Credit: Kelly Turney
Idaho County 4-H Ambassadors 2018 are (back row, L-R) Rose Sherrer, Jessie Sonnen and Paige Layman; and (front row, L-R) Colby Canaday and Godavari Murphy.
As of Tuesday, August 7, 2018
The brainchild of former University of Idaho extension agent Mary Schmidt, the Idaho County Ambassadors made their debut in 1997.
Twenty-one years later, Idaho County 4-H Program Director Susie Heckman said she thoroughly appreciates the work Idaho County 4-H Ambassadors provide.
“I count on them, especially during the fair,” she said. “They work hard.”
This year’s group consists of all young women: Rose Sherrer, Jessie Sonnen, Paige Layman, Colby Canaday and Godavari Murphy.
The group started, Heckman explained, as a way to retain older 4-H kids in the local clubs.
“We didn’t want to take them out of their clubs, because they are mentors and leaders in those groups and are needed there,” she said.
Those who are Ambassadors must maintain membership in their chosen club(s), be a sophomore through senior in high school (public, private or home schooled), and have been a member of 4-H for at least four years.
Those who qualify – up to 10 per year — and are interested apply and interview for the extracurricular honor.
“These kids are the face of what goes on in 4-H, as well as the help – the volunteers –for many county events,” Heckman said.
In the past, this has included help with the Idaho County 4-H party, Kids Klub and 4-H summer camps, the recycling center, Idaho Forest Group’s annual family picnic and the Farm and Forestry Fair. They also sponsor the Green Swing 4-H dance at the fair.
“And of course, they are everywhere all week long at the fair,” Heckman said. “They run errands, announce, judge – they just work everywhere and anywhere they are needed.”
When fairgoers and 4-H kids see the green shirts and khaki pants, they know they can ask questions and get a professional answer.
“Ambassadors provide a great leadership experience as members often go to 4-H groups and speak about the program, or are at the front of activities in the county,” Heckman said.
It also helps them see, she said, what it takes to prepare for and execute a large event such as the fair.
“The planning, the work – they really get a close-up view of what it takes for the fair to run and be successful,” she said.
Heckman knows the kids who apply to be Ambassadors are usually the most active, involved students.
“They learn to manage their time, prioritize and attend the mandatory monthly meetings,” Heckman said.
And it doesn’t look too bad on scholarship and college applications, either.
For information on the program, contact Heckman at 208-983-2667.