A chameleon to worldly communities

(CLACKAMAS COUNTY) — For many young teenagers, life is about getting to the next day and enjoying the ride along the way.

However, for one impressively motivated 15-year-old, life is about a journey to both understanding and servicing communities outside of their comfort zone, a deep and somewhat ironic notion given that West Linn Sophomore Ruby Fassett continues to grow up in the same West Linn home that her mother grew up in.

“My mom went to West Linn High School, too, and my grandparents live just a couple of blocks away,” Fassett said. “My family community is very much rooted in West Linn.”

While Fassett’s roots might be in West Linn, her and her family’s branches have made their way to many parts of the world. Not only did her parents serve in the Peace Corps in Bulgaria before Fassett was born, but they also took her and her younger sister to live in Uganda for an entire year when Fassett was in the fourth grade.

“We created a new community in Uganda, an experience that not a lot of people get to have and it really taught me a lot of things,” Fassett said. “In that time our parents homeschooled us but we had amazing lessons, like a professor from Duke University who was studying anthropology taught us geography and an artist taught us painting and sculpting.”

This one-year experience in Uganda no doubt prepared Ruby to understand the bigger picture in life. She noted that a community can mean many different things, from hobbies to geographical settings, which has intrigued her as to how much she could absorb by these communities and what they might be able to offer her.

“Right now I am in leadership at school,” Fassett said. “I like to be a part of what’s happening at the school and planning events. A lot of my ambitions come from my time with 4H, as I am really involved in a lot of leadership roles there. I am a state ambassador and a county ambassador.”

While Amazing Kids editors were immediately impressed with Ruby’s early accomplishments we were equally curious with her 4H involvement as well as how it has helped shaped her journey.

“4H is a national youth and development organization that has been going on for over 100 years, and it’s a lot more popular in rural communities,” says Ruby. “For example when you go to the county fairs and you see the animals, those are all animals owned and raised by 4H kids.”

Today, 4H empowers nearly six million youths in programs such as STEM, Agriculture, Healthy Living, and Civic Engagement, aiming to set up these children and young adults with resources and communities that will help them tap into their own potential and lead within areas of their interest.

“I initially started with Dog 4H, which was obedience and ability-related but then I branched out to other areas,” says Ruby. “4H is really accessible to anyone from ages 9-18. My dad actually grew up in Colorado doing a bunch of agricultural stuff with 4H which was sort of my introduction.”

Ruby’s involvement and dedication to 4H earned her a recent trip to Washington D.C. for a leadership conference, completely paid for by a grant that somebody donated to 4H.

“It was really amazing,” says Ruby. “We toured monuments and create ‘lead to change’ projects where we chose an issue in our community that we wanted to solve and were actually able to apply for a grant to get money to make our project happen. My project is introducing kids to 4H, a really great beneficial program that gives kids lifelong skills.”

Ruby also participates in Model UN and Speech & Debate, specializing in parliamentary debate with a teammate to discuss today’s issues. However, these activities don’t stop Ruby from finding income of her own, as she also enjoys babysitting and pet-sitting.

Now, as only a sophomore, one would be forgiven for bypassing looking too far ahead in the future when it comes to things such as college or even careers, but for Ruby, these ambitions are already developing blueprints.

“I love debating,” says Ruby. “I did honors law and was able to do some mock trials, and while that doesn’t necessarily mean I want to be a lawyer I do aspire to be some type of politician where I can debate for the things that I believe in. 4H is actually sponsored by the land grant university which is Oregon State University, so I’ve been able to go to some camps there, stay in dorms, and spend time on the campus. I love it there and I love what they do to help 4H. They’re an early top choice.”

Over the years, Ruby and her family have hosted many foreign exchange students from all parts of the world, expanding her communities from the roots of her family’s West Linn home.

It is a comforting notion to know that there are young people out there like Ruby Fassett who will be leading future generations.


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