New 4-H Agent Ami Lin
My First Month as an 4-H Agent
by Ami Lin, 4-H Youth Development Agent
So many of my friends and families have asked me: “So, what’s your new job? What do you do?”
I start off by explaining 4-H Youth Development. Most people associate 4-H with youth working with livestock but there is so much more to it. 4-H is a community effort in which groups of families work together to provide experiences for the youth. 4-H is a place where kids develop essential skills and knowledge through working on projects of their choice. 4-H is a place where kids gain confidence, find life-long friends, connect with role-models; it’s a place where they can feel safe to make mistakes and learn from them. It’s a place where youth grow as individuals by contributing to the community and where they develop leadership skills that they will later use to give back.
Then I slowly realize that I haven’t really answered the question, what is my role in all of this? My job is to make sure that the amazing volunteers can continue doing what they do. This includes finding resources, making connections with local groups, working with other staff and agents to find programming opportunities, to recruit and train volunteers, and so much more. They probably still have questions about what exactly I do but by this point, they just want me to stop talking about 4-H.
To be honest, I stepped into my role and I wasn’t sure where to start. New Agent training is a year long and I my orientation isn’t until the end of August. I had three goals for my first month on the job:
- meet as many of my 4-H’ers, their families, and volunteers as possible;
- learn more about the organization, the traditions and values that makes 4-H special and its place in the larger Extension family;
- get to know my Extension family.
I feel like I’ve accomplished quite a bit during this one month. I got to see kids being kids and our older 4-H’ers showing leadership at Wild Clover Camp and Rock Springs, 4-H Fantastic Camp. I’ve visited Stanley Buccaneers, Blue River Wranglers, Oxford Hustlers, and Great Plains practicing Parliamentary Procedures and 4-H’ers sharing their learning through judging and demonstrations.
I have been working with the Ambassadors to plan club visits, meeting the commissioners, and preparing for Barnyard Olympics. The Food Stand managers and I have been busily planning for the Food Stand. I met with the Fair Board, the Extension Board, 4-H Professional Development Committee and the 4-H Council. All the while, I’ve been getting to know my coworkers, working my mentor in Shawnee County, and looking through documentation to learn about the 4-H program before me.
One word that describes my first month as an 4-H Agent is “exciting.” The passion and dedication of each and every person that I’ve met has gotten me so excited and looking forward to getting to know everyone who are part of and supports Johnson County 4-H.