Growing up in 4-H, Barbara “Barbie” Little has a passion rooted in the program. She has been a 4-H volunteer for nearly three decades. During her time as a volunteer, she helped to coordinate county and state camps, and she led fundraising campaigns to provide scholarships for local youths.
No stranger to leadership and teaching, Little spent the past 25 years teaching elementary and middle school students in Raleigh County. Although it was a tough decision to leave that role, Little knew it was the right choice for her.
“Getting this position feels like I’m expanding my classroom to teach more youths and that’s an exciting thing,” Little said. “For me, 4-H is all about young people. I feel like the program is unique, because it has the opportunities available to meet the needs of present-day and future youths.”
As she steps into her new role, Little plans to expand the opportunities available for youths in Raleigh County. While the county tends to be very traditional with its 4-H clubs and programs, she would like to grow the program through youth involvement and volunteer recruitment.
“We’re excited to have Barbie in this role. She’s always been active within her county 4-H program and programming across the state. We’re lucky to have her lead our youths,” Brent Clark, program director, WVU Extension Service 4-H Youth Development, said.
In 2018, Little revitalized the WVU Tech Collegiate 4-H Club. The school didn’t have one since relocating to Beckley. Since then, the club has tripled its membership, and the group continues to be an active part of the local community.
“I reached out to the project coordinator of student activities to learn what was needed to re-establish the club. I then reached out to several 4-H members at WVU Tech, as well as agents across the state, to let them know what we were doing,” Little said.
This year the club partnered with the WVU Collegiate 4-H Club to collaboratively plan the West Virginia Collegiate 4-H Conference. It was supposed to take place in early April, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19. Both clubs are currently working together to organize a virtual conference.
Little aims to become a problem-solver in her local community—and even tackle some statewide challenges, with one being to find an innovative solution to keeping youths in the state as they grow into adulthood. She wants to help young people understand that they can have the career and life they want right here in West Virginia.
As Raleigh County’s newest 4-H agent, Little wants to be someone who the youths can count on and look to as a leader. She wants to share her leadership skills with the county youths so that they learn how to become leaders within the community.
“I strongly believe in this program and want to showcase our youths by giving them the opportunity to grow and lead. I am very lucky to get to orchestrate that and help them develop into future leaders,” Little stated.
To learn more about WVU Extension programs, visit extension.wvu.edu, or contact your local WVU Extension Service office.
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