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The faces of Iowa 4-H: Lisa Berkland

Name: Lisa Berkland

Current Position: Regional 4-H Youth Development Specialist

Hometown: Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin

Education: B.S. Home Economics Education and M.S. Education both from UW-Stout

Past Work experiences: 4-H Agent, Dunn County Extension

Hobbies/Interests: reading, biking

Your Ultimate Goal in working with 4-H: Her ultimate goal is to be able to provide opportunities for youth where they can positively meet their needs for belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. More simply put, when she was young, she noticed that 4-H was a program that offered success to youth that wasn’t dependent on academic or athletic ability. Her goal is to be able to continue providing those opportunities and help our system be flexible enough to be relevant within our current culture.

Lisa was a nine year 4-H member in Wisconsin. Her projects included Food & Nutrition, Clothing, Photography and Knitting. She was a member of the Hebron 4-H club and she absolutely loved it! Lisa enjoys her job because she never has a regular day. She says, "I am in the unique position that I really do have a virtual office. When I’m not in one of the counties I serve or at a meeting somewhere else, I work from my home. My day includes responding to e-mails, meeting with staff, working with leaders and youth, and thinking strategically about how we can meet our goals."

Some things Lisa gets really excited about is trying new things and tweaking them to make them work. She also loves to see young people who are passionate and engaged in 4-H. After interviewing with Lisa I could tell that she really loves the challenge of taking abstract concepts and figuring out how to communicate them in a way that can be easily understood and applied by the general public. She told me, "When you see that people “get” what you’re trying to teach, it’s incredibly rewarding!"

What does 4-H mean to Lisa? 4-H means so many things to me. It’s hard to wrap it all up in one nice, neat sentence without it sounding like a company line. I once did a series of articles where I described 4-H as a mansion with at least 4 floors and tons of rooms. The cool thing is, all youth and their families have an opportunity to come and explore that mansion. They might go in one room and decide they don’t want to stay there very long, but they are bound to find lots of rooms they don’t want to leave.


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