Alum Talks about How WSU 4-H Shaped His World

Nick Jasper started 4-H when he was seven years old and fondly remembers many years building model rockets, giving public presentations, discovering the importance of citizen democracy and raising Suffolk and Hampshire sheep.

Growing up in Benton County, he attended Columbia Basin College and during that time was selected to be a program assistant at the National 4-H Council in Chevy Chase, Md. He also served on the 4-H Know Your Government Planning Committee where his passions for politics and leadership were respected and admired and was a 4-H volunteer and leader for six years. Nick graduated from the University of Washington in 1998 and currently works in Seattle for Progressive Insurance as a Field Claims Trainer in Washington and Alaska.

Nick Jasper4-H: What were your favorite 4-H activities?

Jasper: My favorite 4-H project areas were public presentations and government. Especially as I got older, these subjects were the activities that I enjoyed doing the most. In fact, I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in political science!

What is your greatest memory of 4-H?

The time I spent assisting with the Know Your Government Conference is something I will always remember. I worked with other motivated young adults, dedicated volunteers, and involved parents from all over the state. We worked together to put on what I still think is one of the best conferences that young people can attend.

How did your time in 4-H benefit you as an adult?

4-H taught me how to relate to people who see the world differently than me. The program taught me to respect other people and to value the strengths that a diverse group of people can bring to a project, job or other task. I also learned about financial responsibility, record keeping and other areas that we all must face in our adult lives.

What skills did you learn in 4-H that assist you in your current job?

I think the reason I got this job was due to the skills I learned in 4-H. Presenting in public, leading workshops, keeping subject matter interesting, experiential learning, motivating others and designing curriculum are just a few examples of things that I learned and did while I was in 4-H that make a big difference in my job as a trainer now.

What is your greatest accomplishment since 4-H?

My job has been my greatest accomplishment. I started with Progressive Insurance six years ago as an adjuster and have been the trainer for Washington/Alaska for two years now. Thanks to the skills I learned in 4-H, I have a job that I not only excel at, but truly enjoy.

My experience in 4-H really helped shape my world — even today. The “life skills” that leaders in 4-H talk about are not just idle words – they are real – and learning them early on helped me build a strong foundation to be successful in life as an adult.