Years ago, Elizabeth Rowe enjoyed bottle feeding Ginger. She was just 6 when she met the baby goat who needed nourishment and care.
The aid given to the four-legged creatures started her journey in 4-H and to Sampson County. As the new 4-H program assistant for the local office of Cooperative Extension, Rowe is looking forward to helping youths with taking care of livestock projects and school enrichment.
“I have a lot of experience in 4-H and I love to give back to the program that empowered me with the skill that I have today,” Rowe said.
After being introduced to the goats, she later joined the Wayne County 4-H program and became involved with livestock and other activities such as community service projects. Rowe showed off goats, but it later escalated to animals such as lambs, hogs and feeder calves.
Some of those goats, who were once babies are still roaming around her home.
“They’re just pets now,” Rowe said.
Through the organization, Rowe improved her skills.
“When I started out my communication skills were absolutely zip,” she said.
Whenever she was asked a question, the once shy Rowe would hide behind her mother.
“I didn’t like talking to people,” she admitted. “But 4-H gave me that confidence that I needed to be able to get up and speak in front of people.”
Eileen Coite, Sampson County Extension Director, was a former extension agent in Wayne County and met Rowe when she was younger. If anything involved animals, Coite said Rowe was there. She described Rowe as a diverse 4-H’er and very well rounded in the organization.
“We’re thrilled to have her on our staff,” Coite said. “She brings experience, innovation and fresh ideas.”
The organization has also given Rowe the opportunity to go to National 4-H Congress in Atlanta and the National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve had a lot of opportunities through 4-H and I really want to give that same chance to the kids in Sampson County,” Rowe said. “There’s amazing opportunities to develop leadership and life skills.”
Some of those skills included facing diversity, quick decision-making, record keeping and management.
“Those are just some of the skills that I got from 4-H,” Rowe said. “That’s not all of them. Kids can develop so many life skills that they can use later on as they pursue careers and possibly even become the future leaders of tomorrow.”
She officially began her new role in early November, but Rowe is no stranger to the Sampson County Cooperative Extension. In the summer of 2014, Rowe served Sampson County through an internship. After graduating from the University of Mount Olive with a bachelor’s in agricultural education, she returned. Down the road, she would like to be a 4-H extension agent.
“At this point, I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with the Sampson County 4-H livestock program and the opportunities I can supply the kids here,” she said.
Her original aspirations were to become a veterinarian, but in college, she knew 4-H would continue to be in her immediate future.
“I have a burning love for 4-H,” she said.
She added that participants can get a lot from 4-H and she wants to be a part of helping them do so.
“People don’t realize that 4-H is so much more than plows, cows and sows,” Rowe said about the opportunities beyond agriculture, such as science and technology. “There’s so much more stuff that you can get involved with. There’s so many life skills that you can develop from it.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.