Inside her office at the Sampson County Extension Office, Amanda Bradshaw sat in front of a computer and sorted through thousands of 4-H pictures.
“That’s one of the things I’m working on this week, getting all of these pictures off my computer and onto CDs,” Bradshaw said. “It’s going to be here for whoever comes here 15, 25 , 30 or 50 years from now. There’s a lot of history on those pictures.”
The discs will be passed on to the next extension agent for 4-H Youth Development. After seven years as an extension agent, Bradshaw is ready to begin a new journey.
Her last official day is today.
Bradshaw recently accepted a position with Sampson Community College as the Small Business Center director. Her new duties will include helping small businesses and assisting the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce to set up educational opportunities. Some of her other duties include one-on-one counseling with people about small businesses and helping them with their needs.
While taking a stroll down memory lane with the pictures, Bradshaw reflected on her time with Cooperative Extension and 4-H.
“These kids grow up and I think that’s one of the things that I’ve enjoyed this week,” Bradshaw said. “I’ve gone through these pictures and seen that they were some little kids, but now they are teenagers. Some of them have even graduated from college.”
Bradshaw said she’ll miss working with Extension families, Extension agents and different challenges that came her way.
“I know there will be challenges at Sampson Community College with the different clients that come in,” she said. “With Extension, there’s never two days that are the same. Everyday is always different.”
The new challenges at SCC are something she’s looking forward to.
She began working with the local Cooperative Extension office in 2010 after serving the Duplin location for more than two years as a 4-H program assistant.
Bradshaw grew up on a family farm in Duplin County, where she currently resides with her husband, Kevin and her daughter, Cooper.
“I think it’s a great thing that I’m from two communities,” she said. “The people of Sampson County have really accepted me. It’s hard to divide the line sometimes.”
After graduating from high school, Bradshaw attended Mount Olive College, where she earned a degree in business administration. Prior to her work with Extension, she worked at the Old Courthouse Nursery in Warsaw and opened a florist business, which she later sold.
The new job at the college will allow her to spend time with her daughter who just started kindergarten at L.C. Kerr School. She’s looking forward to helping her with her homework.
“That gives me more of an opportunity to be there to support her and be there when she needs me,” Bradshaw said. “I only get that time once, so I’m trying to soak it up as much as I can.”
Bradshaw said she has worked with a great team of people at Extension and the 4-H development department, who will help fill her void.
“We have great volunteers that will be helping in this transition,” she said.
County Extension Director Eileen Coite said she hates to see Bradshaw go.
“She’s given tremendous leadership to the overall program, which is a very large program,” Coite said. “We’re excited about her having this opportunity. We wish her the best. I’m sure she’ll be successful in everything she does.”
Coite said the Extension is facing organizational changes in the future and will hire a replacement in the future.
Charmae Kendall, 4-H program assistant, said Bradshaw has been a reliable leader for the past four years.
“She is a great problem solver and is able to think outside the box,” Kendall said. “We wish her the best as she starts her new position at the Community College.”
As Bradshaw looked at the pictures, she pulled up one taken on Aug. 22,2011. It featured her and Kaylee Lackey, who just turned 5 at that time. Kaylee attended 4-H in the shadows of her older sister.
“All she wanted for her birthday was to come in and join 4-H,” Bradshaw said, smiling at the picture. “She came in and we had her paperwork ready.”
Kaylee is now 8 and is still involved in 4-H.
“She rocking and rolling now,” Bradshaw said. “That just tells the story of what we do here.”