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Leading the way

Catherine Weaver loves seeing her 4-H students succeed

Summer 2018 | 2 1

DIFFERENCE MAKER

rowing up in Lexington,

Catherine

Weaver was raised

attending 4-H summer

camps and said with her

involvement in the program

through high school she

knew agriculture was the career

path she wanted to take.

Attending the University of

Kentucky, Weaver applied

for a job in Jessamine County

after a position opened up

for a local 4-H agent and has

continued working as the

only agent in the county for

almost 14 years.

G

“One of the reasons I love this job is it

allows me to be involved in building confidence

and leadership in young people,”

Weaver said. “I believe 4-H gives youth a

place to belong, and an important adult

in their lives. That may be me, or it may be one of our countless

volunteers who gives time to the program.”

Weaver said through involvement with 4-H, young people

in the community can experience what it feels like to be

built up instead of torn down, a skill she believes is vital to

their future.

“I think 4-H works hard, as do other youth organizations,

to ensure we are producing quality citizens for tomorrow,”

Weaver said. “4-H builds confidence, helps members believe

in themselves, gives them the opportunity to master a skill,

give back to those in need and learn to succeed in a hard

world.”

As the only 4-H agent in Jessamine County, Weaver said it

is hard work sometimes to spread herself out in order

to accomplish all that is required of her. Although she

said all the responsibility falls on her shoulders, with

it she also has complete control over the program and

that can actually work out to be an advantage.

“I have an amazing co-worker, Abby, who works

as a 4-H program assistant,” Weaver said. “She really

allows our program to reach further than if it

was me alone. We also utilize a volunteer base to

help overcome being a single 4-H agent county. We

have worked hard to build a diverse, impactful 4-H

program. I think we are so successful because both

myself and Abby have a passion for this job, for impacting

young people, and for working hard to give

youth experiences that help them succeed. We have

a great attitude and that shows to our members and

the community.”

Weaver said her favorite aspect of being able to

work in the 4-H community is watching how the

program can change children’s lives. From standing

up and giving a speech for the first time,

to staying at a camp for a whole week even

though they are homesick, or seeing a high

school student run for a leadership program,

Weaver said the skills learned in 4-H are

needed now more than ever.

When asked what moments throughout

the years stand out the most, Weaver said

some of the best days are when she sees her

4-H students succeed.

“When I’ve watched some of our youth be

elected to state 4-H office,” Weaver said. “Or

when I’ve spent a week at camp with one of

our former campers who becomes summer

camp staff. When I see the little girl who was

scared to death to give her first speech eventually

stand up and speak in front of nearly

100 people as a high school student, or when

I see our kids win grand champion at the

Kentucky State Fair with their animal projects.

My best days are when 4-H’ers succeed.”

Weaver said she hopes to see the 4-H program

continue to grow in the county and offer

more programs to the youth who wish to

become involved.

“I just look forward to continuing new and

innovative programs that give youth a place

to belong and be successful,” Weaver said.

“To grow more we need more caring volunteers

to step up and start programs. We can

only reach so far as employees, so the need for

good, safe, caring adults is vital. We continue

to add programs as times change. We want

to remain relevant, so as technology increases

we add programming to meet that. We (continue

to) change what we teach based on the

relevance to youth today.”