4-h'ers Say Goodbye To Recruiter Who Returns To Teaching

In 3 Years,winfield Helped Start 15 Clubs

August 18, 1991|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — Tomorrow, Clare E. Linfield will go back where she came from.

The4-H extension agent will return to the teaching job she left at Liberty High School three years ago.

"It was a very difficult decision. My husband was glad I finally made a decision so he could sleep again," she said, noting that she was doing a lot of tossing and turning at night.

Linfield, 35, willteach agriculture classes part time at the Eldersburg school.

Shewill be missed by 4-H'ers and adult volunteers, two club leaders said.

"She's a real driving force behind 4-H in the county," said FayF. Gross, leader of the Westminster Eagles, founded two years ago.

Part of Linfield's responsibility as a 4-H agent was to recruit newmembers. In the last three years, she said, she got 15 clubs started, each with about 20 members.

"The kids adored her. They're reallygoing to miss her," said Terry Gachot, leader of the Finksburg Funnies, founded last year.

"It's her charisma. Any time you see Clare,you see 4-H kids around her. She's very bubbly.

"Every time I called and asked a question, she always came through and helped," Gachotsaid.

Linfield was the first 4-H agent in the county charged withrecruiting, said Robert M. Shirley, 4-H extension agent in Carroll for 13 years.

"Clare really did expand the program while she was here," he said. "There are many members we wouldn't have attracted without her vigorous recruiting effort.

"It will be hard for somebodyto step into her shoes," he said.

Carroll County's 4-H program isone of the three largest in the state, with about 850 members.

Linfield said, "People still think of 4-H as cows and cooking. We're that, but we're a whole lot more."

Many newer 4-H members don't liveon farms, she said. They're involved in a variety of projects, including crafts, natural resources, photography and public speaking.

The deadline to apply for Linfield's job is Sept. 13, and Shirley saidhe hopes to have it filled by early October.

The job is federallysupported, so it is not affected by the state's hiring freeze, he said.

In addition to recruiting, Linfield worked with the dog obedience program and the Kids on the Block puppet show, which teaches youngsters about disabilities.

At Liberty, she will teach horticulture, landscaping, wildlife management and natural resources management. She will be the only ag teacher at the school.

She said she hopes to get more students interested in the new ag classes at county schools. Last year, county high schools began offering an expanded curriculum, including classes in biotechnology, genetic engineering and aquaculture.

"I'm looking forward to working with the new courses," she said.

Before becoming a 4-H agent, Linfield taught at Liberty for eight years and South Carroll High for one year. She said she left Liberty when the county laid off some ag teachers.

Linfield lives between Westminster and Manchester with her husband, Steve, an engineer.

She said she'll stay involved in 4-H as a volunteer. She plansto continue working with the dog obedience program, in which she helps 4-H'ers train their pets in a 16-week program. Her black Great Dane is a favorite of 4-H'ers.

Linfield said she made many friendships with 4-H'ers and volunteers.

"It will be hard to leave," she said.

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