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4-H leader leaves with praise from community

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 March 2013 at 12:00 am
Margo Bowerman 4-H leader

Photo by Tom Rivers – Margo Bowerman, a 4-H program coordinator in Orleans County for 13 years, is leaving the county to take a 4-H staff development job in Minnesota.

KNOWLESVILLE – From her days as a kid showing animals or preparing projects for the 4-H fair, Kerri McKenna said she could always count on encouragement and direction from Margo Bowerman.

Now as an adult, McKenna has been working alongside Bowerman in the 4-H office for almost a year. McKenna has developed a deeper appreciation for Bowerman’s skills and dedication, working with 300 4-H youths and about 100 adult leaders.

Bowerman also stays in touch with the 4-H’ers long after they age out of the program, continuing to serve as a mentor when they go to college or enter the workforce.

“It wasn’t just for me, she did it for all the 4-H’ers,” McKenna said. “She’s had an immeasurable impact.”

Bowerman ended her 13-year career with the Orleans program on March 8. She is taking a job in Minnesota, supervising 4-H staff there in 17 counties.

“She has always been supportive and encouraging,” McKenna said. “She could handle anything thrown at her.”

Bowerman organized many events for the 4-H’ers, and was influential in the annual 4-H showcase, the week-long fair in late July. She restarted the annual 4-H animal meat auction at the fair.

She was honored by the Orleans County Legislature during a Feb. 27 meeting, when the group presented her with a “special recognition award.”

“Your deepest dedication to youth and adults through Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension is priceless,” Legislator Ken Rush said. “You have instilled confidence, leadership, and citizenship to our youth and have organized the volunteer program to a huge success.”

Bowerman said budget uncertainties with the Extension in New York state were a factor in her decision to leave. She praised a committed team of leaders in Orleans County for building a strong youth program.