In June 2020, Justin Crowe fulfilled a lifelong dream when he became the Director and State 4-H Program Leader. He is the 10th director since the program’s beginning in 1910.

“My goal from the 4th grade was to become a 4-H Agent,” Crowe says. “When I got into high school and was exposed to state programs, I knew early on that I wanted to be the State 4-H Leader. But my number one goal is to give back and serve the program.”

Crowe grew up in rural McNairy County with two hardworking parents. After high school, he earned his bachelor’s degree in behavioral sciences from Freed Hardeman University. During his career, he also earned his master’s degree in education from Tennessee Technological University.

His first job with the University of Tennessee Extension was in Davidson County as an agent. He says that was a defining moment for him in his career because he had to work so diligently to grow that program and make sure all students had access to 4-H. From there, he moved to the State 4-H Youth Development Office to serve as Extension Specialist, and then earlier this year, reached his greatest goal of being hired as the State Program Leader.

Crowe was younger than 40 when he assumed the role of state leader, and is the youngest to take on the role in the history of Tennessee 4-H.

“For me, it is so exciting,” he says. “For me to be so young, it means that I have so much time left. I have plenty of years to serve and help our program grow, adapt and continue to be strong.”

Crowe says he is inspired by those who came before him. He has always wanted to serve the organization like they did – and to give back and pay it forward to the next generation. He says, “All those in this role before me laid the framework and molded me into the person I am.”

– By Hannah Nave Lewis