Spotlight – Kitsap County
Where did you grow up?
Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Spending time with family, playing soccer with my son, reading, hiking, walking our dogs, being with friends, and family game nights.
How long you’ve been at the county office:
Were you in 4-H as a youth?
Yes, I was involved in Expressive Arts and Equine projects.
What did you value the most about your time in 4-H?
Making friends, 4-H dances, our yearly 4-H Club Luminaria service project and 4-H camp.
How did your time in 4-H help you over the years?
It helped me realize the importance of giving back to our community, how to effectively communicate, and that I could explore anything in which I was interested. The most impactful time in my Country 4-H Club was the yearly winter luminaria display we planned, prepared, packed and placed throughout a local nursing home for the residents and community to view. Through the design and placement of thousands of luminarias, we learned to work as a team for a larger purpose and as individuals through better communication with peers and adults. Through creative design and activities we engaged the residents who had quality time together.
What do you enjoy most about working in 4-H?
I really enjoy surprising people! When most people think of 4-H, they think of animals and agriculture. They don't realize the number of diverse projects we offer to a variety of audiences. Being able to expand opportunities like robotics and GPS into afterschool programs - to youth we may not have traditionally reached - is an amazing feeling. 4-H Youth Development is such an awesome program that really can adapt to all youth with a variety of interests. A little imagination can really get the clovers growing!
How have you seen 4-H help youth as they develop and grow?
I've seen 4-H youth actively engage in leadership, communication and service projects. The Teen Action Group “T.A.G….You’re It” grant we received in 2007 has helped Kitsap County expand a variety of projects for teens throughout our community including the most recent Engaging Youth Serving Communities Grant (EYSC). Our T.A.G...You're It, EYSC teens and 4-H clubs continue to plan and build gardens at the Washington Veteran’s Home at Retsil. They are coming full circle from their "doing" for the community to interacting and now “engaging” with the community. The youth are now packing kits with the Veterans' and will mail them to soldiers serving overseas.
I have also seen younger youth develop confidence in speaking skills and design through the Lego Robotics and Tech Wizards programs we offer. Where they once were fearful of speaking to suggest an idea, they are now leading engineering design plans and computer programming to experiment in how the technology works for the group. Being able to showcase their work and engineering designs through informal competitions in team settings has helped them learn the value of sportsmanship and teamwork.
WSU Extension Kitsap County
4-H Youth Development Educator