Getting Personal: Jamie Boas

Getting Personal: Jamie Boas

Each week, we offer a Q&A with a local personality. Today, 36-year-old rural Pesotum resident JAMIE BOAS, a 4-H youth development educator in Piatt and DeWitt counties for University of Illinois Extension, chats with staff writer Paul Wood. Boas earned a bachelor's degree in health studies from Eastern Illinois University and a master's in public health with an emphasis in behavior science and health education from St. Louis University.

Where did you grow up and what did you want to be?

I grew up on a farm between Philo and Tolono. Growing up I wanted to be a teacher.

Were you in 4-H as a kid? What did you learn from that experience?

I was a 10-year 4-H'er. The main thing I learned was confidence to speak to groups of people. I gave my high school graduation speech and I credit my ability to do that to my time in 4-H.

What interests you most right now?

I'm most interested in engaging youth, teens and their families in 4-H clubs and programs, especially those that have never heard of 4-H or think it's only for farm kids. I promote 4-H everywhere I go because the benefits to youth and families are endless and, most importantly, it's fun.

Tell us about your family.

I've been married to my husband, Tom, for 5 1/2 years and we have two daughters, Aubrey, 3 1/2, and Mackenzie, 11 months. I'm busy just living the dream!

You took five years of German in high school and college. What attracted you to that language?

One of my 4-H projects as a kid was to learn about my family heritage, and I found out my dad's side was from Germany. I have always been interested in genealogy so I was excited to take German in high school.

You won a three-week, all-expenses-paid trip to Germany from Mercedes-Benz when you were 16 years old. What kind of things did you do there?

We toured several Mercedes-Benz factories, stayed with a host family for a week, met then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the American Embassy, and ate tons of amazing food while we traveled between five cities.

You've said elsewhere that your best advice is to take every opportunity that you can to learn, grow and travel. How has that developed in your own life?

Much of my life revolves around my girls now so I want them to learn by doing as much as I did growing up. I love taking them to the zoo, playgrounds, children's museums and our neighbor's farm to feed animals.

What's something almost nobody knows about you?

I love flying, but I have a fear of open heights, like on a roof or a grain bin. I will avoid tall ladders at all cost.

Do you have a "guilty pleasure," and what is it?

I can't resist a piece of white cake, especially at a wedding reception.

Where on Earth are you dying to go? Why?

Anywhere there is a warm beach because I love the sound of the waves and collecting shells.

What's your favorite sports team?

Go Cubbies!

Who are your favorite musicians, and why?

Garth Brooks, Gary Allan and Eric Church because they are just good ol' country boys singing about life.

What's the happiest memory of your life?

I have three: getting married and when Aubrey and Kenzie were born. Hands down the most important people in my life.

What's your best piece of advice?

The world is all about who you know, so always be respectful and kind because you never know who you'll meet and connect with.

What was your first job, and how much did you make an hour?

Walking beans for my dad for $5 an hour.

What was a pivotal decision in your career, and how did you arrive at that decision?

When I was in St. Louis, I realized I was not a city girl and I really liked working with people (and not in a cube). Best decision I made was accepting a job with University of Illinois Extension. I've been here 11 years and I'm lucky enough to have found my real passion in youth development.

How do you handle a stressful situation?

I face it head-on by organizing and taking charge. That's my way of having control over a situation.

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