Washington State 4-H Youth Development Program

County Staff Spotlights

Jefferson County

Sue Hay

WSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program

 How long have you been at the county office?
One and a half years as a 4-H Coordinator, office volunteer for five years, and on staff in the Afterschool Forestry program for ten years.

Where did you grow up?
Near Kelso, Washington.

Favorite activities/interests:
Reading, music

What was your 4-H experience? 
I was in dairy for ten years and was also involved with horses, sewing, and leadership.  Fitting and showing dairy cattle, the county fair and caring adult mentors were real highlights for me.     

How did your time in 4-H help you over the years?
4-H helped me have the confidence to speak in public and has provided a sense of camaraderie with other adults who have also experienced 4-H as youth and are paying the experience forward.

What do you enjoy the most about working in 4-H?
I most enjoy supporting and encouraging youth, parents and volunteers to make the best better in all areas of their lives and the lives of those around them.

How have you seen 4-H help youth as they develop and grow?
Through ten years working with the 4-H after school program in a rural, economically depressed town in our county, I have seen children blossom into productive teens and young adults because of the opportunities, encouragement and sense of belonging 4-H provided as they were growing up.  Our 4-H Stewardship program with the U.S. Forest Service has helped teens be gainfully employed, fostered a sense of ownership for the well-being of the land around them, and created a community connection with an entity they had not previously thought about. It is a pleasure to work with these youth and to also see the growth of their adult crew chiefs. 

As a volunteer in our 4-H state Know Your Government program in Olympia I have seen how the curriculum has fostered many interesting debates over government and social issues, and created an atmosphere for teens to express their thoughts and opinions in a safe environment, using persuasive arguments.  Being able to provide an out-of-county experience for rural youth is so meaningful. An added bonus in our county is the Challenge Course at Gibbs Lake. The processing that goes on there is invaluable.

What else would be good to know?
This is my 23rd year as a 4-H volunteer. I have been a main club leader for Healthy Helpers, project leader for clothing and foods, and our 4-H Building Superintendent for Jefferson County Fair. I am pleased to be the Coordinator for our county, and look forward to the challenge of leading, managing, coordinating and learning by doing!

Sue Hay
4-H Coordinator
WSU Jefferson County Extension
(360) 379-5610, ext. 208

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