hinton in 2000 after the program was three years old. Of course, said Hinton, there was some controversy about eliminating the long-established livestock auction, but Hinton said the changes have added educational value to the fair and provided a way for more youth to be successful.
As fair manager, Hinton worked with the state 4-H staff to coordinate contests at the fair. She coordinated the State 4-H Livestock Contest and Awards Banquet, the State 4-H Horse Judging Contest and Banquet, the State 4-H Poultry Judging Contest, the State 4-H Dairy Judging Contest, and the State 4-H Dog Show.
"There is no doubt that 4-H formed the foundation of many of the skills and values that I use today as a professional,” said Hinton. “4-H taught me skills that I use every day of my life and I want to provide these opportunities to other young people. They need positive experiences and opportunities to belong.”
While no longer managing the Florida State Fair, Hinton is always thinking of ways to involve 4-H members in experiential learning on both a county and state level.
Hinton has served on the Hillsborough County 4-H Advisory Committee and on the county 4-H Special Day Camp committee. She also works with the media and local TV stations to generate news media coverage for 4-H events. She helps judge many events and activities throughout the county.
Hinton has also been a vital member of the Hillsborough County Ag-Venture Committee and was instrumental in expanding the program so that it is now offered twice a year.