New 4-H extension agent to make rounds at fair

July 26, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Stafff Writer

At the Carroll County 4-H/FFA Fair next week, look for Carolyn A. Travers to be shaking hands and greeting 4-H'ers.

Mrs. Travers began work last week as a part-time 4-H extension agent in the Carroll office. The weeklong fair will give her a chance to get acquainted, she said.

She will work Mondays, Tuesdays and alternate Wednesdays at the Cooperative Extension Service office in Westminster. The rest of her week will be spent in the Montgomery County extension office, where she has worked full time for the past 13 years.

Mrs. Travers replaces 4-H agent Clare E. Linfield, who left the job last August to return to teaching at Liberty High School.

The position subsequently was reduced to part time in Carroll as part of an extension service effort to cut $3.6 million from its budget.

The extension service has two other full-time employees for the 4-H program: agent Robert M. Shirley and faculty assistant Rita Zimmerman.

Mrs. Travers will work with the handicapped-awareness and nutrition education programs that the extension office presents in local schools. She also will be responsible for helping start new 4-H clubs.

Carroll has 47 4-H clubs, including many whose members specialize in certain projects such as beef or dairy cattle, rabbits, fashion, natural resources or horticulture. Carroll's 4-H program is one of the three largest in the state, with about 850 members.

Mrs. Travers, a native of Prince George's County, began working with 4-H programs in the mid-'60s in North Carolina. After earning a master's degree in adult and extension education at North Carolina State University, she returned to Maryland and worked as a 4-H agent in Frederick County.

She took some time off from extension work to raise her son, Ernie, who's now 19, and in 1979 she began working in the Montgomery County office.

There she works with 4-H animal and citizenship programs. About one-third of that county's clubs -- 12 -- are animal clubs, she said.

The 4-H program is a way for parents to get involved with their children's education, Mrs. Travers said. "4-H really gives you methods to help children develop as total individuals," she said.

"It provides a framework for parents to take an active role in teaching kids their values."

Mrs. Travers recently returned from a six-month sabbatical during which she did research on teaching children about respecting others from different backgrounds. It's important for children to learn to deal with diversity and to work in groups, she said.

She visited East and West Berlin for six weeks last spring to observe the German approach to teaching children about the importance of working in groups.

Mrs. Traverse lives in Cedar Grove, Montgomery County. The transfer will mean a longer commute to work on some days and add "confusion and variety" to her life, she said.

"I'm kind of looking forward to it," she added.

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