By Chasity Turner
Stacey Ellison has been named the new associate state program leader for Florida 4-H Youth Development Program at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension. She began her official duties August 1.
Ellison has been involved in 4-H for 32 years, starting as a 4-H member herself. She says her decision to pursue a career in 4-H Youth Development was spurred by the drive to make the opportunities she had as a youth possible for the young people of Florida today.
“I am a 4-H alum whose greatest aspiration was to become a county 4-H agent. I worked at state headquarters as a college student, served as a 4-H volunteer and finally found my way into my first professional 4-H position in 2001. I’m also a 4-H mom,” said Ellison.
She previously served as the 4-H regional specialized agent for the seventeen counties in the Northeast UF/IFAS Extension district and as a county Extension director in Georgia. She has obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, her master’s of agricultural leadership from the University of Georgia and is currently completing her doctorate in Extension education from the University of Florida.
In her most recent professional role, she has increased the visibility of Florida 4-H with her signature Citizenship and Leadership programs. Under her leadership programs such as Florida 4-H Executive Board, 4-H Day at the Capitol and the Florida/4-H Tropicana Public Speaking program have continued to grow and flourish.
With Florida 4-H enrollment increasing at a steady rate, Ellison plans to continue this growth. “I am someone who passionately, and unquestionably, believes Florida 4-H has the potential to be the premiere positive youth development organization anywhere. We already annually reach more than 200,000 youth ages 5 to18 annually. And yet, there is still more to do. There’s still more we can do.”
Ellison believes the quality of Florida’s 4-H faculty, staff and volunteers make it possible to continue moving Florida 4-H forward. “Our talent is unparalleled, our resources are enviable, and our programs are stellar. We have the tools to set the pace for 4-H programs nationally and globally. I’m very humbled and excited to be a part of the program.”