Washington State 4-H Youth Development Program

County Staff Spotlights

Walla Walla County

Debbie Williams

WSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program

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

Where did you grow up?
Walla Walla.  I get to be an Extension Educator in my own county!

Favorite activities/interests:
My extreme sport is Mounted Orienteering (orienteering competition with a map and compass on horseback).  I trail ride too.  I have Boxers (dogs).  I raise grassfed beef, eggs, and, sometimes, meat chickens.  I have a large garden.  I also feel there are so many books to read, so little time.  I am addicted to Sudoku puzzles.  I like to watch high school sports even though my daughter has graduated.

Were you in 4-H as a youth?
Yes, I did cooking and sewing.

How did your time in 4-H help you over the years?
I was very shy (hard to believe now I know) so giving demonstrations really helped me to be able to speak in public.

What do you enjoy the most about working in 4-H?
The most rewarding part of 4-H for me is to create leadership skills in youth who are shy or struggling in some way.  Watching them build their confidence and become teen leaders is amazing.  I have had parents ask me “what have you done with my child?”  because their child has become a self-assured individual that takes on the world.  

How have you seen 4-H help youth as they develop and grow?

4-H is one of those experiences that help youth learn to deal with disappointment.  Most of the time there will always be someone that does better at some point.  This can be a very big lesson for some youth. If we can grow a youth to become a gracious winner and a gracious loser this really helps them in life.  In other parts of their lives it seems they may miss the lesson on being accountable for their actions and we try to make sure they learn it in 4-H.

What else would be good to know?
I am an Extension Director and the only agent in Walla Walla County so I share my time with agriculture, Food $ense, Master Gardeners, food safety, livestock, pasture, and many other issues.  I love my job.  It can be overwhelming and frustrating at times but if I stay grounded in what’s most important (like 4-H youth), it is very rewarding.

Debbie M. Williams
WSU Extension Director
Walla Walla County

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