Wabash County native named 4-H Youth Educator

by Brent Swan

After spending much of her first week on the job in the office, new Wabash County 4-H Youth Educator Angela Christopher is already looking forward to the 2013 Wabash County 4-H Fair. Christopher, a Wabash County resident and Southwood High School graduate, took over the position vacated by Pandora Woodward.

“I have lived here all my life,” Christopher said. “My husband David and I have two children, Jade, who is five and Clay who is three.”

Christopher, a former 10-year 4-H member, went on to graduate from Manchester College before completing her master’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. She then taught English for nine years at White’s and was in her second year of teaching sixth grade language at LaFontaine when she decided to apply for the job.

“I applied for the position in the fall, and I had to apply through Purdue,” Christopher said of the process. “You then had to go through a phone interview with a few people from the university. Eventually I met here with the extension board, which was the local group that helped make the decision.”

Christopher said at times, the process was intimidating.

“I’d never been through a phone interview before, but it probably made me more nervous when I came before the local board because it’s people you know,” Christopher said. “There were 17 people in this room, looking on and listening at once.”

After formally accepting the position, Christopher had help in getting acquainted with what the position entails.

“I came into a group here at the office that had done a lot of work before I even started,” Christopher said. “The judges are almost all lined up; maybe about four to go as of right now. They have been printing signs for the livestock shows and sending out letters to make sure all the projects are registered.” According to Christopher the animal registration deadline, May 15, is fast approaching.

“I’d like to work on increasing the 4-H enrollment and try to get some more youth involved,” Christopher said of her short-term goals. “I’d like to get out in the community and make sure people know what our youth are doing. We want them to know that the kids do more than just show the projects at the fair - that’s just a small portion of all the hard work that goes into it.”

One change already in store for the 2013 Wabash County Fair is the relocation of the Queen Coronation to the Honeywell Center.

“This year we are going to hold the coronation the Sunday starting judging week, which is slated to begin the week of July 4th,” Christopher said. “We feel it gives the Queen and her court more time to prepare their schedules for fair week if they have jobs or other commitments that might have been a problem on short notice. It’ll also be a really nice, formal setting - with air conditioning.”

In prepping for the fair, Christopher was quick to realize how much work actually goes into planning the yearly event.

“There’s a lot more that goes into the fair than many people might realize,” Christopher said. “Obviously you have to oversee all the 4-H projects, the fair, Junior Leaders, and all the usual things, but we also go out to the classrooms throughout the county and teach lessons like Professor Popcorn and some additional classes for fifth graders.”

“I think that 4-H in this county has a very strong tradition,” Christopher said. “It’s very family oriented, and something my family and I look forward to being a part of.”

To reach Angela, contact the Wabash County Extension Office at 260-563-0661 or email her at christ67@purdue.edu.

Posted on 2013 Apr 24