Blaine County Welcomes Second Extension Agent
April 28, 2021
Blaine County once again has a second Extension Agent. Although March 15 marked Trent Noel's first day on the job in his new role, he is not an unfamiliar face on the Blaine County team. When he came on board after graduating from college in 2018, he served as a Maintenance Assistant in the custodial department under supervisor Brett Zarn, maintaining the Blaine County Courthouse, Blaine County Library, and Blaine County Museum. Now that he has hung up his maintenance tools, Noel will collaborate with current MSU-Extension Ag/4-H Agent, Julianne Snedigar.
Noel and his wife Alicia, who is a sixth grade teacher at Harlem Elementary School, moved to Chinook in the summer of 2018. Since that time, he has gained insight into the town and its residents. As the Family Consumer Science and 4-H Youth Development Agent, Noel expressed excitement at the prospect of getting to know all of the youth in the 4-H program as well as eagerness to begin programming for adults and youth alike.
According to his peer agent, Snedigar, Noel's main duties will be in the Family Consumer Science and 4-H areas. "He will plan and implement programming to meet the needs of the people in our area," Snedigar explained. "Main areas of focus will include the ServSafe program, health and nutrition, wellness, mental health, and family economics. Other areas may come up as constituents get to know Trent and reach out with needs or as we see developing needs in the area."
During a recent interview, Noel stated that he is in the learning phase of his position. In this phase, he is working to determine the community's needs and desires. If any county residents have ideas about what they want to know or learn, Noel encourages them to call the office (357-3200), to stop by for a visit (400 Ohio Street in the Courthouse Annex), or to email him (email@example.com).
In his younger years, Noel participated in 4-H and fair projects. "It is very exciting that these experiences have come full circle and now I get to help other youngsters in the 4-H world. As I said before, I am super excited to get to know everyone and look forward to working with everyone in Blaine County."
When asked what prompted him to move from Maintenance to Extension, Noel replied, "I love being able to help kids and watching them grow. Seeing the impact I can make for kids gives me great joy. From a more professional stand point, this is going to be a great career that will benefit me as a person over the course of my lifetime. I will be able to learn new things and grow myself."
With a month already on the job, Noel described his post as "organized chaos." He chose that term because he has had a lot of new information put in front of him in a short amount of time.
"It has been fun, and I am learning a lot. I have been attending online and in-person trainings where I have met a lot of my fellow MSU-Extension agents across the state. It is very nice to put faces to names and to get to know a little more about the agents. I am starting to attend the local 4-H club meetings, as well, so that I can meet the members and adults in those clubs that I do not know. We have also started getting ready for the fair that is upcoming in August, so I have attended committee meetings and other fair related events," Noel explained.
Born in Montana and raised in Harlem, Noel graduated from Harlem High School in 2014. He went on to attend Montana State University-Northern in Havre, graduating in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering-Technology. He believes that his engineering degree and tech background will serve him well in his current position. "With technology ever-advancing, this is a great background to have. I love woodworking and metal working and have also started vinyl cutting as a side hobby, which is something I can also bring to this job. I also did crocheting and knitting in 4-H, so I do know a little bit about those subjects, but I am willing to learn more."
Because an Extension Agents' primary goal is to provide transformational education for local citizens, Noel has set several goals: "My goals for this job are to put on programming that sparks people's interests and, more importantly, gets them out doing new things and meeting new people. I like to push people outside of their comfort zones to try something new.
"My second goal is to learn new ideas and develop myself. My third goal is to stay relevant. I do not want to get caught up doing the same types of things all the time where nobody learns anything new. It is going to be very important to stay up to date and teach what people want to be taught. This transitions into my fourth goal, which is to challenge myself. I want to challenge myself to learn the most I can to be informative to Blaine County!"
Similarly, Snedigar expressed enthusiasm for having a second agent in the office, calling Noel's presence "a huge benefit to the program." With another team member to develop ideas and to share programming duties, Snedigar is eager to implement some of the projects and programs that are in the works.
"Having Trent here will be great, especially during the summer months when there is so much going on in the 4-H program. Now that we have a full staff, we are going to work hard to get these objectives underway to help better serve the people of the county," Snedigar said.