The 4-H program leads queen on path to costume design career
LINCOLN, Neb. – While still in high school, Cami Huebert desperately wanted to go to a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Big Red 4-H Camp.
But she didn’t have the finances required to register. To raise enough money to go, Huebert decided to use her life’s passion.
Huebert, now 19 and a freshman at Central Community College in Grand Island, said she held a fashion show fundraiser at a local church and had her friends model costumes. Huebert then told stories about each costume as they were modeled. The costumes were designed and sewn by Huebert, who had learned to sew while in 4-H.
“Any excuse to sew, Cami can find it,” said Kae Russell, 4-H program manager at Hamilton County Extension. “She doesn’t leave a stone unturned when it comes to opportunities like that.”
The event went off without a hitch, and Huebert, who was named 2008 Hamilton County 4-H Queen, raised more than two times the amount she needed.
Throughout her 4-H career, Huebert, who is from a small farm east of Hampton, has shown she is more than capable. She began taking part in 4-H when she was 9 and has loved every minute of it.
“I had a lot of fun,” Huebert said. “I love sewing, and I knew it was going to help me later on. I wouldn’t be as good at sewing now and I’ve gotten a lot of friends because of 4-H.”
Huebert wasn’t always a talented seamstress. Russell said Huebert began 4-H with an interest in gardening and photography. But Huebert soon discovered that she had a rare gift.
“4-H helped me figure out I had a talent for sewing and costuming,” she said. “I could turn my 4-H learning into a profession. I didn’t have to just do a job. I could do something I loved.”
This year Huebert was named 4-H Queen. She took part in a parade and handed out 4-H awards to recipients from her county.
“It’s cool that they thought I deserved it and that I was qualified,” Huebert said.
Even in this instance, she used her skill. She said the convertible she rode in for the parade was too fancy for a 4-H T-shirt and jeans. So she sewed a green dress to match 4-H colors and wore that in the parade.
After finishing at CCC, she plans to transfer to UNL or Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., and receive a degree in costume design. She said she hopes to make a career out of designing costumes for plays or movies.
“Anything that involves sewing costumes is my dream job,” Huebert said.
Russell, for one, is going to miss Huebert’s presence in 4-H as Huebert transitions out as a club member.
“She’s a great promoter of 4-H,” she said. “We’re thrilled to have her, and it’s going to be sad when she’s too old for us (to be a club member).”
Russell said she wouldn’t be surprised if Huebert later came back to volunteer for 4-H. She said Huebert has been the epitome of how 4-H can affect a person positively.
“I can’t express enough what a great all around person Cami is,” Russell said. “Every aspect that she comes across in her life, she tries to use it to benefit her community and her club. She has no idea how terrific she is.”
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