McTague named State 4-H Volunteer of the Year
Thursday, June 30, 2022
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When Jayme McTague’s family moved to Ada, she knew she wanted her kids involved in the Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development program. After a trip to the Pontotoc County Fair and a visit to the local Oklahoma State University Extension office, she learned Ada didn’t have an active club at that time.
Through hard work and determination, McTague got an active program going in the Ada community. That dedication over the last seven years to Oklahoma 4-H was recognized recently when McTague was named the 2022 State 4-H Volunteer of the Year at the 4-H Parent/Volunteer Conference at OSU in Stillwater. This award is presented to volunteer leaders with less than 10 years of service. She was also recognized as the Southeast District Volunteer of the Year and the Pontotoc County Volunteer of the Year.
“I’m a 4-H alumna, and my parents were my leaders. I had such a positive experience as a 4-H’er that I knew it was something I wanted for my own kids,” McTague said. “It’s the best organization in the country. I had so many amazing opportunities due to my involvement — winning trips to Denver and Washington, D.C., and attending State 4-H Roundup — I wanted to give my kids and other kids those same opportunities.”
With support from her family, she helped build a successful program in Ada. Her parents encouraged her along the way, and McTague is incorporating into the program some of the things they did as leaders years ago.
McTague said the journey to establish a club wasn’t always smooth sailing, and part of the effort involved teaching people about 4-H and OSU Extension.
“When we first started seven years ago, there were about four kids who showed up. But we just kept going, and now, we’ve grown to about 30 club members,” she said. “It’s fun to see these children who didn’t really even know what 4-H was grow and build confidence in themselves.”
Pontotoc County 4-H’er Lexi Jacobs said McTague is known for cheering on club members.
“She comes to watch us show our pigs. Jayme also helps us learn life skills,” Jacobs said. “We get to work in the concession stand during livestock shows, and during our volunteer hours, we learn things like the proper way to serve customers, the correct way to count money back and how to positively represent Ada 4-H by making eye contact and being polite.”
“She gets right in there and works alongside people. She’s such a motivator to people,” Walker said. “She can make you believe you can do anything and encourages people by being right alongside them. One thing I really love about Jayme is that she not only thoroughly supports her own kids 4-H work, but she is supportive and encouraging, and loves to be part of other 4-H members’ projects and activities.”
Walker said serving the community has always been a priority for McTague and her 4-H members. Some of their activities include making motivational signs to hang in the Ada Washington Grade Center, filling stockings for Mama T’s Homeless Shelter, collecting blankets and pet toys for PAWS, donating clothing to help stock Ada Public Schools’ clothes closets and making bedtime bags for the Ada Youth Shelter.
Not only does McTague serve as the club leader, she has also been a die-hard camp chaperone, according to Walker. She encourages campers to try new things and runs to the store to pick up items that didn’t get packed.
“I don’t think she knows how appreciative I am of her excitement to help me with workshops and to just be at camp to play the mom role to so many,” Walker said. “She gets right in there and participates along with the kids. I’m excited to walk this journey with Jayme.”
And it’s easy to see McTague’s enthusiasm for her role.
“Being a 4-H volunteer brings me a lot of joy,” she said. “I love seeing the members come in, grow in the experience and discover their own special talents. We’re here to help them grow, and I’m glad I get to be part of that.”