Pamela Roberts Inspires Youth and Adults in Jefferson County

By Betsy Fradd, WSU Extension 4-H

She’s a dynamic, energy-filled force who keeps changing the landscape of youth development in Jefferson County. Pamela Roberts, a WSU 4-H Extension agent/activist, collaborates with community partners, engages volunteers, and works directly with youth to motivate, stimulate, and enhance their lives now and, if she has her way, for the rest of their lives.

Adult volunteer Nancy Wyatt is continually impressed with Roberts’ dedication and drive. “Pam is always there for the youth and the adults. She is a strategist who works together to inspire volunteers and all her efforts center around what is good for the kids and/or community,” said Wyatt. Wyatt has worked with Roberts during her eight years at WSU on multiple tasks including the challenge course curriculum, trainings, recertifications, maintenance, and safety. “I have always felt appreciated, honored, supported, and capable in every experience with Pam,” added Wyatt.

Roberts came to Jefferson County 4-H after a varied career as a solo cellist and as an innovative public school teacher and principal where she focused on working with high at-risk youth. A graduate of the University of Washington, Roberts has developed a comprehensive 4-H program which includes clubs, in-school and after-school programs, workforce preparation opportunities, camps, a challenge course, and a host of special events. She also works as an intervention specialist with some of the highest needs youth in Jefferson County - those who show increasing patterns of incarceration and those experiencing extreme mental health challenges.

“In our community people see 4-H everywhere,” said Katherine Baril, Director, WSU Extension Jefferson County. “Pam uses her skills and expertise to integrate 4-H into every youth initiative in the area. I've never seen anyone say no to her because we all know she's there every night, every weekend, with every youth, smiling, saying yes, and making things happen. Pam's work is a piece of art, a time of joy, and a gift to our community.”

Roberts’ focus is working in large organizational systems where she can analyze strengths and weakness and then devote her energies to specific growth areas. She has done this particularly with the 4-H Network News project where 4-H members report at pubic events and produce videos online about 4-H clubs, projects, and community service. Other top priorities include program development and support, partnership creation and development, fund-raising, grant writing, and marketing.

“There is no focus on the face of this earth that is more rewarding than being an educator and hands-on advocate for youth and families,” said Roberts. I love working with adult 4-H leaders, who truly care about youth and who will go out of their way to give them opportunities for success. I am blessed to do this work and receive the personal satisfaction that comes with it.”

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