Alice Ayers has an extensive history with 4-H. She started out as a 4-H/Home Economics Extension Agent in Mountain City, TN. She then came into the University of Florida Lake County Extension in 1968 until her retirement in 1992. She managed the 4-H youth development program, serving over 5000 youth and leaders during her career. After retirement, Alice served in a volunteer role as a club organizational leader with the Howey-Do-It’s and Lake County 4-H Foundation president.
Alice was involved in more than 4-H, she participated in many citizenship activities by working closely with Kiwanis, local hospitals, Howey-in-the-Hills Garden and Civic Club, Lake Association for Home and Community Education, and Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority. Those who were close to Alice valued her loyalty and quiet, balanced nature. When she was not volunteering her time; Alice enjoyed sewing, weaving, bread making, and scrapbooking.
People come and go in a lifetime but few people leave a lasting impact on a community. Alice Marie Blackburn Ayers left many memories and continues to make an impact on the Lake County community. Alice Ayers was recently inducted in the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame August 2017 due to the impact she made in Lake County. The Florida 4-H Hall of Fame was founded in 2002 during 4-H’s centennial year to honor outstanding individuals who have contributed to the 4-H youth development movement in Florida. Alice Ayers personified the 4 H’s of Head, Heart, Health, and Hands with the influence she had on the youth and residents of Lake County.
Other recognitions of Alice Ayers include a bench dedicated in the Discovery Gardens at the Lake County Extension Office. On March 25, 2017 the Lake County Board of County Commissioners, the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension in Lake County, and 4-H dedicated a garden bench in memory of 4-H Agent Alice B. Ayers.
By Dallas Daniels, Lake County 4-H agent