Thanks to the help of the students participating in 4-H throughout Island County, a coordinator has been hired to ensure the popular organization continues.
Sara Bergquist was named coordinator for the county’s 4-H clubs.
Bergquist, who was raised on South Whidbey and returned to the island last year after spending years as an educator in Alaska, started her position as 4-H coordinator last month.
“The beauty of 4-H is you take a project 4-H kids are passionate about and use it as a vehicle,” Bergquist said. There are around 30 clubs active in Island County.
Although many of the clubs have a focus on animals such as chickens and cattle, she said there are attempts to expand into science and technology. Roughly 30 clubs active on Whidbey Island including video production, environmental studies and computer science.
4-H also offered civic-minded programs in April to teach members about local government and how to get involved in the public process. She said members also visited Olympia to witness state government in action.
Bergquist said 4-H provides members with the skills to become leaders in the community. The club develops a sense that the government is theirs and they can actively participate.
Even though she has spent considerable time in Alaska, she is a Whidbey Island native. She grew up on South Whidbey and graduated from South Whidbey High School in 1987. She recently moved back to the area with her husband and her dog.
Bergquist is a part-time employee for WSU Extension. The county coordinator position was at risk of being eliminated several years ago due to funding losses. However, Island County 4-H chapters pitched in to help.
Her position is paid through the fundraising efforts by the 4-H members in Island County. She points out they were able to raise enough money for her position while raising money for their own projects.
The 4-H club members are busy. Recently members of the Rock’n Doodle 4-H Club organized a chicken coop tour so residents can see the creative ways members are housing their chickens.
“I’m thrilled to be here,” Bergquist said.
For more information about Island County 4-H, contact Bergquist at 360-679-7328 or firstname.lastname@example.org.