One visit by a University of Georgia Extension agent to a Reidsville Elementary classroom in Tattnall County opened up a lifetime of opportunities for Kevin Tatum.
Tatum, who now serves as Coffee County’s 4-H Extension agent, took advantage of what 4-H had to offer in school, participating in hog shows and shooting sports. Shortly after graduating with a degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Georgia in 1986, Tatum decided that he should pursue a career with Georgia 4-H.
Now Tatum is the one visiting classrooms in hopes of encouraging more students to join a club filled with possibilities.
“Often times, if I’m talking about camp or summer programs, they’re just ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ and just amazed at the activities that they can do in the 4-H program,” Tatum said.
Tatum is constantly working to improve Coffee County’s 4-H program by recruiting volunteers, staff members and students who are eager to participate.
“It’s important to have a good 4-H program because our students need to learn to be good leaders and give back to the community,” Tatum said. “4-H is a good instrument to teach kids those things.”
Even after more than two decades of working in 4-H, Tatum’s job still keeps him on his toes. There is never a “typical” day.
“You might be going to a school to present lessons in a classroom, you might be helping with a livestock show, or you might be helping with a 4-H target sports event,” Tatum said. “It’s rare that you have many days that are alike in this profession.”
Although being a 4-H agent requires loads of time and effort, Tatum finds his job fulfilling just knowing he is helping young people succeed.
“It’s usually a great pleasure to get to see a kid win with a project, (or to see) those who attempt to run for district board, when they succeed and get to run up on stage as a new board member, newly elected. It’s just a thrill to get to see the expressions on their face,” Tatum said.
Tatum’s long dedication and love for Georgia 4-H has not gone unnoticed. Among other honors, he was recognized by Georgia EMC in cooperation with Georgia Association Extension 4-H Agents as a nominee for the William H. Booth Award in 2013.
“Some of my proudest awards have been from my local volunteer leaders, my 4-H members and other organizations in the community,” Tatum said. “Last November, I was recognized by the local Farm Bureau with the Friend of Coffee County Farm Bureau Award. To be recognized for the work you and your staff do for the youth in the community by an organization like Farm Bureau is really gratifying.”
While Tatum is committed to supporting Coffee County’s 4-H program, he is still able to devote time to other important areas in his life.
“I have four kids at home and a wonderful wife, and we try to spend time together and go on vacations,” Tatum said. “Other than that, I’m really involved in my local church.”
Visit the UGA Extension Coffee County website for more information about local programs.
Published April 7, 2014
"It's important to have a good 4-H program because our students need to learn to be good leaders and give back to the community. 4-H is a good instrument to teach kids those things."
- Kevin Tatum, Coffee County 4-H Agent