Long-time 4-H agent to be honored at retirement reception

Published 9:00 am Saturday, December 5, 2015

Camille Jessee

Camille Jessee

To honor her 35 years of commitment to Carter County youth development, the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension will host a retirement reception for 4-H agent Camille Jesse on December 10 from 3-6 p.m at the UT Extension office at 824 E. Elk Ave. It is open to the public, and light refreshments will be provided.
“This has been a wonderful experience because we have the opportunity to teach young people life skills like communication, ethical decision making, leadership, citizenship and responsibility, and those are the kinds of things that 4-H can offer that a lot of other people don’t have time or resources to offer,” Jesse said. “One of the best parts is getting to see them grow up and become productive and involved citizens.”
Her work has influenced the lives and futures of thousands of Carter County youth over the years. Upon retirement, she has between 1,200 and 1,400 students currently involved, thanks to her outreach to county 4th through 12th graders. She said the program, established in 1902, was very active when she came on board.
“Carter County has historically had an excellent 4-H program because of interest from families, youth, teachers, agents and support from the county,” she said.
Her dedication has undoubtedly advanced its reach and success.
Among her honors, Jesse has received the Tennessee Association of Extension 4-H Workers Distinguished Service Award, the Meritorious Service Award from Epsilon Sigma Phi, the Conservation Educator Award for the Carter County Conservation District and numerous communication awards, as well as serving as president for the Tennessee Association of Extension Workers.
Though she said she does a little bit of everything, some of her favorite activities are 4-H judging teams.
“We’ve been super successful having teams in various subject areas that go to state frequently and even have some national winners,” Jesse said.
Numerous students have earned scholarships.
The scope of opportunities for 4-H’ers is broad and includes experiences in the fields of plant and animal science, health, business, citizenship, creative arts and environment. Jesse has invested extraordinary effort and time into developing character and skills by preparing students for livestock judging competitions and contests in demonstration, public speaking, poster design and many others. They participate in the Appalachian Fair, host fundraisers, practice baking and send greeting cards to community members.
At their monthly county school club meetings, they practice parliamentary procedure. Additionally, they attend youth camps and host monthly contests and fundraisers like for the Shepherd’s Inn and 4-H Night with the Twins.
She said there are many aspects of 4-H, but the bottom line in every activity is teaching people to become responsible, productive citizens and learning life skills.
���The kids get real life experiences that they may not otherwise have,” Jesse said.

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