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New Washington County Extension educator grew up in 4-H

November 23, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - Shannon Sturtz hit Hagerstown running as the newest Maryland Cooperative Extension educator in 4-H youth development at the Washington County Agricultural Center on Sharpsburg Pike.

"I grew up in 4-H in the county, state and national levels," Sturtz said. "This is just perfect for me."

She is in charge of club maintenance, which means keeping track of the paperwork that accompanies all 4-H work. Her specialty will be livestock.

A Frederick County native, Sturtz, 23, lives with her parents, who were raised on a farm.

"I raised lambs in our backyard until I got involved in softball," Sturtz said.

When she came back into the fold, she was also involved in gardening, cooking and crafts during her years in 4-H.

As part of her job, Sturtz attends 4-H meetings, recruits volunteers and members of the Clover program, is a public speaker and contributes to the newsletter.

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She also is committed to a program called Kids Growing with Grains, which has been introduced into the curriculum in Washington County Public Schools.

The week of Thanksgiving, Sturtz and some of her colleagues visited a number of schools to demonstrate how food can be produced starting with just some simple grains.

Fountaindale and Eastern elementary schools were visited midweek and the children were given all the fixings for a loaf of bread.

"They then could make it, take it home and bake it, and have it for the holiday meal," she said.

Sturtz said she and her older brother were both Maryland All Star 4-H.

"I always said I wanted to become a 4-H educator," Sturtz said.

That quest began early when she worked seven summers as a day camp director at Camp Monocacy in Frederick through the parks and recreation department.

She graduated from Frederick Community College and Frostburg State University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in early childhood/elementary education in 2006.

"I've also done some substitute teaching in Frederick and Washington counties," Sturtz said. But she keeps coming back to 4-H.

For more information on 4-H and programs in Washington County, contact Sturtz at 301-791-1404.

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