We are Oregon State University Extension: Jon Mayer, 4H Youth Development (in English)

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Extension, I am extension, I am extension. We are the Oregon State University Extension Service. These are our [Music] stories. My name is John Meyer and I'm 4-H faculty in Malheur County, and I've been there since January of 2009. My educational background is in Park resource management and environmental interpretation from Kansas State University.

When I first started with 4-H in Malheur, I did a school fair and had a booth, teaching people about 4-H. A parent came up and asked me, "Hey, I didn't know 4-H was back in Malheur County. What's it all about?" This was a woman who had been laid off from her job, she had worked with a large corporation in the past doing marketing and fundraising, and she was kind of looking for a new beginning, a way to revitalize her passion to find something new to do with her life. She really wanted to focus on working with kids around animal husbandry, animal science, agriculture, gardening, things like that. She lived near Alpen Rose [Music] Dairy, so she started to volunteer there, coming every day to do whatever she could to help out with the dairy. Through that, she saw an opportunity to bring 4-H there. She built a relationship with the dairy and showed that she really cared about it. Then she came to 4-H and said, "Hey, can we start a club program [Music] there?"

Every 4-H club, every 4-H program, they're doing things like community service, public speaking, projects where they take leadership and ownership. They learn independence. But at Alpen Rose, these are kids who live in an urban area, and they're having this experience with animals. On one hand, they're learning where their food comes from, what it takes to have a glass of milk, for example, what it takes to have a wool sweater. But the other important thing they learn is how to take care of an animal, how to have this responsibility. If you live in a densely populated urban area, you may not be able to have a pet. When these kids come out there and take that responsibility and take care of the animals, it's a big [Music] deal.

Usually in 4-H, if you're in a dog club or horse club in a rural area, maybe everyone has a horse or everyone has a pig or a dog. But not everyone gets to have a goat or a horse at Alpen Rose Dairy, so they have to share. They have to take care of the animal together, and that's a huge deal for these kids. It transitions from "I want to hold the bunny, I want to hold the goat" to "Oh, now we have to share if we're going to have this animal." It's a huge deal. OSU Extension. Ask an expert. Take a class. Extend yourself. Life. Get good at


It started with a simple question: What do you do? What followed were stories about taking field trips with Oregon's youth, sharing meals with farmers, and fighting invasive species using the latest scientific research. These stories are Extension. These people are its heart.

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