Extension welcomes new leaders
Heath Wesley and Emily Roling will be new but familiar faces in the leadership roles of Pike County Extension and 4-H this year.
Wesley, a Pike County native, has been named the Extension coordinator for Pike County and Roling will move from part-time to full-time Pike County 4-H foundation agent.
Both are excited about their new roles and eager to fully immerse themselves in the programs and activities that are such an important part of the fabric of Pike County.
Wesley grew up in the Neon community and is a graduate of Auburn University. He worked in the poultry business for 10 years as a field supervisor. For the past four years, he has served as the county coordinator for Extension in Barbour County.
He has poultry houses and grows for Keystone Farms.
Roling is a native of Elba and a Troy University graduate in communications. She grew up on a farm in Coffee County and showed cattle in 4-H. She worked with the Pike County Extension in a part-time role last year.
“Emily grew up in 4-H and she worked with 4-H last year and has some really good ideas for new programs that we can offer to our 4-H’ers,” Wesley said. “We’ll work together to, too, on adults programs because Emily has a lot of offer to those programs as well.”
Roling said during the 2014-2015 school year about 1,500 Pike County students were enrolled in 4-H. Four-H is offered to grades four through 12.
“We go into every school in Pike County with our 4-H program and we also have home-schooled students who participate,” she said. “We will continue to offer the programs and activities that are popular with the 4-H’ers. We also plan to revamp the 4-H program to include new programs that are of special interest to students here in Pike County.”
Wesley said the 4-H’ers especially enjoy the competitive events and he hopes to see a large number of Pike County 4-H’ers compete at the 4-H District Roundup held at Troy University each year.
“We want our kids to do well on the local level and have opportunities to compete against 4-H’ers from other counties,” he said. “They really enjoy the competition and it keeps them motivated.”
Roling said storytelling will be a new 4-H program this year and will go hand-in-hand with public speaking.
The Lego project, the $15 Challenge, woodworking, Chick-Chain and the steer and heifer programs continue to be popular with 4-H’ers.
“Emily and I are certified archery instructors and that’s going to be an activity we want to expand,” Wesley said.
“We will stress our leadership and citizenship programs and offer new programs as interests are identified.”
Wesley said emphasis will also be placed on the adult programs.
“Extension has a large number of programs that are beneficial to adults with different interests,” he said. “We’ll have programs from pond management to tomato canning. Wherever there is an interest, we are going to try to find ways to build on it. We want the Extension office to be a resource for anyone who is looking for information about anything related to agriculture or the outdoors.”
Wesley and Roling invite the community to visit the Extension office at 306 South 3 Notch St. in Troy or call the office at 566-0985 for information about programs and activities offered through Extension.