You are here: Home / Division News / 2016 / Murray County 4-H’er inducted into Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame

Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Murray County 4-H’er inducted into Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame

STILLWATER, Okla. – Throughout his 10-year 4-H career, Steven Baringer set goals for himself. While he has been quite successful in this youth organization, there was one goal he did not achieve – that of being selected to serve as a State 4-H Ambassador.

However, that defeat helped lead the young man from Sulphur down a path to even greater things in the Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development Program.

It was somewhere along this new path where he was set on a course dedicated to leadership. During the next five years he served in leadership roles in the Southeast District and at the state level. It was during this time he set two lofty goals for himself. His first goal was to become president of the State 4-H Leadership Council, the first from Murray County since 1974. Baringer achieved that goal in July 2015 when he was handed the gavel following a run-off election at the 94th State 4-H Roundup.

The second goal he set for himself, being inducted into the Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame, became a reality during the 95th State 4-H Roundup that took place recently at Oklahoma State University.

“After 10 humbling years in this organization, this is the one thing that was left on my ‘4-H Bucket List.’ This is something I wanted for my legacy in 4-H,” Baringer said. “I want 4-H members to know a self-conscious child from a small county can make a difference, not just for himself, but for the future of Oklahoma 4-H.”

If there is something to be said of Baringer, it is the fact he made a difference. When he was elected president of the State 4-H Leadership Council last year, he set a goal to be one of the few presidents to visit all 77 counties in Oklahoma. Nearly 20,000 miles and many gallons of gas later, he accomplished his goal before leaving office.

“Visiting all 77 counties seems like an intangible goal to most, but I knew I could do it. I felt obligated to get out and not only meet, but interact with the youth of Oklahoma I represent,” he said. “By conducting these visits, participating in county camps and going to local club meetings, I learned a lot of things. These county visits gave me the encouragement and fuel for my term. Hearing younger members saying I was like an older brother they always wanted, mothers telling me I inspire their children, and seeing the passion for this organization sparkle in someone’s eye as it did for me when I was that age – that’s why I did it.”

John Holman, 4-H Youth Development Extension educator in Murray County, said Baringer is a great example of how Oklahoma 4-H offers determined young people opportunity to move forward with their life dream.

“Steven Baringer is one of the most focused young men I’ve met in a long time,” Holman said. “He knows where he wants to go in life, and possesses an admirable ‘fire’ or determination to get there. He has a unique ability to energize a following.”

Baringer had many positive experiences throughout his 4-H career that will have a lasting effect. While serving his terms as Southeast District president and recreation leader for the State Leadership Council, he compiled a district and state song book.

“It’s important to document not only the songs, but traditions of today so they will be preserved for future generations of 4-H members,” he said. “When my children are in 4-H, I hope they’re still singing ‘Hey Burrito.’”

Always one dedicated to serving others, Baringer took an active role at the Oklahoma Veterans Center/Department of Affairs in his hometown. The center is home to more than 120 men and women who have served this country in the military. He has completed projects with these veterans that include the annual Flag Day Program, grilling steaks for meals, preparing cobblers for evening desserts and playing bingo.

“These activities play a big part in the lives of those veterans who live at the center,” he said. 

Community service has always been a top priority for Baringer. He was instrumental in raising funds to buy formula for babies in Africa. Together with his mom Toni, the pair applied for a $2,500 grant and purchased box fans for the two senior citizen centers in town. Part of the grant also purchased items for the veterans, as well as helped the Davis Animal Shelter.

Serving in a leadership role has played a major part of Baringer’s 4-H experience. He has served as district vice president and president, as well as state recreation leader, state vice president and just completed his term as president.

He is a member of Key Club and has served as a delegate to National 4-H Congress. He also was named a finalist for the food science state record book.

“My time as a 4-H’er is over, but I’ll never be done with the program,” Baringer said. “I plan on supporting it as a volunteer and will for my entire life.” 

Holman said Murray County is honored by Baringer’s accomplishments.

“Steven came up through the county 4-H program, primarily under the direction of long-time Extension educator Debbie Sharp,” Holman said. “I believe Steven would say she has been an amazing blessing in his life.”

Holman said he also admires the fact Steven has a habit of looking back and saying thank you to those individuals who have helped him along the way.

He is the son of Toni Baringer and a 2015 graduate of Sulphur High School. He is starting his second year at OSU and majoring in agricultural communications. Baringer also will be serving as a Student Academic Mentor for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, as well as a community mentor for Residential Life.

 ###

Cutline Information: Murray County 4-H’er Steven Baringer was inducted into the Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame during the 95th State 4-H Roundup that took place recently at Oklahoma State University. He is pictured with his mother, Toni Baringer. Mike Schrammel, right, is representing Farm Credit Services of Oklahoma, the organization that sponsors the $2,500 scholarship Hall of Fame inductees receive. (Photo by Todd Johnson, Agricultural Communications Services)

All Roundup photos are available at http://kitchensink.photoshelter.com/gallery-collection/2016-4-H-RoundUp/C0000Azd9h2E1mGU

Trisha Gedon
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
Oklahoma State University
136 Agriculture North
Stillwater, OK  74078
405-744-3625 (phone)
405-744-5739 (fax)
trisha.gedon@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078
405.744.5000