PULLMAN, Wash. – For the first time ever, a teen-ager will be leading the Washington State 4-H Advisory Board. Seventeen-year-old Jessica Ubachs has been elected president of the organization.
Leadership has always come natural for Ubachs, who has been involved in Washington State University Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program since her childhood days.
“In kindergarten, I started out working with 4-H showing rabbits, pigs, dogs, and mini horses,” Ubachs said. “4-H quickly grew to become a passion of mine.”
Ubachs followed this passion, and in seventh grade, she was chosen to represent Asotin County as a County Teen Representative.
“The step from just showing animals to a position of leadership is a step everyone should experience,” said Ubachs. “The feeling of being heard and knowing that you can easily make a difference if you put your mind to it kept me wanting more.”
Ubachs continued her involvement in leadership positions in high school.
“The fall of my freshman year I decided to go for a ‘big’ position, a position as Washington State 4-H Ambassador,” said Ubachs. “The two years I served as a State Ambassador for the southeast district of Washington made a huge impact on my life.”
Ubachs, currently a senior at Clarkston High School in Clarkston, Wash., wanted to try something different for her last two years of high school. As a result, she ran for a teen position on the Washington State 4-H Advisory Board.
“Presidency was a decision I made knowing it was a great opportunity to not only further my own skills, but to continue building on the ‘youth-adult partnership’ idea,” said Ubachs. “The biggest question for me was not ‘Why did I do it?’ but more, ‘Why not have a youth run for an office position?’ I believe in the board’s purpose, so I really wanted to continue carrying it out.”
Ubachs said the 4-H program has made a bigger difference in her life than anything else she has been involved in.
“4-H has given me the skills that I use at CHS DECA competitions, while talking to legislators, and just in my everyday life,” said Ubachs. “The adults I have worked with will be life-long mentors of mine and many other young people’s lives. At the end of the day my biggest goal is to make a difference, just as I have done while working with 4-H.”
In addition to her involvement with 4-H, Ubachs is a member of the advanced band- the CHS Wind Ensemble, a member of the CHS chapter of DECA-An Association of Marketing Students, a member of the Asotin County Youth Commission, and a member of the Washington State Legislative Youth Advisory Council. Even with all of these things on her plate, Ubachs is still thinking about what the future holds for her.
“I have been looking into and have applied to several colleges,” said Ubachs. “I’ve been working hard with the scholarship process and I pray that I find some good funding and a good college.”
Ubachs is considering pursuing law and business in college. She would someday like to run for office, whether it is at the local, state, or federal level.
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