With an active interest in learning more about government, Jamie Yoder used the skills she learned in 4-H to land a position working on Capitol Hill and studying at West Virginia University.
While on a group tour in Washington D.C., the Braxton County 4-H’er ventured into Senator Joe Manchin’s office where she met with a team of his representatives. They discussed various programs offered, and the United States Senate Page Program immediately sparked Yoder’s interest. Representatives urged her to seek out further information and report back.
“So, I literally stood in the office and looked it up, and it said to contact your senator’s office for more information. I turned around and asked them about it, and they gave me a card and said to send them my information. Well I did, and I ended up in the program.”
During her four and a half months in Washington, D.C., she spent time helping senators with various tasks such as running business errands and setting up for speeches.
“I learned that even on quiet days, something is always going on.”
Yoder learned how to live without her parents and the importance of presenting yourself as a professional.
“Being organized – that’s a big thing. You learn time management.”
She said 4-H taught her important lessons along the way like better communication skills and self-awareness.
“Honestly without 4-H I probably wouldn’t be as social as I am. I was a shy person when I joined 4-H, and now I’m a social butterfly. It’s just a wonderful opportunity to meet so many people.”
By participating in WVU Extension Service’s 4-H Youth Development programs, Yoder completed her charting experience , a self-exploration through social interactions. Campers spend one year filling out a journal to further understand life concepts. Yoder’s charting journey shifted the way she viewed the world and herself.
“Charting to me, is an in depth look throughout your life at the choices you seem to make and then learning about what those choices mean. You find out more about yourself and learn about your choices along the way.”
But above all, Yoder values family.
“I learned that I valued family a lot. Family is my number one thing.”
After her time ended as a page, she returned to her life as a high school student in West Virginia but appreciated the opportunities 4-H gave her. She emphasized that 4-H is a place where everyone belongs.
“Regardless of your gender, a disability or a setback, they include you. 4-H allows you to show who you can be without peer pressure and without the stigmas. They allow you to show your true self without any negative feedback.”
To continue her journey, Yoder plans to participate in collegiate 4-H and major in sports management with a minor in political science. She has also been admitted to the WVU Honors College. Her decision to attend WVU was one made with purpose for her future and passion for the state.
“It’s kind of always been WVU. They have a great program for me, and it’s my family’s home state. It’s all in all, the best option.”
CONTACT: Haley Moore
WVU Extension Service
304-293-8986 (office) or 304-612-6359 (cell); firstname.lastname@example.org