Washington State 4-H Youth Development Program

County Staff Spotlights

Lincoln-Adams Counties

Karen Robertson

WSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program

Karen RobertsonWhere did you grow up?
Leesburg, Virginia

Favorite interests/activities:
Photography and reading

How long you’ve been at the county office:
Since 1987

Were you in 4-H as a youth?
Yes, I was involved with horse, vet science, wildlife, entomology, and other projects over the years. Also, though not a “project,” an Extension Agent recruited me (the only non-farm teen) to join the soils judging team which led to participation at State Conferences.

What did you like the most?
Horse and vet science projects and going to regional and state 4-H events. I also enjoyed the support and encouragement I received from “un-related” adults.

How did your time in 4-H help you over the years?
Demonstration and public speaking requirements helped prepare me for planning, organizing, and teaching riding lessons and presentations at my first post high-school position as Director of Riding at a year round equestrian resort and summer residential riding camp. My experiences attending State Conferences and Virginia State 4-H Camps broadened my horizons. And, my

4-H youth experience led me to volunteer roles in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and then Washington which led to applying for a 4-H support staff position in 1987.

What do you enjoy about working in 4-H? 
Having opportunities to support and encourage colleagues, volunteers and youth who utilize the 4-H program to learn, have fun, and expand their knowledge, skills, and social interactions. Also, having the support and encouragement from colleagues, volunteers, and youth!  I also like the challenge and opportunity to utilize the 4-H program to reach non-traditional and underserved youth and adults. As a WSU Extension County support staff person, 4-H has provided the support and numerous educational opportunities through conferences, workshops, publications, and on-line networking to enhance my personal and professional skill set. This has been key to helping me with one of the things that “keeps me going” . . . the feeling that I CAN make a difference!

How have you seen 4-H help youth as they develop and grow? 
Recently, one of the youth involved in a 4-H Engaging Youth Serving Communities grant-funded program stated, “I learned to work together with others I would not have normally associated with.”  Youth who participated in 4-H activities in the 1980’s, are now giving back to their communities, not only as 4-H parents and leaders but in other organizations as well.   I have also observed adult volunteers expanding their horizons, developing, skills, even choosing new careers as a result of their involvement in 4-H.

Karen Robertson
WSU Extension Lincoln-Adams
4-H Program Assistant

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