MU Extension hires new 4-H Youth Program Assistant
Tucker says 4-H offers many benefits; not just about livestock
Marissa Tucker has officially assumed duties as the new 4-H Youth Program Assistant for Barry County, which was made possible through a partnership between the University of Missouri Extension and the Barry County Commission.
Tucker is a 2012 Cassville alumni, and in July, graduated from Missouri State University in July with a B.S. in agriculture communication after returning from a study abroad program in Australia.
"It was very nice to find a position where I could stay at home," said Tucker, who said she was happy to return to her hometown of Cassville.
In her position, she will work with 4-H Clubs of Barry County, and act as a liaison between clubs, the Barry County Commission and 4-H Council.
"My job is to make sure that everyone within the county is connected," Tucker said. "I'm a resource for members and leaders."
As a youth, Tucker was actively involved in the Cassville-based 4-H Club, and said the program, for which membership is on the rise, offers numerous benefits to local youth.
"I was a member of the Horner Ridge Runners of Cassville along with my siblings, and my mother was club leader," Tucker said. "We were involved with livestock. We showed Jersey cattle, and being part of the club got me out of my shell. I was very shy when young and my mother would make us do demonstrations for the club. And so we didn't get to stay in our comfort zone very much. It prepared me for when I entered high school and challenges I faced in FFA were more simple for me because I'd already done some growing. So it definitely prepared me for what I had to do later. I'm thankful I was a part of a 4-H Club.
Tucker said while many parents may think 4-H Clubs are just about showing livestock and learning about agriculture, it is about much more. She encouraged parents to take a closer look and consider how joining a 4-H Club can benefit a child.
"It's [4-H] not just about livestock, it's about shaping the youth of our county and of our country into the citizens they will need to be in order to function in society," Tucker said. "They learn so much about the skills they'll need in the future. Skills like public speaking, how to interact with others, keeping records, specific skills through their projects, civic responsibility as they do a lot of volunteering in the community. It's amazing because they learn and grow and don't even realize they're doing it because 4-H has such an amazing structure. And it definitely prepares them to enter our community and make a difference."
Tucker said she is excited about serving in her position and for the future of 4-H and the benefits it has to offer area youth.
"We have so many opportunities to make new strides in 4-H, and I would like to see it grow and be a quality club with productive, passionate members," Tucker said. "I really do believe in 4-H. It's a great organization and can bring a lot of good things for members. It's about growing, and if you don't grow, you don't know what's possible for you."
For more information about 4-H Clubs, Tucker can be reached at the Barry County Extension office at 417-847-3161.