National 4-H Week: Leaders are the backbone of the program

October 5, 2005

A wise man once wrote, “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove ... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

This philosophy tends to be the driving force behind why most Hood River County 4-H Leaders lead in the 4-H program.

While there is not a typical 4-H leader, there is one common thread that can be found in all 4-H leaders: They enjoy working with youth and gain pleasure from watching them grow and learn new skills.

This desire to help youth is the most important trait that a leader can bring to the program.

Ann Holmstrom, from Cascade Locks, represents a 4-H leader who has given much to the Hood River County 4-H program. Ann leads the Holly Creek 4-H club with her husband, Randy.

The projects taken in this club vary as much as the kids involved, which include livestock projects, food projects, gardening and even photography projects. Ann’s role in 4-H does not stop with being a club leader; she has mentored many new leaders by showing them the ropes of being a successful leader.

Ann has taken leadership roles in the 4-H Leaders’ Association, plus she is superintendent of the 4-H Home Economics division and co-superintendent in the 4-H goat division with her husband at the county fair. She has also helped organize many county educational activities and is a judge at county fairs.

Why do individuals choose to be 4-H leaders?

When 4-H leaders were asked the most important benefits they received from working with the 4-H Youth Development Program, they reported that helping children grow in personal self-worth, gaining a better understanding of their community, interacting with others and creating family togetherness at the top of their list.

4-H leaders are the backbone of the 4-H program. The 4-H program can only grow and expand with the help of leaders who work directly with the youth. Each year youth are not able to join a 4-H club because we have no leader to guide the group.

For example we are looking for a clothing leader in the upper valley, a dog leader for the mid-valley area, a fiber arts leader and small animal leader.

The process for becoming a leader starts with the completion of a leader application, which includes reference checks and a background check. Then each new leader is required to attend a New Leader training.

Most all projects have excellent reference materials to help guide the leader in the educational process.

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Anyone who would like learn more about becoming a 4-H Leader may call the Hood River County Extension Office at 386-3343.

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