Schmitt brings 4-H background, leadership to Extension job

Molly Schmitt started her new job with Jones County Extension on June 1. She serves as the Youth Program Director. Schmitt brings a wealth of knowledge to the job through her years in 4-H and FFA and growing up working on a dairy farm. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

As Jones County Extension prepares for fair week, Molly Schmitt works with summer interns Calli McQuillen and Sara-Anne Kettelkamp. Schmitt would like to see more leadership programs offered to youth through 4-H.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Her years in 4-H and growing up on a dairy farm in Fayette County help propel Molly Schmitt into her new role as County Youth Program Director for Jones County Extension and Outreach.

     Schmitt has been at the job for just over a month now, and has been enjoying the fast track into fair week here in Jones County.

     “Immediately, I jumped into the fair,” she said. “That’s the top priority right now.”

     And from the Great Jones County Fair comes the Iowa State Fair.

     Schmitt has been working on organizing the 4-H F.A.S.T. projects, the non-livestock projects the many 4-H youth are planning to enter into the GJCF.

     She’s assisted by several former 4-H youth from the area, interns, helping to bring Schmitt up to speed and take the reins with Summer Discovery Camp.

     Having grown up in 4-H, Schmitt said that aspect of the job really interested her.

     “That’s a large portion of my background, and a huge part of my life,” she said.

     Schmitt attended Wartburg College for three and a half years, majoring in communications/public relations and journalism.

     As the youngest of four siblings, the Schmitt family spent years in 4-H and FFA while also raising dairy cows. Schmitt also took part in the State Dairy Quiz Bowl and served on her 4-H county and teen councils.

     “I showed everything but goats and swine at my county fair,” recalled Schmitt of her own days at the fair.

     She has work experience with the State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation, planning donor events.

     “4-H impacted me so much as a kid that I missed working with youth,” Schmitt said of wanting to give back to the youth.

     She previously lived in Kansas City, Mo., and worked with Dairy Farmers of America.

     “I wanted to live closer to home and this opportunity just popped up,” she said.

     Schmitt relocated to Monticello, but still ventures back to her family’s farm in Fayette County to help from time to time.

     Aside from her experience in 4-H and ag, Schmitt brings great leadership to her job as well. While at Wartburg, she earned a certificate in leadership through various required classes and leadership hours. To gain those volunteer hours, Schmitt helped train service dogs.

     She’s hoping to apply those leadership skills and instill the importance of being a leader while working with the 4-H youth.

     “Leadership comes into play so much in life,” said Schmitt. “I want to teach these kids about themselves through leadership and personal experiences.”

     Schmitt is also excited to implement an after-school program through Jones County Extension, pulling in rural and urban kids together.

     “I want to partner with the schools for leadership classes,” added Schmitt. “I want to determine what each school’s needs are (in the leadership area).”

     Schmitt said she feels Jones County Extension Clover Kids could also use some strengthening.

     Overall, she wants to see Jones County youth succeed. “I want to get the kids involved in state and national opportunities through 4-H,” she said. “I was exposed to so many of those programs myself.”

     She said her goal is to let the youth “get creative” and not limit their reach, but help to expose them and broaden their horizons.

     “Some of these kids might not get to do some of the experiences we offer,” she said of offering programs that appeal to so many.

     Schmitt has been enjoying getting to know the 4-H families in Jones County in the month since starting the job. She plans to make herself readily accessible during the GJCF.

     “In preparing for the fair, the best way for me to do that is to meet the kids and their parents,” she said.

     In her free time, Schmitt enjoys riding horses and four-wheeling. She also spends time doing photography and graphic design work on the side.

     You con contact Schmitt at or 319-465-3224.



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