Sara Koepke, Grant County 4-H Youth Program Advisor, was honored with the Achievement in Service award at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents. She received the award during their annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana from October 9-13. Approximately 1,600 4-H youth development professionals from across the nation attended the association’s 70th annual conference.
Each year, the NAE4-HA recognizes members for their 4-H and Extension work. The Achievement in Service award is given to educators with three to seven years of exceptional service. Koepke was selected by her peers – members of the South Dakota Association of Extension 4-H Professionals.
Koepke said, “This award signifies I can be a true leader and mentor in a 4-H program. Personally, this award is very gratifying. I was a 10-year 4-H member and the life skills I gained allow me to reinvest in the program.”
Koepke obtained her bachelors degree in animal science from South Dakota State University and worked at an agricultural publication prior to relocating to Milbank. She joined the Grant County 4-H and SDSU Extension program in November 2012.
Koepke’s efforts have resulted in a growing 4-H population in Grant County. Membership now tops 150. She is known for her hands-on and innovative programs for 4-H youth. This year, she is excited to be starting a monthly program for children ages 5 to 8, coined Cloverbud Connections, at the St. Lawrence and Koch Elementary schools.
Koepke also works with community programs such as Out of School. She piloted the aquatic robotics program for 4-H youth and hopes to revitalize the 4-H Junior Leaders program.
“I try to improve communication among 4-H families and provide opportunities to youth that might not be active in 4-H,” Koepke stated. “I also try to be a resource for community members who have questions about horticulture, agriculture, and family consumer science.”
Koepke was installed as the 2017 SDAE4-HP President during its fall meeting in Brookings. She will lead South Dakota’s 32 members.
Lena Mallory, President of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, presents Sara Koepke with the Achievement in Service Award.