Written by cycleguy on July 13th, 2014

I mentioned in this post that Jo & I went to the local County Fair. We went three straight nights so we were “faired out” by late Thursday. One of our young ladies gave a speech at the Fair and after listening to it via Jo’s FB account, I wanted to share it with you. Her name is Kelci Wood, a 13 year old at Owen Valley Middle School. She won Grand Champion in her division and Reserve Grand Champion overall. She had 3 champion hogs, one 3rd place hog and a 1st on her Holstein cow. She also received Grand Champion modeling her consumer clothing, with Reserve Grand Champion on both her consumer clothing notebook and religion poster. Her consumer clothing will go to the state fair as well. She is representing Owen County at the State Fair in August where she will give her speech again. She was beaten by a Senior in the speech so she received Reserved Grand Champion with a special mention from the judge. Here is her speech:

I challenge you, as an audience, to think of someone you know of who has made an impact on this world. (Pause)

People such as Mahatma Ghandi or Martin Luther King, Jr. might have crossed your mind but what about someone like Adolf Hitler who unfortunately impacted the world in a negative way?

My name is Kelci Wood and public speaking is one of my favorite projects so let’s talk about speeches in general. Ghandi, King, and Hitler all gave speeches. These speeches were made to persuade the masses of their own perceived truths. This spring, I was fortunate enough to attend a function with speeches given by Jerry Falwell, Jr. and the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal. Locally, I got to hear Medal of Honor recipient, Sammy Davis, speak twice. Also recently, my father had me watch a speech by Admiral William H. McRaven. All of these men had important messages to give but if their speeches would have been horrible, no one would have listened.

I learned a lot from each of these speeches. In particular, Admiral McRaven’s speech spoke to me personally. He expressed in the commencement speech to the University of Texas graduates the 10 factors needed if you want to change the world. I feel these are important enough to repeat today.

1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed every day. By doing this, you have accomplished at least 1 task a day and hopefully most days that will be the 1st of many accomplishments.

My Dad thinks I should make my bed every day because of McRaven’s speech.

2. Find someone who will help you paddle. You cannot change the world alone.

In 4H, we are surrounded by people to help. You cannot have a club by yourself. You cannot have a fair with just one person. Therefore, you cannot have 4H without a group of people to paddle the boat.

3. Meter a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their feet and flippers.

I am a swimmer so I understand the flipper part well. Not just in swimming but many times, someone with heart will succeed over someone who may be good at the task initially or possibly stronger.

4. Push forward even if you do not like the task at hand. Many times, I have to shovel the pig pens. I do not like it but it has to be done!

5. Realize you will fail.

Last year, I failed by misreading the public speaking time limits, but I learned from that. We will all fail in 4H, in school, and in our lives but we have to overcome those failures and learn from them.

6. Sometimes you have to slide down obstacles head first!

This is coming from an Admiral who was a Navy Seal. Obviously, most of us will not have to slide down obstacles head first in our lifetime, but in order to make a difference, we might have to go out on a limb and it might seem scary!

7. Don’t back down!

There will always be people telling you that your ideas won’t work or you are not good enough. Don’t listen. Just keep SWIMMING!

8. You must be your very best in the darkest moments.

As many adults in this room can attest to, not every moment in our lives are going to be full of sunshine. We have to learn to overcome in the dark moments as well.

9. Believe in the power of HOPE!


10. Don’t EVER give up!

4h teaches us many of the points that McRaven touched on in his speech and that is why I have shared with you today.  His speech ended up being shared all over the world because of modern day technology and will end up making an impact on many young people’s lives.

On a smaller scale, 4H allows us to make an impact on younger youth and in our community. Thank you!

I know this post is longer than normal, but I THINK IT IS WORTH IT! Well done Kelci. You know you will have at least one member outside your immediate family rooting for your trip to the state. 🙂 I made no changes except a few grammatical ones and spacing to fit the blog.

What do you think?


23 Comments so far ↓

  1. Daniel says:

    This was wonderful and inspiring and fully of truthy goodness. Bravo to that young lady.

  2. Proud Mom says:

    My favorite blog post yet :).

    Thanks for sharing! I never dreamed that this speech would touch so many people. Not only through your blog but just at the fair in general. I had several people tell me that they have made an effort to make their bed since hearing Kelci’s speech (including your wife).

    Once upon a time, I wondered what my purpose was on this earth and what exactly God wanted me to do. I have discovered that God blessed me with three wonderful children and I was put here to raise them. Kelci is my first born and I have always said that she is special. She has always known the Lord in a special way and had an understanding of his expectations that most adults do not even grasp. I am blessed that God chose me to be her mother and love being on this ride to see where she is going and how she will serve Him along the way. She has high goals and I do believe she will obtain most of them because of her drive and determination.

    Next month, I will get to be the proud mom in the audience when this speech reaches many more people. Who knows…maybe it will even be heard by McRaven himself one day:).

    Thank you and God Bless!

    • cycleguy says:

      Your only blog post yet? 🙂 Thanks for commenting Jacci. I wish there was a way to also include Katie and Eli in this, but maybe another time. Kelci is a neat young lady and I look for God to do amazing things through her. She has a good mom and dad behind her as well. That would be fantastic to know McRaven heard it. What an honor that would be.

  3. jeff says:

    I liked it. Nice tie in to her thoughts about 4H. This is one of those “Pride is a good thing” moments so go ahead and be proud Mom and Dad and whomever else has been paddling with her.

  4. What a girl, learning these lessons at such an early age.

  5. Ryan says:

    WOW, literally brought me to tears. A 13 year old gets what so many adults fail to recognize or desperately need reminded of. I needed this today and will be sharing with my family as well.

  6. floyd says:

    I think there’s hope for the next generation. That girl’s got it. Thanks for sharing, Bill.

  7. Andy says:

    Well, I sent Admiral McRaven a email last night, he replied less than 8 hours later and wants to write kelci a letter and send her a commanders coin. What a man of character. The Top Seal and Special Operator in the military wants to send my daughter a letter!! Very happy.

    • cycleguy says:

      Good thing you don’t wear button down shirts Andy. They would all be gone! Quite an honor. I would love for him to comment here. 🙂

  8. Dan Erickson says:

    Push forward and don’t back down. Good stuff!

  9. Caleb Suko says:

    Sounds like a great speech from a 13 yr old. My favorite point is “You must be your very best in the darkest moments”. There’s lots of wisdom in that!

  10. Debbie says:

    What an inspirational young lady! Thanks for sharing her with us!

  11. Eileen says:

    Great speech. Love all the points but especially #9. The power of Hope. There’s nothing else like it.

  12. Love it! Good reminders for all of us. Thanks Bill.