UM Extension hires 4-H assistant

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

As a former member of the program, 20-year-old Anna Klem has a soft spot in her heart for 4-H.

Her love of the program recently led her to take a position at the University of Missouri Extension in Barry County, working part-time as the new youth program assistant.

Klem, an agriculture communications major at Missouri State University who lives in Verona, said she is excited to be working with a program that means so much to her.

"I grew up in the 4-H program and was a 12-year member in Adair County," she said. "My love for the 4-H has never died, so I'm excited to be working in a field I am so passionate about."

Excited as she is about her new job, Klem said she knows there's a lot of work to be done in Barry County.

"The big thing is we need more members," she said. "And, to do that, we'd like to have the clubs promote growth in our own area by doing programs or fun days. I also want to do outreach and partner with schools and the library to get the 4-H name out and show what it does for the county.

"We're also looking to get a spot in the Barry County Museum to promote the 4-H program."

Klem said Barry County has two 4-H programs, which include the Exeter Trailblazers and the Purdy Screeching Eagles, and she's hoping to get more started up as soon as she can.

"There's been some interest in a Casvsille group, but there hasn't been a specialist or program assistant, so it's hard to get those groups started up," she said.

Klem said the 4-H programs offer great benefits to the community, as much of the work they do is volunteer-based.

"We do a lot of community service," she said. "The Exeter group is planning to go to Haven [of the Ozarks] to volunteer by helping the animals there. The groups also do a lot of personal development and public speaking demonstrations, and they have guests come discuss certain projects or even careers."

Klem said her experience with her 4-H program as a child is one of the big reasons she still wants to be a part of 4-H now, and staying in Barry County if she can.

"I had a wonderful experience in 4-H and it bought me a lot of things like life skills," she said. "So, I'm eager to see the potential in the 4-H program here and the growth in Barry County youth development. With the potential for [personal] growth, I would like to be here until after I finish school, and hopefully get a full-time position here after that."

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