Please welcome Ashtin Walker, the new Poweshiek County 4-H County Youth Coordinator (CYC).
Walker, who joined extension staff on March 30, comes to Poweshiek County from Jefferson County, where she spent the last three years working with 4-H youth.
Born and raised in Washington, Iowa, Walker was active in 4-H for nine years as a member of the Washington Go-Getters 4-H Club.
“I have one brother, AJ, and we were very active in 4-H together,” she said. “4-H is definitely a family affair.”
In 4-H, Walker showed horses and cattle.
“My brother and I kept our breeding beef and started our own little cattle herd,” noted Walker. “He now keeps this going in Washington.”
One of her favorite memories is spending afternoons after school working in the barn on a 4-H project.
“It was always nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of and learn as we go,” Walker said of her brother. “He is older so he was lucky to get to start earlier than I did, but I always enjoyed supporting him and working with him in the barn.”
As a 4-H’er, Walker also participated in static judging and brought pictures to the fair. As she got older, she became more comfortable showing livestock. As a result, she and her brother were able to mentor younger 4-H members.
“I would encourage all members to do this as you will learn from them too and grow more as a 4-H’er,” she said.
Walker’s dad owns a livestock hauling business that he operates with his brother. Her mom stays at home and helps around the house.
“She was always there to support us in anything we did,” said Walker.
After graduating from Washington High School, Walker attended Iowa State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science and agricultural communications. She also holds a master’s degree in agricultural education from ISU with specialization in extension work.
“During my time at Iowa State, I had to do an internship as a graduation requirement, that lead me back to Extension and 4-H,” noted Walker. “This was where I fell in love with it all over again and knew that was where I wanted to go with my career.”
Walker’s first job out of college was with the Jefferson County Extension as Youth Outreach Educator.
“During this role, I was very active in after-school programs, pick a better snack and day camps,” she said.
She then moved into the CYC role and was able to do more for the 4-H and Clover Kids clubs and help them with fair entries.
“I was able to talk to youth about what they were passionate about and help them find the perfect project,” Walker said. “I planned monthly programs for the youth that related anywhere from indoor projects to livestock.”
Walker decided to apply for the Poweshiek County CYC position to be closer to family and her significant other.
“I was looking for a job that got me closer to family and my significant other and when this job opened up, I knew it was the perfect fit as I love working with 4-H and Extension,” she said.
As the new Poweshiek County CYC, Walker said her first goal is to get to know 4-H families across the county.
“There is already a great 4-H program here and I need to learn everything that goes on here and see what families and youth would like to see happening and bring those changes,” she said.
She would also like to help increase communication and start weekly reminders, which would allow families to stay up to date with activities and new announcements in the county.
When asked about the importance of 4-H in helping young people become successful, Walker said, “You get out what you put into 4-H.”
“This is a program that you can be involved as much or little as you want,” she added “Take advantage of the state wide trips and region wide trips. You never know who you will meet along the way.”
She said there are amazing programs that will give youth the skills they need as they move into college and start looking for a job. She encourages 4-H’ers to take a step outside their comfort zone and apply for leadership groups. She also said an amazing opportunity coming up is the State 4-H Youth Conference for older 4-H members.
“I can’t say enough that what you put in to this amazing program is what you will get out,” Walker said. “If you ever have questions about what you can be involved in, make sure to ask and I will be happy to help you find the right fit!”
Outside of work, Walker enjoys spending time with family and friends. She said spring is her favorite time of the year as the weather is just about perfect and is the best time to be outside.
“I love being on the water and taking time to kayak,” she said. “Even just going outside and taking that nightly walk! I am also a huge fan of catching up on movies and spending time with family watching those. There is nothing wrong with a good movie night!”
Walker can be reach via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 641-623-5188.