My name is Bailea Gnann, and I am excited to be Flagler County’s new 4-H Youth Development Agent. I started my position here with UF/IFAS Extension Flagler County on Aug. 16 and as I get settled, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself.
I was born and raised in rural northeast Florida. Agriculture has always been a passion of mine growing up in the industry. My grandparents owned small cattle operations, so I spent a good portion of my childhood on the farm. In my youth, I was an active member of 4-H and FFA in Clay County, where I participated primarily in livestock and leadership development projects. My background in agriculture inspired me to pursue a degree and career in this field. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Florida in Agriculture Education, Communications and Leadership Development in 2018 and I am currently pursuing a graduate degree specialized in Extension Education from the University of Florida.
While attending UF for undergraduate school, I had the opportunity to intern with UF/IFAS in Clay County working with their 4-H Youth Development STEM Program. Through this internship, I learned about all of the diverse opportunities offered through UF/IFAS Extension and 4-H Youth Development programs. Growing up in such a rural area, it was easy to believe that 4-H programs were strictly focused on agriculture. Venturing outside of my comfort zone during my internship, I learned how even rural areas can greatly benefit from 4-H’s other program areas: STEM, Healthy Living and Civic Engagement.
4-H Youth Development programs should provide an opportunity for youth to develop life skills that help them succeed in college and career. STEM and Agriculture programs promote responsibility, problem-solving and creative thinking skills. Healthy Living programs promote healthy lifestyles through a healthy body and mind. Civic Engagement programs inspire young people to be well-informed citizens who are actively engaged in their communities while promoting confidence, relationship-building and decision-making skills.
As Flagler County’s new 4-H agent, I look forward to continuing the great livestock, equine, shooting sports, robotics and general youth development programs our community club and school clubs currently offer. I also plan to add/expand programming focused on leadership development, civic engagement and healthy living as I feel these are all crucial to prepare our youth to make a positive impact in their community and beyond.
Open enrollment for 4-H clubs began Sept. 1. If you are interested in joining 4-H as a new member, I am happy to make accommodations to allow any child an opportunity to join at the county or state level, even if they are awaiting an open spot in one of our community clubs.
Lastly, volunteers are crucial to our county’s 4-H program. Many of our volunteers serve as club leaders for our 100+ Flagler County 4-H members. If you are interested in being a 4-H adult volunteer or youth member, please reach out to me by phone at 386-437-7464 and ask for me or by email at [email protected]
I look forward to engaging in the community and working “To Make the Best Better” for our youth.