Extension intern helped make 4-H camp successful

Published 11:26 am Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Summer camp doesn’t happen spontaneously. There’s lot of planning needed beforehand, and then there’s the actual carrying out of programs and activities, such as crafts, canoes and campfires. The latter is where Samantha Dunn came in and even shined. She’s been the intern for the Isle of Wight County Extension service for the past few months and, most notably for the 4-H camp in Wakefield.

Internship is not a new experience to her. Last year, Dunn assisted staff at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Suffolk. She had planned on returning, but her eye came across the opening in Isle of Wight. She emailed Janet Spencer, now formerly of the county office, sent in an application and was accepted.

Samantha Dunn has been serving as an intern for the 4-H program in Western Tidewater. She was hired by the Isle of Wight County Extension service, although she also has occasionally done work in the Southampton County office. — Stephen H. Cowles | Tidewater News

“It was a very fast process,” said the 21-year-old Sussex County resident, who has been kept active in Isle of Wight, and even sometimes “borrowed” by the Southampton site.

As mentioned earlier, Dunn was involved in the 4-H camp some weeks ago. She’s quite familiar with 4-H, having attended the annual summer event starting at 8 years old.

The extent of her agriculture background comes from her father, Jimmy, who’s the acting director of the Farm Service Agency, and her mother, Mary Anne — who grew up on a farm in Prospect — went on to become the EVB loan officer for farmers. Cody is the other sibling in the family, and is doing mission work.

During her time here, Dunn said she’s learned the intricacies about a lot of programs that people seem to take for granted. Further, the importance of communication has been underscored.

“You get out of it what you put in,” Dunn said of her internship so far. New skills developed have included planning, such as for the 4-H camps, as well as making connections with people in the agribusiness industry.

Kim Atkinson, associate Extension agent for 4-H Youth Development, enthusiastically praised the intern.

“She’s amazing. She is a breath of fresh of air with boundless energy and a commitment to work. I can’t say enough about how much of a pleasure she is to work with,” said Atkinson. “Samantha has tremendously blessed the 4-H program. She had so many great ideas and a fresh perspective. She was full steam ahead and lots of fun. The kids really enjoyed having her there.”

When 4-H Congress duties demanded Atkinson’s attention, much responsibility fell to Dunn.

“I left everything in capable hands,” Atkinson added. “She rose to the occasion for the camp.”

Her last day is on Thursday, Aug. 10, which allows for some personal time to prepare her return to Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg. For her senior year beginning Aug. 28, Dunn returns to focusing her studies on agribusiness management and leadership for social change. Though she’s “still figuring out” what to do with her degree, Dunn is at least determined it will “to help others in need. My heart is in small towns.”