By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Blayne Arthur, an Oklahoma State University graduate with a degree in agricultural economics, recently returned to OSU to become the executive director of the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation.
Arthur is a Grady County native who grew up as a 4-H member. She looks forward to once again being involved in the Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development program.
“I’m excited to be a part of the Foundation and I see a lot of potential for the 4-H program,” Arthur said. “I’m looking forward to engaging with the county offices and club members and hearing about their ideas, increasing awareness for both the Foundation and 4-H, as well as looking for ways to increase financial support for the 4-H program are some of my goals.”
Arthur plans to accomplish these goals by meeting directly with donors along with Oklahoma 4-H Ambassadors who can share their personal stories about the organization.
“Donors need to hear firsthand how 4-H has influenced the lives of these youth,” she said. “This will help us foster existing relationships and help build new connections.”
Before returning to OSU, Arthur worked for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry. She later served as deputy commissioner for Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese working with agricultural commodity groups to develop policy.
Arthur hopes this experience will help her to raise awareness about 4-H and the positive impact the organization has on Oklahoma youth.
“I hope to get those individuals not as familiar with 4-H more interested in supporting the organization,” she said.
The Oklahoma 4-H Foundation began in 1961 when a friend of 4-H wanted to remember the Oklahoma 4-H clubs in his will. The Foundation has been doing great work ever since and thousands of Oklahoma youth have benefitted from the educational scholarship the Foundation provides.
Each year during State 4-H Roundup, more than $100,000 is awarded to state record book winners and scholarship applicants.
For more than half a century, the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation has provided educational scholarships to club members. In addition, thanks to the new Rule of Law fund, some new travel scholarships also are available to 4-H’ers to assist with expenses to attend events such as Citizenship Washington Focus.
“The trips 4-H’ers can take provide club members with a great opportunity to expand their knowledge, all while seeing different parts of the country,” Arthur said. “We’re excited to be able to start offering these travel scholarships in addition to the educational scholarships.”
This year 15 Oklahoma 4-H’ers have been awarded a total of $6,400 to help pay for expenses associated with participating in 4-H trips such as the Citizenship Washington Focus, the Denver National Roundup, the National 4-H Congress, and the 4-H Outdoor Adventure.
“Thanks to the work of Foundation board member Terry Stowers, Rule of Law funds will be available for many years to come to assist 4-H members as they pursue activities across the nation and strive for excellence,” she said.
The Foundation, which functions as the primary vehicle for private fund development to support programs, scholarships, awards and activities, also works to increase public awareness of the many benefits of 4-H as a whole.
“I’m very excited to be part of such a wonderful youth-development organization and I’m looking forward to meeting those who have so generously supported the Foundation and establishing new relationships as well,” she said.