Carson City resident Karen Hinton inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame


Karen Hinton, Dean and Director Emeritus of the University of Nevada, Reno Extension, and current Carson City resident, was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame this week for her accomplishments and contributions to 4-H , the country’s largest youth development organization that develops citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills in young people through experiential learning.

Nominated by the University of Nevada, Reno and the Nevada 4-H Youth Development Program, Hinton was one of 20 inductees into the National 4-H Hall of Fame at the ceremony held at the Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC on October 12. The winners were chosen from a multitude of nominations from across the country for their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national and international levels.

“It is a great honor to be chosen as part of the 2021 4-H Hall of Fame promotion and to see how the individual winners have made a significant impact on young people across the country,” said Hinton said. “Through their dedication and tireless efforts, countless young people from diverse backgrounds, both rural and urban, have learned 4-H skills that prepare them to navigate life and become productive citizens.

At the ceremony, Hinton received a medallion, plaque and souvenir book from the National 4-H Hall of Fame. Sarah Chvilicek, who has worked with Hinton and is the state‘s current Northern and Rural 4-H Program Coordinator, and current Nevada 4-H Director Carrie Stark, were there to see her receive. his honors.

“It was so great to see Karen receive this well-deserved honor,” Stark said. “She has really used her career in 4-H and in the extension business to try to make a positive impact on people’s lives. His heritage is known far beyond the borders of Nevada. She is respected by Extension and 4-H leaders across the country for her innovation, hard work and passion in serving the youth of our country.

Karen hinton

In her youth, Hinton was a member of 4-H in Happy, Texas, where she lived on a 1,280-acre farm. She began her extension career in 1981 and spent the next 31 years working for the University of Nevada, Reno Extension, first as an extension home economist in Douglas County, then as a extension educator in Carson City. She quickly rose through the ranks to Regional Director West, overseeing all extension programs and operations for Washoe, Douglas and Storey counties, and Carson City. In 1998, she became Dean and Director of Extension, overseeing all Extension operations, statewide. She retired in 2012, having been the University’s longest-serving dean.

“Karen’s leadership has spurred many programs that have made a real difference to young people, volunteers and citizens of Nevada,” said Chvilicek. “Almost all of the 4-H youth events and opportunities in our state have been impacted by Karen’s leadership.

Hinton helped create the Nevada 4-H Capital Days in the 1990s, which still exist today and provide young people with the opportunity to meet state officials during the legislative session. Civic engagement was essential for Hinton, who has always encouraged 4-H staff and youth to interact with local decision-makers and put 4-H first. By providing young people with opportunities to talk to local decision-makers, they gained the confidence that they could make a difference at the local level. At the national level, Karen has served as the co-chair of the National 4-H Working Group formed from the Outreach Committee on Organization and Policy to increase the visibility of 4-H with federal lawmakers.

Hinton has forged his staff to assess needs at the local level and collaborate with others to meet those needs. She encouraged 4-H faculty and staff to work with community agencies and organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club and Hispanic Services adolescent leadership programs, to reach underserved youth. In Carson City, when teachers said elementary students needed to learn where their food came from, Hinton encouraged 4-H staff to work with the Nevada Farm Bureau, farmers, and the school district to provide take a field trip to see live animals and hands. -on exhibitions and demonstrations concerning agriculture and food production. The event was dubbed Capital City Farm Days and continues today.

Although Hinton never lost touch with Extension’s roots in agriculture and rural life, she was also one of the first to adopt new technologies to help fulfill Extension’s missions and 4-H, co-founder and chair of the board of “eXtension,” a national website / database where citizens across the country can get their questions answered from extension experts. Hinton brought that same kind of innovation to Nevada, where she secured funding to install interactive video conferencing equipment in every extension office, allowing 4-H staff, youth and volunteers to interact more often. with each other and participate or plan events with little or no travel costs. The technology has also been made available to other groups and organizations across the state, to enable them to conduct their business without incurring travel time and expense.

Throughout his career, Hinton believed that volunteers were at the heart of the 4-H program.

“Karen considered the role of caring adults who worked with young people to be very important and did not see them as ‘just a volunteer’,” said Chvilicek. did our staff, even making sure that we developed official job descriptions for our volunteers.

Perhaps one of Hinton’s greatest passions was Camp 4-H, and specifically Nevada State 4-H Camp, located on the shores of Lake Tahoe in South Lake Tahoe. During her tenure as Dean, she led and oversaw numerous improvements to the buildings and grounds of the camp, including being at the forefront of energy efficient construction, having an energy efficient cabin built at the camp during her tenure. She greatly enjoyed the outdoor educational experience for young people. She structured the camp program with hands-on educational workshops, evening entertainment around a campfire highlighting local history, cooperative games to foster a sense of belonging and training for adult chaperones and adolescent counselors. She also designed an undergraduate and graduate course for adults to receive college credit for volunteering as a chaperone at Camp 4-H.

Hinton has been an active member and at times held leadership positions for many national and regional associations during his career, including NAE4-HYDP, National Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, National Association County Agricultural Agents, Extension Committee on Organization and Policy, Association of Western Extension Directors. Retired, Hinton continues to be a strong supporter of 4-H and the Extension. She currently sits on the Fund Development Committee for the Nevada State 4-H Camp.

About the National 4-H Hall of Fame

The National 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2002 as part of the National Association of 4-H Extension Workers Centennial Project in partnership with the National 4-H Council and National 4-H Headquarters. -H at the USDA. The winners are nominated by their State of origin; National 4-H Council; National Association of Youth Development Professionals of the 4-H Extension; or the Youth and 4-H Division of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. based on their exceptional leadership at local, state, national and international levels. Jeannette Rea Keywood is the Chair of the National 4-H Hall of Fame Committee.

About 4-H

4-H, the largest youth development organization in the country. empowering nearly 6 million young people through more than 100 granting universities and Cooperative Extension in more than 3,000 local offices. Outside of the United States, independent, country-led 4-H organizations empower 1 million young people in more than 50 countries. The National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and the 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Learn more about 4-H, find us on Facebook and on Twitter. For more information about the 4-H programs offered in Nevada communities, contact your local 4-H / Extension office.



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