Showmanship at the Lake County Fair. Photo by Alyson Yates.
Showmanship at the Lake County Fair. Photo by Alyson Yates.

Hello everyone, this is Alyson Yates with a final check-in from Lake County. My internship concluded last week after the end of the 2021 Lake County Fair. My experience this summer was very enjoyable and fulfilling, and I feel that it will be a strong foundation for a future career in agricultural Extension and 4-H program development. 

Last week, I was able to travel to the OSU Extension office in Klamath County for a day to shadow horticultural specialist Nicole Sanchez. The office in my home county does not have this position, so I was glad to take advantage of this opportunity in our neighboring county. Throughout the day, I attended meetings with Nicole and took a short trip to a local farm in search of squash bees. She was a fantastic teacher, and I am grateful for her and the Klamath County office’s hospitality. 

Sheep showmanship at the Lake County Fair. Photo by Alyson Yates.
Sheep showmanship at the Lake County Fair. Photo by Alyson Yates.

The capstone of my internship experience was working at our county fair. I was a member of the 4-H program here in Lake County for nine years, so I have long been looking forward to participating in this event from a new perspective. One of my primary goals this year was to capture new photographs for use at our county office, so I spent extensive time documenting youth at different livestock shows and events around the fair. I was also one of the organizers for our annual recognition ceremony and assisted in coordinating our youth presenters at the event. Much of my time was balanced between my role as an Extension intern and my role as a 4-H volunteer, as I was also the leader of a rabbit 4-H club, small livestock superintendent, and a judge in our all-species master showmanship event, but I feel that my position with Extension greatly enhanced my entire experience. It was truly the best week of my summer, and the experience emphasized my love of teaching youth about agriculture, raising livestock, leadership, and the arts. 

Overall, I feel that my summer at the OSU Extension office in Lake County was an invaluable experience and will greatly shape my future in Extension programming. As I enter my sophomore year of college, I hope to continue working with the OSU Extension Internship program in the summers to come! 

A young boy holding a small LEGO robot he made at 4-h camp.
A youth with his robot creation at 4-H LEGO camp.

Hello everyone! This is Alyson Yates, checking in with an update from Lake County. I am just entering the eighth week of my internship, and my experience with the Extension program so far has been very fulfilling. While I have learned about many different areas within OSU Extension in Lake County, my primary focus has been working with local youth in a few different programs.     

I began my internship by assisting with Lake County 4-H LEGO Camp, a four-day event intended to teach elementary-age youth about robotics, basic programming, and inspire creativity and interest in STEM. Each day, I guided our youth attendees through the construction of several robots and taught them how to add basic programming through an app.  This was a great way to start my internship experience, as I got to work with youth in a fun, educational environment and connect with a group of older youth leaders in 4-H.  I was also able to begin accomplishing one of my goals for this internship, which is to update our county office’s photo database with new, high-quality photographs of our 4-H events.   

During the last week of July, I assisted with the planning and execution of the first annual Lake County Youth Summit.  Lake County Extension collaborated with Lake District Health, the Lake County Youth Mentor Program, and several other groups to create a summer day camp made up of workshops, activities, and games to help youth improve their leadership skills. Although plans for the event had to be adjusted due to the extreme fire danger in southern Oregon, we were able to organize a successful and fun event for the youth that attended. Activities were focused on helping youth recognize their values, understand their self-worth, persevere through their struggles, and learn how to be a positive influence within their community.   

A class of 2nd grade youth at Fremont Elementary summer school holding their self-portraits made from construction paper.
A class of 2nd-grade youth at Fremont Elementary summer school with their “Picasso” self-portraits, made from construction paper.

I am currently in the midst of my internship project, which is structured around leading arts and crafts classes for the Fremont Elementary Summer School program. I have a few more classes to teach before my project comes to an end, but this has been a great opportunity for me to gain experience working with K-2 grade youth in a classroom environment. Art-based programming is very important to me, and I hope that projects like this will help engage our local youth in the arts and inspire them to participate in similar activities in the future! 

As I begin to launch into preparation for the Lake County Fair, I feel very excited to be involved in this program from a different perspective. Throughout my years as a 4-H member, the county fair was always the best week of the summer, and I am so thrilled to be a part of this 4-H tradition as a part of the Extension team!  It means so much to me that I am directly impacting the experiences of youth in my county, and I am looking forward to the last few weeks of my internship. 

Hello!  My name is Alyson Yates, and I grew up in the high desert and sagebrush of Lakeview, Oregon.  I began my involvement in the OSU Extension 4-H program as a fourth-grader and continued to show livestock and participate in the arts throughout my time in high school.  I also traveled to National 4-H Congress in Atlanta as a part of the 2018 Oregon delegation, and during my final year, I served as an Oregon 4-H state ambassador.  While I still raise livestock, I also love to travel (domestically and internationally), spend time outdoors, paint and take photos.  During the academic year, I work as a student marketing photographer at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande. I recently completed my first year at EOU, where I am studying agricultural science and pursuing minors in animal science and comparative international agriculture.  

During my junior year, I hope to study abroad at either Lincoln University in New Zealand or the University of Edinburgh in Scotland to focus on global sustainable agriculture and outreach. After earning my bachelor’s degree, I plan to earn a master’s degree in agricultural education before finding a career within university Extension 4-H program development. 

This summer, I will be an intern at the Lake County Extension office, working alongside Breann Vandenberg, the county’s 4-H youth development & family community health outreach program coordinator.  Throughout the upcoming weeks, I hope to interact with the youth of Lake County through both livestock and non-livestock projects, inform members and their parents about the many impactful leadership opportunities available through 4-H, and gain experience with 4-H program development behind the scenes.  I would also love to incorporate one of my other passions, photography, into this position, and help to cultivate the growth of fine arts programs in Lake County’s 4-H.

I believe that youth are essential to the future of agriculture in our country,  and that providing education, support, and opportunity for rural youth to thrive is possibly the most important thing that our generation can do to cultivate a future of agricultural sustainability. 

I want to be able to provide these things to the youth in my community and encourage them to grow and better themselves through many different outlets, just as I was fortunate enough to do.  Since I hope to ultimately find a career within Extension, this is an extremely valuable experience for me, and I am so excited to get started.