Once a leader, always a leader, according to April Baggs. The leader of the 4-H Club in her hometown of Cochran, Georgia, Baggs' leadership and passion for 4-H comes with her background.
Baggs assumed the role of University of Georgia Extension 4-H agent in May 2013. She was destined for this career path after being an active 4-H member as a child. She was voted the state southwest region's second vice president in 1993-1994 and a Georgia 4-H state officer in 1994-1995. In college, she was a charter member and the president of Georgia Southern University's 4-H Club.
"Once I told people from my hometown that I was a 4-H agent, they weren't surprised," Baggs said.
As part of her job, Baggs meets people of various ages and backgrounds daily. She enjoys being involved in a community, and a club, that's so diverse.
"The best part about being a 4-H agent is being able to see people from different aspects of life and come into contact with people of different backgrounds," she said. "Here in Houston County, we are fortunate to have youth who are homeschooled, in private school or in neighborhood schools where they walk home each day. Being able to reach such diverse groups of children is both a learning experience and very rewarding."
Baggs' proudest moment as an agent came when preparing her students for 4-H's District Project Achievement (DPA) program last year. When she signed off on her first student's DPA portfolio, Baggs appreciated the moment.
"I will remember that for the rest of my life," she said. "There is a deep passion for wanting this organization to succeed when you are heavily involved in it as a child. You can identify with your youth in a way that someone who wasn't a part of the program cannot. Forming words to describe the heartwarming feeling of being a part of something so big is difficult at times."
Within Houston County's 4-H club, Baggs focuses on using technology to her advantage by having the students relate to her through technological means. Baggs often uses group texts and social media to communicate with her 4-H'ers, and she also schedules different speakers to Skype into the club meetings.
"My background in television production has been an asset when it has come to marketing and promoting local events," she said. "Technology is the heartbeat of our program, and I use the latest applications and software to keep Houston County 4-H members informed and involved."
April's experience with technology stems from working in production with news stations WSAV and WTOC in Savannah for more than five years.
Baggs' greatest memory of 4-H as a child was going to her first meeting held outside of the classroom. She appreciated the opportunity to meet after school and congregate with so many youth her age.
"I enjoyed belonging to something after school and being part of a group," Baggs said.
As a youth, Baggs was involved in the cotton boll and consumer judging teams. She attended 4-H Project Achievement in the performing arts -- instrumental and general recreation project areas. Baggs also attained teen leader I, II, and III status through Teen Leader, a program that recognized 4-H youth leaders across Georgia.
Baggs received a bachelor's degree in communications from Georgia Southern University and believes it helps her promote 4-H in Houston County. She uses the skills she gained through her education to tell the story of 4-H throughout her community.
"4-H in Houston County has potential that is immeasurable. Having a host of volunteer leaders and active teens, together we will make a positive impact in central Georgia," Baggs said.
Visit the UGA Extension Houston County website for more information about local programs.
Published January 19, 2015
"The best part about being a 4-H agent is being able to see people from different aspects of life and come into contact with people of different backgrounds...Being able to reach such diverse groups of children is both a learning experience and very rewarding."
- April Baggs, Houston County 4-H Agent