Through Extension, Kelle Ashley embraced a teaching career both in and out of the classroom.
After graduating with a degree in early childhood education, Kelle (Spencer) Ashley spent six years in a traditional classroom. Then she decided it was time for a new challenge as a 4-H youth development Extension agent.
During college, Ashley was a 4-H camp counselor and realized her passion for 4-H youth development. The experience also showed her the power of being positive. “Being a camp counselor taught me that enthusiasm is contagious,” said Ashley.
Although she had never considered working as an Extension agent growing up, she loves the career that she began more than five years ago.
Ashley works to keep 4-H relevant for young people in Oconee County by balancing traditional activities with new ones. The county’s programming includes typical activities like project achievement and judging teams and diverse options like musical theatre and art.
On any given day, you can find Ashley teaching in a school classroom or working in a corn field with her young agricultural entrepreneurs, resembling the club that started the 4-H program in Georgia in 1904.
“The best days are the ones where I learn something from a young person,” said Ashley. “I’m encouraged by their big ideas and courage to follow their passions. “
The drive of her 4-H’ers, win or loss after a competition, continues to make her proud to be an agent. Watching the focus and determination on a child’s face in a livestock show ring encourages her in her chosen role.
Ashley’s experiences growing up in the Lee County 4-H Club taught her to always be enthusiastic. She tries to remember that from day-to-day as she works with hundreds of young people.
“Being enthusiastic about your job makes the tough days bearable and the good days amazing,” she said.
For more information about 4-H in Oconee County, visit www.ugaextension.org/oconee.
Published March 3, 2017
"I’m encouraged by their big ideas and courage to follow their passions."
- Kelle Ashley, Oconee County 4-H Agent
Bachelor's degree in early childhood education, Valdosta State University