Hannah Epley, an associate professor of Extension education and the interim associate state 4-H leader and Ohio State University Extension specialist for camping and older youth, has been named associate state 4-H leader, effective Sept. 1.
Ohio 4-H, the youth development program of OSU Extension, which is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), annually offers or sponsors 4-H camps to youth in all 88 of Ohio’s counties.
Epley joined CFAES as the 4-H educator in Fairfield County in 2005, becoming the camping and older youth state 4-H specialist in 2014. During her time as a 4-H educator, Epley provided overall leadership for the county 4-H program, which now has more than 1,600 community club 4-H members, 350-plus 4-H campers, and 1,000-plus youth participating in school enrichment programs.
In her role as associate state 4-H leader, Epley will:
- plan and implement professional development opportunities and trainings, including one-on-one instruction, for more than 150 Extension 4-H professionals in the areas of risk management, problem solving, critical thinking, and positive youth development.
- coach OSU Extension professionals through volunteer and member behavior management issues, and will deliver corrective action, up to and including termination, when necessary.
- develop resources and training opportunities for new 4-H professionals on best practices when implementing county programming, when working with members and volunteers, and when meeting the needs of clientele—all while using positive youth development practices.
- direct OSU Extension professionals through crisis communications and conflict resolution.
- interpret, communicate, and enforce 4-H risk management and programming policies, procedures, and best practices.
- share information with 4-H professionals on risk management and positive youth development.
- work closely with the state 4-H leader and area leaders to provide statewide program management
Under Epley’s steadfast leadership, Ohio 4-H is a nationally recognized leader in providing positive youth development through camping and teen leadership, said Kirk Bloir, assistant director, Ohio 4-H youth development.
“Across the state each year, our county-based 4-H professionals, adult volunteers, and community partners work together to engage more than 2,750 teen counselors and 12,500 4-H members camp at 15 independent camp facilities in high-quality, positive youth development experiences,” Bloir said. “Epley’s efforts in camping focus on planning and implementing periodic training for camp facility directors and Ohio 4-H camp boards, based on applied research and best practices; leadership of the development, implementation, and evaluation of camp curricula; serving as director of the state 4-H Leadership Camp.”
As America’s largest youth development organization, Ohio 4-H, which served 171,983 students in 4-H clubs in all Ohio counties last year, emphasizes leadership and citizenship skills. Ohio youth, ages 5–19, participate in 4-H through community clubs, camps, schools, and short-term experiences.
“I am thrilled to continue working with 4-H professionals throughout the state while making the best better,” Epley said. “I hope to provide new 4-H professionals with the tools they need to succeed as they get started in their career and support all 4-H professionals with necessary resources and information as they offer vital programming to 4-H youth and volunteers.”
Epley earned her BS in human development and family sciences in 2004, her MS in education in 2005, and her PhD in agriculture and Extension education from Ohio State in 2014.
Learn more about 4-H at ohio4h.org.