Tatiana Burke is a 4-H member with a 5-star smile. She just took the Hawaii State Farm Fair's top honor for Best Showmanship with her goat.
But, Tatiana wasn't always finishing first. In fact, it wasn't long ago that she recalls placing dead last after she says judges did her wrong.
"They never really actually looked at my animal. They just like, oh, different breed. Why do we have to judge that?' said Burke.
Tatiana says the favoritism is frustrating. The hassle started when she first tried to sign up five years ago.
"They were trying to get me out before, even though I was trying to just get in," said Burke.
Once in, she ran into more problems. After taking out a loan to help raise her animal, then selling it after the fair, she was supposed to get paid back by the program, but says the program lost her money.
"It was just so frustrating for me and I almost had to default on a loan and you're going to destroy my credit score before I even have one? It's so unfair," said Burke.
Others involved in 4-H say the issues start at the top, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus with mismanagement.
They say the lack of accountability has led to volunteer coordinators forming their own cliques and doing as they please.
"And so the volunteers have became pretty independent, and just decided we're going to do it the way we want to do it so if we don't like somebody who has this breed of animal, we'll do everything we can to make them go away," said 4-H alumnus Gary Heusel.
UH admits that for nearly a decade, it was in a slump. Since 1998, the department went without a program leader because of budget cuts. An external review four years ago pointed out a key flaw in the system -- communication. UH doesn't deny it.
"Disconnects between the staff. Lack of consistent communication. Sometimes miscommunication about various issues," said Carl Evensen of the UH Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
Another criticism -- the program losing more than 40,000 members over the last 12 years. But, the school says that's misinformation.
Records show 1,100 club members in 1998 and nearly double that today.
UH staffers say they know that 4-H members are passionate about building the program. They are too.
Saying they've finally hired new leadership have improved the lines of communication and are following in the 4-H way -- using their hands, health and heart to head in the right direction.