WESTON, W.Va. — Wirt County native Megan Midcap has been involved in 4H since the age of 10 and is now taking on an even bigger role since becoming Lewis County’s newest Extension Service Agent at the start of July.
“I am really excited for this opportunity, and I can’t wait to get there and meet all of their awesome volunteers and kids in the program,” Midcap said in an appearance on WAJR’s Gary Bowden Show.
Midcap was hired by the WVU Extension Service in 2016 as the cirriculum and outreach coordinator in Preston County, where she worked with a grant-funded program called 4H Life, “which is part of the national 4H mentoring program.
“We started this pilot program at the federal prison at Hazelton, where I taught parenting classes at the mens and womens medium-security prison,” she said.
What Midcap found to be the most rewarding part of the 4H Life program was that those involved were from the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metro area, giving her the opportunity to share 4H with a brand new group of individuals.
“We were able to make connections with them and teach their parents 4H kind of lessons that then when we brought the kids over from D.C., their parents were able to participate with them in an enhanced family visitation day,” she said. “The parents then taught the kids 4H lessons that were focused on stress managed, how to communicate as families, how to manage incarceration and what that affect has on kids.”
Midcap said those families were not only previously uninvolved with 4H but had not been aware of the opportunities available through 4H.
“Most of the people we worked with had no idea about 4H, and what they did think they knew, they thought it was just about animals and agriculture, so this was a good opportunity to show them all that 4H has to offer,” she said.
For Midcap, however, the benefit of 4H is something that was instilled in her throughout her whole life.
Not only was her mother a part of 4H, but Midcap’s grandmother and great-grandmother were once active 4H leaders as well.
“My mom kind of got my brother and I involved at a really young age, and we’ve been in it ever since, but I never dreamed it would take me to where I am now,” she said.
Now, Midcap looks forward to helping not only to lead 4H but help with after-school activities, festivals, camps and all that the WVU Extension Service does in Lewis County.
“I’m really excited to see what is already established with the Lewis County 4H program, to come in and really work with the volunteers and the youth to see where they would like to see the program and go and how I can help facilitate that growth,” she said. “It’s really a lot of working with volunteers and helping the youth visualize what goals that they have and helping them achieve those goals to really maximize the program’s potential.”
Additionally, Midcap will also take over some family programs, consumer science programs, and the Community Educational Outreach Service (CEOS) program.
“We have a couple CEOS clubs here in Preston County and I’ve worked with them a little bit on and off, so I’m excited to work with them,” she said. “They have a really strong program in Lewis, so I’m excited to see what they’re all about and work with them to get a lot of things done.”
Midcap will serve will fellow Extension Agent Bruce Loyd, who she says she’s very excited to learn from.
“He has so much experience working with extension and just in Lewis County, so I’m really excited to see how this works out,” she said.
For those not yet involved in 4H or other WVU Extension Service programs, particularly the youth, Midcap extends words of advice.
“Although a lot of young people have faced a lot of challenges in the world that we live in today, they have so much to offer and they’re really just looking for caring adults to come alongside them and help them,” she said. “I personally think, to realize maybe a goal or an idea they have that maybe they haven’t seen yet and just have people believe in them, that they’re capable of doing really amazing things.”