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New 4-H and youth extension agent believes it takes a village

By Kristina Jackson

John Jobe stands by the old adage, “It takes a village.”

Jobe, Riley County Research and Extension’s new 4-H agent, believes that communities play an important role in a child’s upbringing, and said 4-H can be part of that.

“If you want youth to be successful, you can’t just provide education,” he said.

Jobe grew up in Dodge City before coming to Manhattan and receiving an bachelor’s degree degree in family studies and human services from K-State. He stayed in Manhattan after graduation, teaching preschool and then becoming site director at Manhattan Day Care and Learning Center.

When that center closed, Jobe made the decision to return to K-State to get his master’s degree in the Life Span Human Development program.

Through his education and his jobs in between, Jobe developed a passion for working with youth, and even admired the work Extension does with young kids throughout the state.

“I was always aware of Extension, and I always thought, ‘That’s my goal,’” Jobe said. “It’s a mixing of youth development and sound educational practices.”

He started in the Extension position on Dec. 2 after two years working with the Boys and Girls Club at Lee Elementary. Growing up in Dodge City, Jobe was surrounded by friends and family members who were involved with 4-H, but he was never involved himself. This created quite a learning curve when he started as the 4-H agent.

“It’s only been in the last couple of weeks that I’ve started to move into the active part,” Jobe said. “But I’m still learning.”

Jobe said the most striking part of the job so far has been passion of the 4-H volunteers. Jobe said that in past jobs, he worked with a mix of paid staff and volunteers and always noticed the involvement of volunteers, but has noticed a change now that he’s working with almost all volunteer staff.

“All of the people involved in 4-H are some of the most passionate people,” Jobe said.

He has also been pleased with the leadership opportunities he’s learned that 4-H offers, whether it be through individual club leadership or other related events.

“To see young people in those positions and excelling blew me away,” Jobe said. These opportunities play well into Jobe’s philosophy that kids need community involvement to grow.

“If the community isn’t invested in them, they won’t be invested in the community in the future,” he said.

Jobe, who grew up in a family of teachers before working in education himself, said community involvement can supplement the education they receive. 4-H gives people an opportunity to show youth how to use information they receive during their education.

“I felt like I had those people in my life,” he said. “I had adults showing me, this is the right thing to do.”

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