Washington State 4-H Youth Development Program

County Staff Spotlights

Wahkiakum County

Carrie Backman

WSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program

 How long have you been at the county office?
Seven years.

Where did you grow up?

Favorite activities/interests:
Anything outdoors… hiking, biking, camping, you name it.  My husband and I love to walk or ride our bikes in the evenings – Puget Island is a great place for it.  We’re lucky to live here. 

What is your 4-H experience?
As a teen, I helped my younger sisters in 4-H and my parents as leaders.  I enjoyed trail rides as a club and family the most.

How did your time in 4-H help you over the years?
4-H helped my family stay connected, particularly as we all got older.  We worked together on our horse projects and I look fondly back on those times together.  We started a Bureau of Land Management mustang and a couple of young horses together.  I learned a lot of patience, and how to tuck and roll after being bucked off a few times.  I think, most importantly, 4-H and the work ethic that went with it in our family taught my sisters and I that we were a pretty tough set of gals.  We grew up knowing that we could accomplish just about anything if we put our minds to it. 

What do you enjoy most about working in 4-H?
I enjoy the people I get to work with.  I work with community members and staff who are the salt of the earth.  I also enjoy seeing 4-H kids master new skills and work habits.  I love to hear how the older ones are doing in life after graduation.  It’s exciting to hear of their adventures and see how 4-H helped them reach awesome achievements.

How have you seen 4-H help youth as they develop and grow?
We have one youth in her sophomore year at Northwestern University on a substantial scholarship, learning all about non-profit leadership and community development.  Over her recent school break, she volunteered in the Appalachians to help on some community infrastructure needs, and this summer she’s headed to Uganda to do the same.  We have one senior graduating this year to go on to UNLV to study hospitality and event management, and she’s also doing really well with scholarships. She plans to stay involved in 4-H and give back to 4-H because of all she gained in her own 4-H experience. I love to see how 4-H helps them not only get these great opportunities post-graduation, but also to see how that interest in community involvement, which was ignited in 4-H, fuels an ongoing commitment to service.

What else would be good to know?
We have a small but mighty 4-H program here in Wahkiakum County.  We have minimal support staff and rely heavily on our volunteers.  They meet the call plus some, and have helped us grow to about 90 kids.  I’m super proud of our volunteers!

Carrie Backman
WSU Wahkiakum County Extension

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