After 30 years of serving as the MU Extension field specialist in 4-H youth development, Dave Hileman is passing the torch to recent University of Missouri-Columbia graduate Tanner Adkins.

Adkins began primarily serving the Franklin and Gasconade counties March 1. He is responsible for coordinating the 4-H Club programs and other Extension youth development efforts in both counties.

One of Adkins’ first goals is to meet the club members and leaders. He’s also ready to get to know the youth in the county.

“I see a lot of opportunity to bring new youth in student leadership, especially among teens,” he said.

Hileman has moved into a new position as MU Extension field specialist in human development and family science where he serves the 17-county East Central region. Franklin County has never had a field specialist in human development and family science stationed here before.

“I’m a little excited and nervous,” he said. “There are a lot of new programs I’m learning.”

When Hileman first started, the Extension served only one county.

Hileman will continue to offer court-ordered parent education classes for families with minor age children who file a custody case and other parent education opportunities. He also will provide child care provider education classes to help meet clock hours needed for licensed facilities and courses to help people manage chronic illness.

Additionally, Hileman will provide help to seniors to manage their balance to prevent falls and help couples build and maintain healthy relationships.

“I like to tell people it was time to play with kids my own age,” Hileman said of his new older audience.

The move to a new specialist position was a no-brainer for Hileman. With his experience and new position keeping him located in the Union office, he will be able to help Adkins when needed.

“I don’t think you can do anything for 30 years and not get a little stale at it,” said Hileman, who is excited about his new role.

Hileman also is hopeful that by bringing someone new in that it will bring new energy and new ideas to the table.

Adkins has already made some changes, such as posting videos to Facebook. Hileman noted using Facebook never occurred to him.

“I’m already seeing (how) his use of social media will help build the program,” he said.

Hileman said the best advice he can give Adkins is to respect the children and make them feel important to the program.

“Treat all adults like they’re older than you and treat the kids as adults,” Hileman has advised Adkins. “Kids are our clients too.”