Lakeview High School senior Alyson Yates is finishing up nine years of being in 4-H, including a stint at the National Congress and as State Ambassador, with the goal of working in the 4-H program after college at an extension office.
Yates originally joined the 4-H program in the fourth grade, when all her friends were members. She also grew up around livestock, and felt comfortable around them. She originally chose goats because they were easy to raise and cute. Her parents also encouraged her to get into 4-H at that time as well.
“It helps to teach responsibility, life skills, and being a leader. You are always learning new skills and constantly working on building relationships,” said Yates.
Over the years in 4-H she has not only moved up the ranks, Junior Leader and Teen Leader, and gained more responsibility, but she has also done different projects each summer including photography, archery, rabbits, guinea pigs, and arts and crafts.
As a Junior Leader Yates worked as an assistant to the Senior Leader, who is the adult leading the program, helping them on the project and doing what the Senior Leader asks of them.
As a Teen Leader she was essentially the equivalent of a Senior Leader, but with no adult to lead the program. This was the case for the photography program that faced to be shut down since there was no adult interested in volunteering to lead the program. Yates who had been a Junior Leader in the photography program stepped forward to be the Teen Leader to keep the program. While the Teen Leader leads the group, they do so under the adult supervision acting as a mentor. Without Yates stepping forward the Shutterbugs, as the group is called, would have had to shut down.
“I stepped up to keep it going, it is important to have a photography in Lake County,” Yates said.
Over the years she has formed friendships with the many different people she has worked with each summer on the different projects . Though a good number of the friendships she has made are with people from other 4-H clubs when she went to the state summer conference and the National Congress, where she met many people from many different backgrounds.
This year she was appointed State Ambassador, joining around 13 other State Ambassadors across Oregon. This was her first year being State Ambassador, working with other 4-H members, talking to students and getting them interested in joining the program.
Yates views this as a potential career path. She plans on attending Eastern Oregon University (EOU) in the fall and to study Ag Education. During her time at EOU she would like to do an exchange program and spend time at another college to learn what they do for agricultural education, her preference is Auburn University in Alabama. After she earns her bachelors, she plans to attend Oregon State University and go for her Masters in Education.