New 4H coordinator Rebecca McCafferty is world traveler

By Robin Miller • Last Updated 8:54 pm on Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rebecca McCafferty is the new 4-H coordinator for Ionia and Montcalm counties. She volunteered for the Peace Corps for two years in Togo, West Africa, where she worked with farmers to improve farming techniques and food security, as well as educated youths through camps and training.

STANTON— 4-H continues to be an important part of Rebecca McCafferty’s life as the new Michigan State University (MSU) Extension 4-H program instructor for youth development in Ionia and Montcalm counties.

McCafferty will divide her time between the two counties to recruit, interview and orient new volunteers and leaders, help with the fair and promote 4-H club activities and events.

MSU Montcalm Extension Educator Pat Dignum believes McCafferty is a good fit for the job.

“I am excited about the skills and experiences that Rebecca brings to this position,” Dignum said.

McCafferty’s desire to help people was inspired by her own involvement in 4-H when she was younger.

“I loved doing 4-H as a kid,” McCafferty said. “It had a huge impact on the decisions I have made since then. I feel so lucky to have this job with 4-H, doing and promoting and teaching the things I love and am passionate about every day. I hope to bring that joy and desire to help the kids of Montcalm and Ionia counties.”

In addition to being in 4-H for seven years in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, McCafferty went to Japan during the summer of 2001 through a 4-H exchange program. This experience – as well as other civic and service projects – helped McCafferty develop a sense of responsibility to the community and the entire globe.

“I think, as an ever-growing global economy, a better, richer understanding of different cultures and societies makes youth more prepared to participate and contribute to the economy,” she said. “I want to bring cultural learning to the 4-H community, as well as promoting and recruiting to continue our community service efforts.”

After graduating from Albion College in 2009, where she earned degrees in history and environmental studies, McCafferty spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa. She worked with farmers in a small village in Northern Togo to improve farming techniques and food security while educating village youths through camps and on-site training. Serving as a natural resources specialist to the villagers, Rebecca worked on a variety of projects, including teaching the natives how to build a sustainable toilet.

McCafferty plans to include more environmental education in local 4-H programs. She believes this will teach young people a new way to think about the world.

”It (environmental education) is something that has always been important to me,” McCafferty said. “I always try to tie an environmental aspect into things that I teach; whether it’s calculating someone’s carbon footprint to discussing ways we can conserve and protect our precious resources.”

For more information about Montcalm and Ionia county 4-H clubs and programs, contact McCafferty at

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