Magge Gilbert

Magge Gilbert

2021 Amazing Kids - Clackamas Review - Clackamas County
Age: 17
School: Alliance Charter Academy
Hometown: West Linn
Why she is Amazing: Gilbert has led the Muttsketeers dog club to make a difference throughout Clackamas County, even without in-person meetings.

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During the past year, Magge Gilbert adapted to virtual platforms while leading regional dog shows through 4-H.

“Never did I think our main source of connection as a 4-H community would be through an app called Zoom,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert has been a member of Clackamas County 4-H for 10 years, beginning in the rabbit project and then branching out into leading the dog project. Along the way, she’s also participated in photography and art projects.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said she often thought to herself, “Why is this happening?” But she soon realized that it was not the time for questions, but actions.

“I had to do something. I did not want the youth in my 4-H clubs to feel alone during quarantine so I started to make educational videos for my dog club, Muttsketeers,” she said.

Gilbert’s videos required lots of preparation because she had to make sure to use dogs that were able to represent sound teaching examples. After many retakes, she edited a video and submitted it to her 4-H dog club leader. Now, some of Gilbert’s videos can be located on the Clackamas County 4-H Dog Project Resources list.

Although in-person 4-H meetings and events have been shut down due to pandemic restrictions, that doesn’t mean Gilbert was any less involved. In addition to making training videos, she created a virtual graduation ceremony for 4-H seniors, studied for dog competitions online with friends and brainstormed ways to promote 4-H using technology with the Clackamas County 4-H Ambassador Team. “I feel as though I have been busier in the last 4-H year because I have had to learn how to adapt in a time where technology is the main source of connection that is keeping the 4-H community and many others alive,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert had to use more critical thinking this past year to figure out how to do community service, both in 4-H and out of 4-H. It required her to think deeper to come up with ideas about how to serve the community during the pandemic as a 4-H club and as an individual. Through online meetings, Gilbert led the Muttsketeers to shop online for Adopt a Family during the Christmas season.

“We also wrote thank you letters to health care workers,” she said. “I was able to assist my church community by stringing up lights on the trees outside, which I discovered was a lot harder than it appeared, but it was worth it. I was grateful to be able to help light up the church. We hoped it would bring smiles to others while they drove by at night since our church was shut down at the time due to the pandemic.”

In her early years in 4-H, Gilbert said she took every opportunity to hide from other club members. “It would be an understatement to say I was shy,” she said. “I did take small steps along the way, like developing a firm handshake and looking the judge in the eyes during rabbit shows.”

When she joined the Muttsketeers five years later, her introverted side and self-esteem radically changed. Gilbert’s older sister Morgan signed her up to be a representative at the Multnomah County Pet Ambassador Certification Program, but didn’t tell Magge that she would be required to give a demonstration and an educational speech regarding dog obedience and showmanship in addition to the care a dog needs.

“Of course, I was a little frustrated at the time considering my public speaking abilities, but I couldn’t be more grateful now,” Gilbert said. “I found that I really enjoyed speaking to the youth and it will forever be a memory with me because it completely changed my attitude towards public speaking and leadership.”

Since then, Gilbert started taking on more challenging roles, such as treasurer, then vice-president to two clubs. Using only spray paint, she volunteered to repaint the Clackamas County Rodeo arena rails.

Outside of 4-H and when not studying for school, Gilbert enjoys Bible studies, dancing, bonding with animals, exploring the outdoors, volunteering at her church, and spending time with family and friends.