Washington State 4-H Youth Development Program

County Staff Spotlights

Cowlitz County

Jennifer Leach

WSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program

 How long have you been at the county office?
I started as a 4-H program assistant in 1985 and became faculty three years later in both Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties.  I began as county director in Wahkiakum County in 2000 and in 2006 began working in community development in Cowlitz County.

Where did you grow up?
Cowlitz County.

Favorite activities/interests:
Taking care of my grandchildren, my two horses, a cow and gardening.

Were you in 4-H as a youth?
I grew up in 4-H with projects in horse, beef, and rabbits.

How did your time in 4-H help you over the years?
It kept me focused and busy.  4-H gave me a sense of responsibility.  I grew up with horses and the expectation was that I would take care of them.  It was a big commitment.  It was up to me to have my own sense of accomplishment.  The ribbons weren’t important but, rather, the time that I put into training the animal resulted in them responding appropriately.

What do you enjoy most about working in 4-H?
I enjoy it when I work directly with youth and get to see their responses to something they’ve learned.  Their excitement that they understood it and did it themselves.  It’s so rewarding to help them develop as young people.  Also, when I work with 4-H leaders it’s great to see them model the hands-on 4-H youth development approach and teach life skills.

How have you seen 4-H help youth as they develop and grow?
I see the confidence that grows in youth.  I watch young people start as primaries or juniors and the progression of self-assurance and their ability to follow-through is remarkable.  They shine in public speaking and demonstrations.  If they are in meetings with other youth or adults I see their confidence to be part of the decision making process.  Kids grow through their 4-H experience.

Jennifer Leach
4-H Educator
WSU Extension Cowlitz County
360-577-3014 ext. 4

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