This week’s Career Corner focuses on Travis West, County Extension Director and Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development. Travis has held this position since June 2006.
What got you interested in your career choice?
I was active in 4-H and FFA as a youth and developed many life skills as a result of my participation. I worked in two other positions within OSU Extension but felt a position with 4-H Youth Development would utilize my talents and skills to make a difference in someone’s life.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working with youth and volunteers to develop new programs and events that continue the life-long learning of youth in Vinton County. Partnering and collaborating with other professionals in the county to provide services and educational opportunities for county residents.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
Challenges are present in every job. Many challenges include working with diverse organizations and figuring out how to best present a program or curriculum to benefit county residents. You know the program is well developed and you see the need for it to be offered, but getting “people in the seats” is many times the biggest challenge. People are super busy in today’s environment so you have to figure out how to deliver the program so that it is benefitting Vinton County residents.
What are you looking forward to in the near future?
I always look forward to new 4-H members and getting to know them through fair, 4-H camps, project judging and special interest projects. New groups of teen leaders, camp counselors and junior fair board members are vital to energizing the program for another successful year.
What do you like to do during your time off?
Farming, reading and showing rabbits.
Did you have a mentor? Who was it?
Yes, I had two 4-H Extension Educators from surrounding counties serve as my mentors.
What would you tell a young person considering a career in your field?
Working for OSU Extension allows you flexibility and the opportunity to see the impact you are making on people’s lives. The most important skills you can bring to a job in OSU Extension is the ability to work with other professionals, develop collaborations and become an integral part of the county.
If you did not choose your current career, what can you imagine yourself doing?
I can see myself working for a business development organization or financial institution that works with rural clientele.