New 4-H coordinator excited to go to the fair
Donna Leff started in 4-H when she was in the fourth grade. Now a college graduate, she is still heavily involved in it.
That’s because Leff is the new 4-H coordinator for Faribault County. She started her new job on June 9.
Leff grew up on a 350 acre corn and soybean farm just northeast of Riceville, Iowa. That 850 population town is about a half hour south of Austin.
After graduating from Riceville High School, she attended Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa.
“I was there two years,” Leff says. “I was majoring in communications and working on the college newspaper, but I just could not quit thinking about the farm.”
So she transferred to Iowa State for the next two years and attended the College of Agriculture at ISU.
Leff graduated last month with a BS degree in public service and administration in agriculture.
“I was lucky to get through college in four years since I changed schools and majors,” Leff said. She had an adviser at ISU who worked hard to get most of her Waldorf classes to transfer.
After graduation, it was job hunting time. She interviewed here for the position vacated by Kirsten Johnson, and was hired.
Although her first official day of employment was Monday, June 9, she actually started the day before because she went to 4-H camp at Camp Patterson by Madison Lake.
She got to know the five or six kids attending camp from Faribault County, as well as some of the older counselors also from here.
Next up is the county fair. Getting ready for that event is huge, Leff says. “I’m trying to still get judges for all the 4-H competitions,” Leff says.
Besides the fair, her main job is to work with the county extension board and 4-H leaders. She is to promote 4-H, increase club membership and activities and publish the monthly newsletter.
“My job description is several pages long,” Leff says, “which is pretty good considering it’s a 75 percent time position.”
She is not complaining, however, because she says she is very excited to be here and work with the 4-H program.
“Everyone has been so nice and helpful,” she says. “They realize I am new and have never been to a Faribault County Fair before, so they are forgiving if I don’t know something.”
Leff has moved to Blue Earth and ironically is renting the same house that was vacated by her predecessor in the 4- H office.
Leff loves anything to do with the outdoors, and that includes farming. Camping is one of her favorites, so attending camp for her first week of work was perfect, she says.
Music is also a hobby for her. While at Waldorf she was a member of the Wind Symphony, and played the clarinet. She was also on the college newspaper staff.
In the summer of 2006 Leff was able to take a three week trip to Europe as part of a Study Abroad trip with the Communications Department at Waldorf.
“I love to travel so this was great,” she says, “I saw a lot of Italy, France and England.”
Her family includes her parents on the farm near Riceville, and also two sisters, one older and one younger.
“My younger sister just graduated from high school a week after I graduated from college,” Leff says. “With graduations, moving, and starting a new job, it has been a really hectic few weeks.”