Washington State 4-H Youth Development Program

County Staff Spotlights

Spokane County

Kate McCloskey

WSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program

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

Where did you grow up?
I was born on Whidbey Island but grew up in Bellingham.

Favorite activities/interests:
Ahhhhhhhhh horses.

What was your 4-H experience?
When my family moved to Bellingham my dad promised me a horse---- I held him to that—silly him -- he thought I’d forget. My first horse was a 30-year-old registered Appaloosa mare who needed “TLC and lots of groceries” but she was the perfect horse to fall in love with. I called her Sparky. Our neighbors told us about 4-H and invited me to a club meeting. I was hooked!

What did you like the most?
I loved all aspects of horse 4-H. I did almost all disciplines -- performance, gaming, English (short livedJ), drill team and greenhorse. But I loved to go FAST----I was a true gamer!

How did your time in 4-H help you over the years?
4-H made me who I am today. The amazing bond between horse and rider is hard to explain but it’s the most remarkable connection that builds so many life skills. Also the adult volunteers who were invested in my positive life experience and future were amazing. I appreciated the many youth mentors and youth mentees who shared the same passion for horses.  Other adult mentors, good friends and fun were all part of my 4-H experience.

4-H has helped with my confidence and courage to pursue my wants and desires. 4-H was instrumental in me pursing a college degree, my career, and my forever passion with horses. Since my first public presentation to my senior year investing in my community---I have benefited from 4-H’s non-formal approach to learning life skills.

What do you enjoy most about working in 4-H?
I am very fortunate to say “I love my job.”  The youth are so positive, adaptive and love learning.  The adult volunteers are the backbone of our organization---and enable the youth and other adults to be challenged and acknowledged. There is nothing like spending four to five days at a horse camp in the middle of hay, horse hair and heat —you build strong relationships with youth, adult volunteers and families.  I believe that is important because then the youth and parents really listen when I tell them how much they will love the Know Your Government Conference, Teen Conference, Teen Rally, National Congress or National Conference. 

How have you seen 4-H help youth as they develop and grow?
I have seen youth of all ages benefit from enrolling in 4-H. I have experienced many teenagers blossoming in 4-H as their confidence, poise and attitude became so positive.  The 4-H’s Essential Elements was precisely their adventure: they felt the belonging, and enjoyed the independence, shared the generosity and grew with mastery

Kate McCloskey
WSU-Spokane County Extension
4-H Program Coordinator

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