Beginning April 1, 2021, Candler County 4-H’ers will have a new leader. She is Susannah Martin Lanier, 4-H agent for Candler County.
Since February 2021, Lanier has been County Extension coordinator for Candler County and has been splitting her time between the Bulloch County and Candler County Cooperative Extension offices.
Lanier replaces Angie Daughtry, who retired from the Candler County Cooperative Extension in 2019.
Lanier has a long history with 4-H. She grew up in Bulloch County’s 4-H program.
“My first experience in 4-H involved showing livestock,” she tells. Growing up in the Brooklet area of Bulloch County, Lanier began showing sheep and pigs and later graduated to showing cattle.
Through the livestock program, Lanier learned to love 4-H and became an involved club member.
She regularly participated in 4-H programs such as Project Achievement and Consumer Judging. She even participated in a program that took her to Washington, D.C., to learn more about her nation’s capital and government. That was Citizenship Washington Focus, the National 4-H Council’s premier leadership and citizenship program for high school students.
Says Lanier, “I had a core group of friends and we were all really involved in 4-H, so that made it fun for all of us.”
Another 4-H program that Lanier has fond memories of is the 4-H shooting program. She was on the BB and air rifle teams while coming up through 4-H.
“A special memory I have of being a part of Project SAFE is travelling to Newnan, Georgia, to shoot at the Olympic course,” she explains.
A highlight of that trip was staying at Camp Fulton, now called the Truitt 4-H Center. Located in South Fulton County, it is the only urban 4-H camp, located only four miles from the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. For a young girl from rural Bulloch County, everything about this trip was exciting.
Lanier is a Master 4-H’er, meaning that she qualified to be one of the best of the best during her 4-H years.
“I didn’t become a Master through the route most club members expect,” she states. “I received one of the 4-H Foundation Scholarships which also gave me Master status,” she adds.
After graduation from Southeast Bulloch High School, Lanier attended the University of Georgia where she majored in Agribusiness, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree. After that she earned the Master’s degree in Agriculture Leadership, also from UGA. “I am what is called a ‘Double Dawg,’” she says proudly.
For several years after finishing college, Lanier taught agriculture at her old high school. Having also been an active member of Future Farmers of America (FFA), this was a good fit.
“As advisor to the SEB FFA, I had several very successful students who achieved awards all the way up to the national level,” she admits. She left the classroom after a time and has been a 4-H agent in Bulloch County for three and a half years.
Lanier brings all of her experiences to the Candler County 4-H office and has some big plans for the program.
“My short-term goal is to meet the community,” she explains. She will begin with visits to the local schools and making contact with the administrations to determine the best route to getting 4-H up and running in Candler County. She acknowledges that with her starting her new position so late in the school year, most of her time will be spent planning for the 2021-2022 academic year.
In the meantime, she is also making plans for summer programs for local club members. She brings with her a new energy and a desire to help kids learn new things.
Lanier has already scheduled a “get acquainted” evening with members of the senior 4-H Club. That meeting will be on Wednesday, April 7, at 5 p.m. in the Cooperative Extension Conference Room.
The plan is for the elder club members to help their new agent determine a plan for moving 4-H forward.
Another event upcoming for Candler County 4-H members is Project Achievement. Despite not having an agent in place, Lanier is proud that four sixth graders submitted video presentations for 2021’s virtual Project Achievement. Those participants and their new leader are now awaiting results. The older 4-H’ers, some who have participated in District Project Achievement for up to nine years, are preparing their projects not knowing whether their DPA will be virtual or in person at Rock Eagle 4-H Center.
Either way, their DPA won’t be “normal” because the event, usually scheduled in February, has been moved to Memorial Day.
The mention of Rock Eagle brings to mind 4-H Camp experiences.
Says Lanier, “DPA will set the tone for all that happens with in-person events, such as camps.”
She, like all Cloverleaf, Junior and Senior 4-H club members, is keeping her fingers crossed on the issue of camp.
Whatever happens, she knows that camp will “look different” than before. At the present time, none of the 4-H Centers are open for overnight events.
Lanier explains, “The Cooperative Extension has to make policies that are statewide. The program in Fulton County (Atlanta) looks very different than our Candler County program.”
A hiccup to the whole camp issue is fitting everyone into the facilities while following Covid protocols such as limits on numbers of people inside of buildings and maintaining social distancing.
In kick-starting 4-H after a year of little activity and leadership, Lanier says she will start small. She expects to begin seeing more people in the 4-H office. She anticipates focusing on agriculture and leadership, including areas such as healthy living.
Key to her success on the job will be meeting the needs of the community. To determine what the community wants and needs, Lanier will rely on her local Advisory Board and the stakeholders of the program.
Among other events, Lanier hopes to reintroduce the BB team to Candler County and has coaches in place ready to get busy with shooting sports.
After living in Candler County for 12 years, Lanier looks forward to having everyone in her family in the same place.
“It’s the first time that all of us have been stationed in Metter,” she laughs.
The Lanier family is made up of her husband, Luke Lanier, who works at Metter Bank, and their three sons. Charlie is in kindergarten at Metter Elementary School and will soon be 6 years old. His younger brothers, 3-year-old Emmett and 16-month-old James, are in daycare.
Lanier’s office is located in the Candler County Office Building located at 1075 East Hiawatha Street. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. until noon and from 1-4 p.m. The telephone number is 912-685-9774.
4-H is available for any student fourth grade and up. To find out more about 4-H opportunities, contact Candler County’s new agent, Susannah Lanier.