Collier has meant much to county 4-H program

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Clay County Extension Chair Andy Vangilder honors Barbara Collier for her many years of service to the county's 4-H programs

Barbara Collier's name has become synonymous with Clay County 4-H. Collier has worked with the county agency, first as a volunteer exclusively, then as 4-H program assistant as part of the University of Arkansas County Cooperative Extension Agency.

After 15 years to the day in her position with the Extension office, Collier celebrated her retirement with co-workers, friends and family on Friday, June 17.

"I started volunteering when my boys were in 4-H," Collier said. "I did that for five years. Then, the Extension had a position come up in the office which worked with 4-H. I put in my application for the job."

Hard as it might seem for many who've worked with local 4-H events, Collier was not initially chosen for the position. The job was first given to a woman in the Knobel area. However, the part-time nature of the position, as well as the need to travel to the Piggott office regularly soon meant the position was open once more. This time, Collier was offered the job and one of the most active careers in the entire county got underway.

The H's in the 4-H program's name stand for head, heart, hands and health. Collier's efforts have helped the many local participants through the years make use of skills tied to these guidelines while learning through activities which benefit not only the individual, but the community as well.

"We've done so many different programs through the years, I can't keep up with them all," Collier said. "We've done everything from community-based projects to programs involving horses, cattle, fashion and photography. 4-H is hands-on stuff. A lot of it is learned by doing. It lets the kids actually be involved with something instead of standing around watching. It's more fun to be involved and the things they learn are more likely to stay with them."

Collier also was quick to share any accolades she may have received during her efforts with her co-workers at the Extension and everyone involved with 4-H.

"I've worked with some outstanding people. That's one of the best things about this job. I've been a part of something that was very special because the people involved with it made it that way."

While she is leaving behind her position with the Extension, Collier will remain active in 4-H. She has two grandchildren currently active in 4-H, five-year-old Kerrigan and seven-year-old Cameron, with whom she plans to continue working.

"I'm not finished with 4-H by a long shot," Collier laughed.

Collier says she plans to spend more time with her husband, Kenny, and family following retirement. She also hopes to find more time to do some projects of her own such as gardening, riding horses and maybe even a few chores around the house.

"I'm not going to get too carried away," she said. "I'm going to have fun with the grandkids and if the dustbunnies move in, so be it."

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