The opportunities for 4-H are wide and vast in a growing Denton County and one of the reasons Lee Standley wanted the job of county extension agent.
Standley was recently hired by the county to oversee the management of the 4-H program and some of the outreach programs the county uses to give students a taste of what 4-H offers.
“We use the projects as a tool to create independent, self-confident leaders of tomorrow,” Standley said.
Standley was born and raised in Crockett and moved to Decatur in 1997 to do extension work. He worked for Parker County in 2000 and went to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2004. Program cuts left Standley with the choice of sticking with the agency and likely getting relocated or finding something else.
“Extension was something I grew up with,” he said, “so it was a logical fit.”
He oversees 200 traditional 4-H clubs, along with outreach programs that often coincide with school curriculum and can give students a taste of 4-H, which Standley hopes will show that the program is a good fit for them.
He said the program had a huge impact on him, and in recent years, he has seen its positive impact on many young people. Some, he said, lacked social skills in the beginning, but after participating in 4-H, they were able to give speeches in front of a crowd of 5,000 people.
“It’s imperative for future leadership,” he said.
Standley said he didn’t have a set of changes he wanted to make once taking over the position.
“Having done this job for seven years before, you have ideas on what worked in other counties,” he said. “There are strong volunteers in the county, and with the quality of youth involved in the program, the sky is the limit.”
Standley said there are some opportunities to expand the curriculum and reach more students, and he’ll see where the future leads.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is email@example.com.