Each month we highlight an Ohio 4-H alumnus. They have amazing stories to share, from their personal experience in 4-H to how they have given back to the program. This month we feature Bob Sachs, Licking County 4-H alumnus and retired Williams County 4-H extension agent.
When we spoke to Sachs, he shared his start in the 4-H program. “I joined my dad’s 4-H club, Johnstown Clover Kids, in 1954 and was a member for nine years. Our 4-H club meetings were youth-led with officers, parliamentary procedure, officer reports, service, and recreation. My earliest memories included playing the game “Rhythm” and going to 4-H camp. I held most of the officer positions, served on the Licking County 4-H Council as a youth member, judged parliamentary procedure, and was a member of the Licking County 4-H band.”
Showing animals was an important part of Sachs’ 4-H career. “I have fond memories of showing Corriedales at the Hartford Independent Fair and the Ohio State Fair. We didn’t have a pick-up truck or trailer, so I took my sheep to the fair riding in the back of a 1956 Ford Station wagon!”
Even when Sachs’ 4-H career as a member ended, his involvement in the program continued. “After high school, I majored in agriculture education at The Ohio State University. I taught vocational agriculture for four years, then became a 4-H extension agent in 1971 – a position I held until my retirement in 1995.”
“Being a 4-H agent was challenging and rewarding,” said Sachs. “It included camp, project judging, county fair, livestock judging and sale, and state and national activities. The ultimate reward was seeing youth develop personal and leadership skills that would carry them through to adulthood.” And those leadership skills were demonstrated by several Williams County 4-H youth who later became Extension professionals.*
And retirement wasn’t the end of Sachs’ commitment to 4-H. “I started facilitating group challenges and low ropes course initiatives at 4-H Camp Palmer while I was an agent and continued when I retired. Now my wife and I attend local 4-H events, support the Williams County junior fair, and contribute to 4-H Endowment fundraisers,” he said. “We also helped establish a 4-H Camp Palmer endowment fund through the Dale E. and Bernice Mansperger OSU Development Fund. The fund is nearing $100,000.”
Looking back, Sachs said 4-H taught him skills for a lifetime. “Set goals and work toward accomplishing them. If you don’t try, you have no chance to succeed.” His advice to current 4-H members? “Take more than one kind of project to widen your experience and when working on a project, find people who know more than you do and learn from them.”
* The youth from Williams County who later became Extension professionals includes: Lisa Barlage, Ross County, FCS Educator; Melissa Rupp, Fulton County, FCS Educator; Shannon Sachs Carter (daughter), Fairfield County, FCS Educator; Teresa Johnson, Defiance County, 4-H Educator; Tonya Bowman, Hamilton County, (former) 4-H Educator; Laura Rohlf, Henry County, 4-H Educator; Michelle Weber Griffith, Athens County, (former) 4-H Educator; Kim Herman, Williams County, (former) 4-H Program Assistant; Jessica Runkel, Williams County, 4-H Program Assistant; Jeff Fisher, Pike County, (former) ANR Educator; Jeff Dick, 4-H Field Specialist, 4-H, Kirk Bloir, State 4-H Leader