A 4-H student from Montezuma County grew up, went to college, and is now leading the program.
Tierney Wilson is the new 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent for Montezuma County Colorado State University.
Her story embodies the purpose of the program, which strives to teach young people skills and ingrain confidence and leadership qualities.
Wilson was born and raised in Pleasant View and spent 11 years participating in 4-H, including raising and selling market sheep at the junior livestock show.
“I was in a lot of consumer projects, and I enjoyed it so much it became my career,” Wilson said in an interview.
The money she made selling her Suffolk cross and Hampshire cross sheep paid for her higher education.
“Between selling my sheep at the county and state fairs, I came out of college debt-free,” Wilson said.
She has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho in consumer science education and is working on a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Western Governor’s University.
Wilson worked as a teacher at North Ogden Junior High for three years before returning home to run the Montezuma County 4-H chapter.
“I want to give back to the program that helped me so much, and make sure our 4-H kids have that same experience of foundational leadership skills and opportunities,” she said.
Her goal is to build the program and boost enrollment, which is 205 kids, down slightly from last year. The program also is in need of volunteers and adult mentors, Wilson said. Students involved in animal projects are purchasing their livestock to raise and get ready to show at the county fair in July.
It is a misconception that 4-H is just for farm and ranch kids, Wilson said.
The program offers a good variety of nonagricultural programs such as filmmaking, photography, scrapbooking, ceramics, artistic clothing, leathercraft, metalworking, robotics, beekeeping, engine repair, cake decorating, plus more.
“There is so much opportunity, we’re open to anybody,” Wilson said.
She is planning to partner with the Montezuma School to Farm program to incorporate 4-H projects, and also hopes to arrange more leadership trips for 4-H students to participate in.
Upcoming are the district 4-H conference in March and the state leadership conference in June.
The 4-H model is “researched-based experience that includes a mentor and hands-on project,” Wilson said as she settled into her new office at 103 N. Chestnut St. in Cortez. “4-H empowers young people with skills to lead for a lifetime.”
For more information visit their website at montezuma.org/csu-extension.