Becoming an AmeriCorps member provides rewarding experiences in your community and valuable skills employers want. AmeriCorps member Kinsey Speer spent the last year working with 4-H programs, helping teach in-class lessons on science and agriculture to Payson and Miami students, and other tasks focused on youth outreach. The work was a perfect match for her skills growing up in 4-H programs and graduating from Payson High School.

If you are at least 18 and looking to get involved in youth outreach in the Payson or Globe/Miami area, the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in Gila County is looking for motivated individuals to fill positions just like Kinsey’s. The full job posting is available at and you are welcome to contact Renee Carsten at 928-978-8511 or Ben Downer at 616-502-8662 for more information.

“We are taking applications now for AmeriCorps members to work 15-20 hours per week and help expand 4-H programs throughout Gila County, especially our mentorship and Exploring 4-H programs,” said Program Coordinator Ben Downer.

“They will help coordinate after-school programs and give classroom lessons, strengthen our partnerships with local organizations committed to youth outreach, and support 4-H volunteers. AmeriCorps participants have their hands in a bit of everything, and these positions are a great introduction to what working for Cooperative Extension is like. There will also be opportunities to engage with AmeriCorps volunteers throughout the state, tapping into a much larger network.”

Gila County 4-H is part of a nationwide network that connects youth to meaningful mentorship opportunities and activities that help them find new interests. Though 4-H encourages youth to raise animals and show livestock at the fair, Gila County 4-H has clubs that cover a wide range of activities to help every kid find their spark. Kayaking, sewing, engineering, technology, and agriculture are just a few of the activities in which youth can get involved.

“This year is a perfect time to give 4-H a try if you’ve never considered it before,” said Gila County Cooperative Extension Director Renee Carstens.

“We are waiving registration fees for all youth, making it FREE to jump into this exciting experience! We are also covering the background check and registration costs of becoming a volunteer. Our goal is to make 4-H accessible to everyone in the community and share this valuable experience with more kids.” Visit for the full list of clubs and how to register as a 4-H member or volunteer.

“Another way we are expanding 4-H opportunities in Gila County is by bringing the 4-H experience into the classroom with the Exploring 4-H program,” said Program Coordinator Jon Hatch.

“We brought in class lessons to Julia Randall Elementary and Lee Kornegay students in the spring and are excited to continue these opportunities this school year. We also work with Payson Community Kids to bring interactive activities to the youth they serve and make 4-H an opportunity that all kids can see themselves taking advantage of.”

If you or someone you know is passionate about youth in their community or wants to give the 4-H experience they had to others, joining Cooperative Extension as an AmeriCorps member is a great opportunity. Again, the full job posting is available at and you are welcome to contact Renee Carsten at 928-978-8511.

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