Webster Parish has a new 4-H assistant extension agent.
With Cliff Rainwater and Lisa Holmes leaving the position, the LSU AgCenter hired former J.E. Harper Elementary teacher Beth Clark to fill the position. Joan Almond, Webster Parish chair, said she is thrilled to have Clark take the position and has transitioned from the classroom to a nontraditional setting seamlessly.
“She has a learning curve, but the 4-H children have warmed to her quickly,” Almond said. “They love her. She hit the ground running and she’s doing great. It’s a huge job.”
Clark has been a teacher in Webster Parish for the last 12 years, and was hired at the end of October.
Her job responsibilities include meeting with all the 4-H clubs at each school in Webster Parish, heading up the Junior Leader Club, a teen leadership club with roughly 40 or 50 4-H members and Celebrate Girls, an afterschool youth program for fourth through sixth grade 4-H girls.
She is also in charge of the shooting sports that include archery, shotgun, rifle and BB shooting sports.
Clark said she is getting into the groove of things and loves her new position.
“It’s been fantastic. I’ve been able to teach children where it’s not so much towards academics and testing,” she said. “I’m hoping to be a positive role model and give them life skills they will be able to use for the rest of their lives.”
Among a large number of applicants, she said she applied for the position because she was looking for personal growth and a new career where she could still teach children.
“It’s not so geared as a passing or failing grade,” she said.
So far, she has met with all the clubs twice. She has already spearheaded a community service project where 4-H students collected canned goods for the United Christian Assistance Program. In December, 4-H students collected coins and cash for the Court Appointed Special Advocate program so CASA could purchase gifts for foster children. They collected $1,365, she said.
“I would love to volunteer at UCAP, the local food bank, maybe even do a school service project in their community,” she said.
She wants the students to learn about giving back to their schools and their communities. She wants them to learn about homelessness and possibly serve at a soup kitchen.
“It’s something where they’ll get that experience and be able to understand homelessness and what it means to some people,” she said.
Clark said the 4-H program has expanded tremendously since she was in 4-H as a student.
“What’s available to the students is just unbelievable,” she said. “It’s great opportunities there for them.”
She talked about the opportunities and activities available to 4-H students with the numerous camps and trips they can participate in. Clark said students can travel to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge for 4-H University where students in seventh through twelfth grade stay on campus for four days. They participate in Clover College or compete in several different areas of study such as photography, forensics or public speaking.
Clark looks forward to teaching these students and working with them with the livestock program and the shooting sports.
“The possibilities are just endless and I’m looking forward to taking these trips with some of these children that have never been out of the state, much less the parish,” she said. “I want to really advocate for them and motivate them to participate in these life experiences.”
Clark has three children and is married to Greg Clark, head baseball coach at Glenbrook School.