Interim Crook County 4-H Educator appointed
Families who are curious about the 4-H youth program — or those who are already committed to 4-H — are welcome to an open house, where they will not only get to register but also meet Dave White, the interim Crook County 4-H Educator.
4-H Youth Development Program Leader Pamela Rose, who works at the state office in Corvallis, appointed White to the position in July, not long after announcing that the position was in a temporary hiring freeze.
"I wanted to ensure that the Crook County 4-H program was still being provided some level of state support coverage, even with the temporary hiring freeze in place," Rose said. "Dr. White was a great fit for Crook County because of his proximity to the county, his past experience as a 4-H Youth Development educator in Deschutes County, and because I had the flexibility to adjust his state-related duties to make this commitment."
Oregon 4-H Youth Development is a program of Oregon State University.
Rose said they have used similar strategies before when positions have been vacant at key times and are creating longer-term staffing plans in line with future budget scenarios and to equitability serve the state.
Families may have already met White this summer during the Crook County Fair or other 4-H activities, but they are welcome to visit with him during the open house, planned for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4 at the 4-H Clover Building.
"The 4-H Open House will be a great place to get acquainted with the membership of some of the clubs in the county," White said.
They expect about two dozen clubs to host tables, showcasing their projects. Families unfamiliar with 4-H will get a chance to meet and talk with leaders and club members to get a better idea of what 4-H has to offer.
"Clubs typically have something interactive for youth and families to do that relates to the project," White said. "As an example, small animal clubs will bring some bunnies so youth can get up close and actually feel the rabbit's fur."
There will also be information available for families to take home.
White, who lives in Bend with his wife, Deb, began his interim position on July 9, and his first day in the local office was July 16.
He brings to Crook County more than 10 years of experience as a county 4-H educator. He also currently serves as the State 4-H Youth Development Specialist, providing statewide leadership for Outdoor Education and Recreation, including the 4-H Shooting Sports Program, Oregon ATV Safety Youth Rider Endorsement Program, Outdoor Challenge, Challenge and Adventure, and Tractor Safety Education.
White is also working on a couple of research and writing projects with colleagues from Oregon State University and other land grant universities around the country.
He is based in two locations. He oversees the statewide programs from a Redmond office located at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center, as before, and the Crook County position from the Extension office on Lynn Boulevard. He hold offices hours in Crook County on Mondays.
"Each day is a mixture of both positions, regardless of where you will find my desk," White said.
He communicates daily with Katy Joyce, the Crook County 4-H Program Coordinator, as well as with colleagues that help with statewide programming.
White spends approximately 25 to 40 percent of his time providing leadership for the Crook County 4-H program. Aside from being in Prineville on Mondays, he will be present for key meetings, trainings, and assist with other calls and questions via email and phone.
"My role is to provide overall leadership and oversight for the 4-H program," White said.
This includes recruiting, screening, and training volunteers to assist with program delivery.
He said he and Joyce "will work closely with an excellent and growing group of volunteer leaders to deliver high-quality projects, events, and activities based on the needs of youth, adults and stakeholders here in Crook County."
He tries to take advantage of every opportunity he can to meet 4-H families. He has attended 4-H Association, sales committee and fair board meetings as well as school open houses.
"In the time that I am here, I want to think about and deliver on ways and means to sustain and grow the existing projects, events and activities that have for so long defined the Crook County 4-H Program," White said.
At the same time, he believes it is important for all youths, adults, and stakeholders in Crook County to know that 4-H offers youth the educational, recreational and competitive environments critical to the exploration of their passions and interests.
"The 4-H program does this by connecting youth with caring adults, who in turn provide a safe place were youth feel they belong," he said.
Rose asked him to serve in this role for one year.
"I am 100 percent vested in the people and program. I expect I will be here until the hiring freeze is lifted and the 4-H Educator position is filled," White said.
Crook County 4-H Open House
Date: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4
Location: 4-H Clover Building, 498 SE Lynn Blvd.