4-H Association gathers in Selma for conference

Published 12:29 am Wednesday, August 12, 2009

John Hoomes, a 4-H leader who covers the Black Belt region including Dallas County, believes community and sharing makes him more effective in his job.

Hoomes is one of about 50 4-H leaders who will attend the 30th annual meeting of the Alabama Association of Extension 4-H Agents that begins this afternoon at the St. James Hotel in Selma.

Attending the conference is part of Hoomes’ professional development. Hoomes is a new 4-H leader. He said he looks forward to sharing ideas, especially with those leaders and agents who have years of experience.

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“I believe when people share ideas that’s when an organization makes progress,” Hoomes said.

Hoomes has yet to join the association. He says he will soon, but the next three days of conference will provide an opportunity for him to learn more about the organization.

“In the meantime, it’s nice to get everybody together,” Hoomes said. “There’s not too much time to do that.”

Callie Nelson, president of the association and Dallas County extension coordinator, said the meeting will help other more experienced leaders through a series of workshops and meetings.

“Professional development is a gradual process of shaping one’s career through association with like-minded colleagues, community organizations, industry and clientele,” she said.

The session today will open at 2 p.m. with state Treasurer Kay Ivey as the keynote speaker. Ivey is a Camden native and 1967 graduate of Auburn University who began a career as a school-teacher, then became an officer with Merchants National Bank in Mobile.

After stints as an assistant hospital administrator and several state jobs that included reading clerk for the Alabama House of Representatives, Ivey was elected in 2002 to her first term in office. She was re-elected in 2006. Ivey is planning to run as a Republican for governor in 2010.

Association business will take up the rest of the day before the group goes to Sturdivant Hall for storytelling by Linda Vice, director of Southwest Alabama Tourism and Films.

“We’re looking forward to three days of work and entertainment with our tours of the Black Belt,” Nelson said.