Building agricultural roots: Sublette County 4-H Educator shares involvement makes a difference
Sublette County 4-H Youth Development Educator Jen Matosky has a strong passion for Wyoming agriculture. Originally from Pennsylvania, Jen participated in 4-H before heading out West to further her post-secondary education.
“I attended the University of Wyoming where I studied agricultural business and animal science,” shares Jen. “I fell in love with the western lifestyle and the values of the Wyoming community.”
She continues, “I sought out a position in western Wyoming, as I have always felt at home in the mountains.”
Her love for Wyoming agriculture and community involvement lead to her current position as the Sublette County 4-H Extension Educator.
“My responsibilities include coordinating and managing countywide 4-H events including the county fair, 4-H camps, county shoots and community service opportunities,” Jen says.
In addition to coordinating events, Jen oversees the management of 4-H volunteers and leaders for Sublette County.
The purpose of 4-H
“The purpose of 4-H is for youth to complete hands-on projects in the areas of health, family and consumer science, agriculture, civic engagement and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects with guidance from adult mentors,” Jen shares.
Involvement in these programs provides opportunities for 4-H members to learn valuable skills, and Jen notes part of her position is helping participants find ways to be involved. “4-H members are encouraged to take leadership roles and seek community service opportunities,” she says.
Jen continues, “Sublette County 4-H offers a wide variety of clubs and projects, including traditional livestock projects with horses, cattle, dogs, cats, poultry and rabbits.”
Additionally, there are many projects members can participate in that don’t include livestock, according to Jen.
“Local youth can participate in shooting sports, sewing and quilting, geology, rocketry, visual arts, cake decorating, welding and so much more,” she adds.
The county also provides several unique opportunities for Sublette County 4-H members, including allowing members to participate in a 4-H cross country ski club. “When it comes to 4-H, youth have the opportunity to learn and develop a passion for almost anything,” Jen says.
Showcasing youth projects
One of Jen’s favorite opportunities for 4-H members is the opportunity to attend the Wyoming State Fair.
“I enjoy watching my 4-H members exhibit their projects and demonstrate what they have learned with those across the state,” Jen says. “The Wyoming State Fair is one of the only events where our state gathers together for a week straight.”
The Sublette County Fair is another event hosted for 4-H members that the Sublette County community looks forward to.
“The Sublette County Fair is hosted in Big Piney and includes multiple events,” says Jen. “The fair showcases numerous events including 4-H exhibits, youth livestock shows, an open archery shoot, junior horse show, livestock sale and so much more,” says Jen.
The dates have been set for the Sublette County Fair in 2022. Jen invites all to attend the 2022 Sublette County Fair, to be held July 27-30, 2022.
Each new year brings new opportunities, Jen shares.
“Oct. 1 marks the beginning of the new 4-H year, which means fall is the time when our members and leaders enroll in their projects and clubs for the upcoming year.”
Many new members are encouraged to join.
“National 4-H week is Oct. 3-9, and this serves as a national platform to advertise and celebrate the local 4-H programs in each community,” says Jen.
For those interested in becoming a member of 4-H, Jen shares, “Sublette County hosts open house nights in both of our major communities during the first week of October in order to welcome returning members as well as anyone else who may be interested in joining 4-H.”
The program is open to all youth aged eight to 18 years old by Jan. 1, and the Cloverbud Program is for children aged five to seven years old.
Additionally, Jen adds anyone less than eight years old can participate in the peewee division in livestock shows at the Sublette County Fair and the present static projects in the Cloverbud Division.
For more information, call Jen at 307-367-4380 or visit wyoming4h.org/4hsublette/.
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.