Unbelievably I am finishing up my second semester with the 4-H foundation and I do not think it would be possible for me to explain how much this organization has impacted me as a student, employee, and person. Eight months ago when I began my internship I knew it would be a great experience, but it ended up being much more than that and somewhat of a life lesson for me.
What I have learned is that 4-H is all about opportunity and growth. It allows for children, teens and even adults to experience life and learn so many valuable skills that will build them into intelligent, loving, and caring inviduals. This became very evident to me when I began interviewing 4-H staff and hearing what they had to say about their positions and duties. Each and every person I interviewed was so passionate about 4-H and their responsibilites to this organization. They all love their jobs and they are truly out to better our youth and the communities we live in. Hearing and learning from the staff was the best part of my internship and I hope that I will be this passionate about my future career! Even on busy and stressful days I still see smiles and everyone really comes together to achieve the goals of 4-H. These are the kind of people that make an organization like 4-H grow and prosper.
This summer I will be interning with Colorado 4-H in Colorado Springs, Colorado and I am really excited about it! I already have a lot of projects and events to attend so I think it will be an amazing summer. I am interested to see the similarities and differences between 4-H in the two states and hopefully I can bring some new ideas as well as learn even more about 4-H from them. I am so lucky I was given this opportunity and I believe I have really grown from this experience and will continue to do so because of 4-H and the people who have guided me a long the way.
So....What does 4-H mean to me? It means an adventure, an opportunity, and a place to learn and grow no matter what age you are!
By: Erika Pletcher
Monday, April 25, 2011
Name: Annette Brown
Current Position Title: Region 8 4-H Youth Development Program Specialist
Hometown: Shenandoah, Iowa
Education Background: B.S. from Iowa State University in Adult and Secondary Family and Consumer Sciences Education; M.S. from Iowa State University in Family Studies
Past Work experiences: Student teaching in Nome, Family and Consumer Sciences teacher in Forest City and Lake Mills Iowa
Hobbies/Interests: spending time with daughters’ and their activities, supporting Iowa 4-H Camp
Your Ultimate Goal in working with 4-H: My ultimate goal is to help youth have many opportunities to learn and experience the variety of what 4-H has to offer so they will develop leadership, citizenship, communication, and personal life management skills as well as gain knowledge in the areas they choose to explore.
Annette was a 6 year 4-H’er in the Tarkio Blue Belles 4-H Club in Page County, Iowa (where 4-H originated), and enjoyed project areas like Dairy Cattle, Clothing, Home Improvement, Food & Nutrition, Leadership, and Child Development. She worked at the Montgomery County Extension office for 4 summers while a student at Iowa State University which gave her a basis for wanting a career in Extension.
When discussing Annette’s favorite part of her job she told me that she loves the variety and flexibility that Extension offers. There are so many youth development opportunities to encourage youth to be involved in, and she loves teaching in the non-formal learning environment that 4-H Extension programs are based upon. She said, “I enjoy facilitating Challenge and leadership building activities. I also have a passion for the Iowa 4-H Camping Center and try to get youth and families to experience what the camp offers. I have had many opportunities to grow personally and professionally because Extension is about education. The greatest rewards are seeing young people become involved and to see them grow through their 4-H experiences. Equally rewarding is the value of the volunteers that dedicate their time and talents to guide youth through 4-H.”
Annette enjoys the 4-H Camping center because it is nearby in Boone County where she tries to get as many people to go to the camp as she can through leading a junior 4-H Camp for the counties she serves. “My daughters have grown to love the camp as well, we enjoy going to family camps and they enjoy attending camps every summer”, Annette told me.
What does 4-H mean to Annette? It means a life building and changing experience for youth that helps them develop skills they will use in the present as well as into the future.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Name: Gail Castillo
Current Position Title: Regional Program Specialist / 4-H Youth Development
Hometown: Latimer, Iowa
Education Background: BS – Social Work; MS – Agricultural Education
Past Work experiences: I am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Equatorial Guinea in west central Africa. That is where I was immersed in the Spanish language and a bit of French.
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, watching ISU football and men’s basketball
Ultimate Goal in working with 4-H: My ultimate goal is that 4-H continue to be a place for all youth and adults to learn together and make a positive difference in the communities around them.
When Gail returned home from Africa, there was a county paid position open for 4-H in Franklin County. She was hired and worked part time while commuting for her Master’s degree at Iowa State. Gail thought once her degree was complete, she would move and work in extension in another part of the country, but as she was finishing her studies she had her first child and realized that her home county was perfect for raising a family.
“No two days are ever identical and I think that’s one of my favorite things about working with ISU Extension” Gail told me. A “regular” day would be in an office in her region working on upcoming meetings, trainings, or materials that will support the growth of Iowa 4-H through members and volunteers. Gail might be at the computer, meeting with staff, or attending a meeting with a partner organization. When asking her what her favorite part of her job was she replied, “I appreciate the variety of my position ~ the many things I get to continue learning about as I work with our 4-H families. LEGO® MINDSTORMS®, Food Safety and Quality Assurance, and community service learning are some of the most recent topics I’ve learned about!”
Gail gets excited about most things in 4-H! County and state fair season is a favorite of hers though. She says, “It is amazing to watch members light up when they explain what they’ve been working on and have an item to show you just what they’ve learned. Watching the “light bulbs” as kids are learning new ideas and mastering new skills is pretty cool.”
What does 4-H mean to Gail? It means a place for kids and adults who want to learn together…where possibilities are endless. It’s where you get to have fun with friends, learn new skills, and experiment with things you have never tried before (building a robot, planting a garden, or speaking in front of a group). 4-H is an instant connect with people of all ages.