Spotlight – Okanogan County
How long have you been at the county office?
Where did you grow up?
My parents moved our family from a small town named Sinton near Corpus Christi in southern Texas to Burien, Washington when I was in junior high school. I finished school in Burien.
I love traveling to other countries, meeting the people, experiencing their culture, hiking and exploring the places far away from the tourist areas. I enjoy spending time with my husband, Dan, my kids and grandkids. I like sewing, quilting, gardening, cooking, snowmobiling, bike riding, fishing and hunting.
What was your 4-H experience?
I was a 4-H leader for 20 years.
What do you enjoy the most about working in 4-H?
I thoroughly enjoy going out to the remote rural areas (where often there is no high speed internet or cell coverage and kids are not hooked up to electronic devices) to promote the 4-H program, deliver new leader training, provide day camps, and meet the 4-H’ers who want to share the progress of their projects.
How have you seen 4-H help youth as they develop and grow?
In 2008, for the first time in Okanogan county 4-H history, 4-H’ers attended the state-wide Know Your Government Conference in Olympia. One youth, who seldom left the county, later served in the United States Senate Page program in Washington D.C. and was sponsored by Senator Patty Murray. The other youth is now attending an East Coast university pursuing a career in political science.
Another first for Okanogan 4-H is the international exchange program. The first year, three families hosted, the second year the number doubled and last summer in 2011, 15 families hosted exchange students. One of those host families had a perfect match and bonded with their student who will be coming back next summer to spend summer break with her “American family.” Next summer another 4-H’er, a 4-H host family sibling, will be traveling with the USA delegation to Japan to be hosted by the student she hosted a couple of years ago. All the 4-H’ers hosting an international exchange student reported having a positive opinion and better awareness in understanding of cultural differences.
In the 4-H shooting sports project a youth perfected his skills enough to represent the USA by competing in the biathlon in the Junior Olympics in Sweden.
What else would be good to know?
Okanogan County’s population has a growing Hispanic population so my Latino (I am fluent in Spanish) heritage has benefited my work in providing 4-H programming in these communities.
Extension Coordinator, 4-H Youth Development
WSU Extension Okanogan County