4-H Program Coordinator Alicia Webb is finding her groove after a year in the position.
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Alicia Webb has been on the job as Yellow Medicine County’s 4-H Program Coordinator for about a year now. Settled, smiley and immersed in her life’s calling as a mentor to youth, she’s proving the perfect person to introduce 4-H to a whole new generation of adolescents, farm-based or otherwise.
A 27-year-old native of Fulda, Webb followed the coordinator position to Marshall last April. She has a storied history of youth mentorship. First off, her father was a band director and her mother an early childhood instructor––but then she also brings her own experiences, including her time spent working with a travelling ministry or Western Community Action’s Big Buddies program. If that weren’t enough, her husband, Chris Webb, is a mentor to youngsters, too. The pair even met at a youth encounter before tying the knot just this past September.
As 4-H Coordinator for Yellow Medicine County, it is Webb’s responsibility to plan, teach, and evaluate educational programs that support the positive development of youth, especially in the areas of leadership, interpersonal and citizenship skills in coordination with the county.
Historically, 4-H has been viewed across the state as a mechanism for youth development that revolves around agriculture––the picture of a smiling child holding a blue ribbon next to their award winning heifer, the seeming poster-child for the experience awaiting them. Today, however, 4-H is far from being just for farmers––seeking to provide all children with the sort of support, opportunities and resources they need to help them realize their God-given talents and passions––whatever they might be.
“If farm-related activities were all we focused on we’d have a very limited number of kids in the program,” said Webb––who herself had no connection to 4-H while growing up. “Kids need a place to explore what they want to learn about. We offer them a place to do that while making them feel welcome and valued.”
At present their 90 students enrolled in 4-H clubs are located in Canby, Porter, Hanley Falls and Clarkfield (which also has members from Granite Falls). The majority of club-goers partake in one of two made available in Canby. The city of Granite Falls is absent from the list as the ‘Granite Go-Getters’ associate themselves with 4-H in Chippewa County, in large part due to the proximity of the county fair.
Of course, there are programs related to animal science and general care as well as agriculture and gardening––but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Science, Engineering and Technology; Art; Leadership; Shooting Sports and Wild Liofe, Healthy Living and like projects and activities cater to just about everything under the sun, providing equal opportunity to express oneself whether driven to design dresses or to build real-world robots.
“We’re trying to change the attitude people have about 4-H,” summed up Webb. “This is a cub experience where people have a chance to be a part of something collectively that helps them grow personally ... Really, I think 4-H is at a good point to start growing again.”
Those who would like more information can contact Webb at 320-669-4471.