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SHERIDAN — If you’re going to lead the Sheridan County 4-H, you better to be ready for work. As anyone involved in agriculture can tell you, it isn’t an easy job.
Luckily, Liz Shaffer is up for the task.
The 24-year-old moved to Sheridan more than two years ago to work as the University of Wyoming Extension 4-H educator.
Through 4-H, children learn by doing. They tackle hands-on projects that range in topics from animal science, home economics, natural resources and handcrafts. They raise livestock; they create crafts and even take on robotics challenges. This is all done under the leadership of professional and volunteer staff like Shaffer.
“Liz is a super conscientious and hardworking individual,” said Rindy West, whose children participate in 4-H. “She doesn’t need a big splash or affair to do a fabulous job of organizing and operating the Sheridan County 4-H Program. She spends countless hours both during the normal work day, as well as into the night hours to make sure that a volunteer-run program is highly successful.
“4-H enrollment under Liz’s time has increased dramatically and youth are becoming more highly involved in over 200 projects,” West continued. “Liz has a great group of Junior Leaders that she has helped to train and put into leadership roles in the community. She truly takes the extra time to make sure that the life skills that our Sheridan County youth need to mature into well rounded citizens is put in place.”
West noted an example of Shaffer going above and beyond. In the Sheridan County 4-H and FFA Market Sale, Shaffer stayed up most of the night to have the sale order printed, the pictures of the kids and their animals all ready to give out to the buyers and the auction program functioning property. Shaffer does the work without being asked to ensure the programs are in place for the children.
“Liz is an endearing, sound-minded adult who makes it her work to teach character,” West said. “She is a sincere and dedicated person.”
Running the local 4-H program isn’t all Shaffer does, though.
She is involved in the local 4-H Council, livestock committee, indoor committee, awards committee, Sheridan County Fair Board, 4-H Mountain Camp Board, Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, the Sheridan Farmers Market and other activities.
“I participate in these activities because I am always striving to create more activities for Sheridan County youth involved in the 4-H program,” Shaffer said. “Participation in as many organizations and groups as I can participate in ensures that for 4-H members in Sheridan County. Also, participation in these groups ensures traditions of the 4-H program hold true.”
Shaffer is driven, compassionate and dedicated to her work.
“Liz’s work ethic and dedication blow me away,” said Amy Albrecht. “It’s a special person who can work so closely with parents and kids (quite a few under the age of 12) with such patience, enthusiasm and kindness.
“Liz is that person. She was born to be a 4-H educator,” Albrecht continued. “Everyone respects her, she delivers on what she promises and if she doesn’t know the answer, she finds out and reports back.”
Albrecht added that Shaffer’s special talent is her ability to focus on the person in front of her and help them, no matter how crazy their question is.
“As a parent who has no ag background, especially not in livestock, and who may be one of those parents who waits until the last minute for everything, Liz is endlessly patient with my inane queries, my frantic begging and my complete lack of an overall clue about all things beef or swine,” Albrecht said. “She’s flexible, kind and she knows her stuff. I’m so thankful she’s our 4-H educator.”
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