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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for June 2010

Photo: Beverly SparksBeverly Sparks, Associate Dean for Extension, 706/542-3824, caesext@uga.edu

Extension colleagues:

Summer 2010 is off to a blazing start! The process called Review of County Operations-Refining the County Delivery Model has been proceeding rapidly. Thanks to each of you for your participation in one of the many listening sessions held across the state in May and early June. Listening sessions with our employees have been completed and we are now in the process of getting input from funding partners and key stakeholder groups. To stay informed on where we are in the process, please check the website on Review of County Operations.

News items since the last issue of Extension E-News:

In May, I joined the Walk Georgia task force debriefing on the 2010 spring session and heard the data and feedback received from participants in the program. To date we've had more than 22,000 participants log 2 million miles worth of physical activity. Now we'd like to hear from you about the direction we take future Walk Georgia programs. Task force members need your input and would appreciate everyone taking a couple of minutes to answer five questions related to your participation in Walk Georgia. Expect to receive a survey request from your district directors by the end of June.

Have you checked out CAES on Facebook? CAES' new Facebook page is a lively community of folks who care about CAES and agriculture in Georgia. With more than 750 fans, the page is a great way to communicate with an involved and enthusiastic audience. To join, go to http://www.facebook.com/UGACAES.

UGA is transitioning to a new email system on June 27. Your email addresses will not change. If you use software programs like Outlook or Pegasus to manage your email, you must make setting changes for these packages to continue to send and receive email. If you have not done so, read and follow the County Office / Research Ctr. Guide to UGA Email Changes instructions that were distributed to everyone on May 26. If you do not have a copy of these instructions, you may download them at OIT's website. Starting in July, online training opportunities will be announced for those wanting to learn more about the capabilities of the new email and collaboration system.

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Tony Tyson addresses the importance of county funding to the overall Extension budget.
  • More than 9,000 4-Hers will attend camp this summer and Arch Smith provides information on the history of our summer camping program.
  • Don't miss the final Extension E-News message from Jorge Atiles. Best wishes to Jorge in his new position at Oklahoma State University!
  • Steve Brown gives an update on a new procedure being used by departmental Extension coordinators and agents to prioritize needs of ANR educational programs.
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County Operations

Photo: Tony TysonTony Tyson, Director of Extension County Operations, 706/542-1060, coopext@uga.edu

How important is county support of Extension programs?

In recent weeks, we have held several listening sessions with employees and stakeholders to discuss the future of county Extension delivery in Georgia. One topic that has come up over and over is the importance of maintaining the support of local county governments for Extension programs.

Some of the concern has most likely been driven by Extension reorganization efforts in other states. These reorganizations have resulted in more regionalization, and in some cases, states deciding to forego local Extension funding. One recent example is the reorganization that is currently happening in Illinois Extension. According to their Interim Director Bob Hoeft, they will reorganize into 30 multi-county groups and as a result, "the University will not take county-generated funding for Extension."

What would be the impact of such a move in Georgia? As we stated in the recent listening sessions, we receive 28 percent of our total Extension budget from county governments (county commissions and boards of education). The total funds received from counties in fiscal year 2009 were $22.9 million. Obviously, the counties provide a significant portion of salary and benefits for county Extension employees. They also provide office space, travel funds and operating funds for our local offices. In my opinion, we simply cannot afford to lose these resources!

If we operate on the premise that we must maintain our county support, then that will impact many of the decisions we make in the next couple of months as to how we operate in the future. In the next few weeks, we will be seeking input from both county officials and school officials. One of our goals is to find out what will be required from us to ensure their continued support of our programs.

We know we must be able to show our relevance to the county governments and school systems. They are facing difficult budget decisions like everyone else, and we must illustrate that we are a good investment for their future growth. The county administrator and deputy county administrator from Sarasota County, Florida recently wrote an article titled What Does the Future of Cooperative Extension Hold?. In the article they state, "If the role of Extension in the future doesn’t include adding measurable economic value to the community, then resources will quickly be redirected to those services that do enhance local economies."

Whatever changes are in store for us in the future, we in Georgia must continue to communicate our value to our local stakeholders. We have a tremendous wealth of support and goodwill at the county level, but we must work hard everyday to continue to earn that support.
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Agriculture and Natural Resources

Photo: Steve Brown Steve Brown, ANR State Program Leader, 706/542-1060, astdext@uga.edu

What do ANR agents need from academic departments and units?

To some, it may seem that the daily life of a county agent and the academic environment of the main campus are totally unrelated. We in Extension know that is not the case. County agents represent UGA in their communities and they are backed up by expertise from various academic departments and units. With regard to Agriculture and Natural Resources, it is my job to make sure the connection between academic departments and units stays strong and agent needs are met. Agent support can come in many forms. It may be agent training programs, publications, websites, reference materials, visual aids, etc.

In these times of limited resources, there are many holes in our programming and we have to realize that it will be impossible to meet all of the diverse needs of county operations. However, it is more important than ever to prioritize those needs and make sure agents have what they need to make the biggest impact in local programming.

In the past, we have attempted to assess what those needs are via an annual survey. Unfortunately, that process has become less and less helpful. When faced with yet another survey to fill out, many ANR agents failed to convey in writing those things that would make their life easier. Therefore, we have initiated verbal communication (via Wimba) between agents and departmental Extension coordinators.

The Department of Plant Pathology graciously volunteered to be the guinea pig for a trial run. Both agents and the department feel the process was helpful in planning future efforts. We have now begun an aggressive schedule of Wimba sessions with other departments and hope to have them all completed before Program Planning Week in September. At that event, the ANR PDCs and I will meet with each department and unit and devise plans to deliver on the highest priority agent needs.

If called upon, please participate in the appropriate sessions and convey your ideas about how we can make our extremely successful county delivery system work even better.

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Family and Consumer Sciences

Photo: Jorge AtilesJorge Atiles, FACS State Program Leader, 706/542-4860, jhatiles@uga.edu

Thank you Extension family

When I first came to UGA in 1993 I never thought that Georgia was going to become our family home for 17 years. I have had a wonderful career with UGA Cooperative Extension and have made great long lasting friendships at CAES, FACS and many other units on campus. I am most proud of that I was able to see and love Georgia through the eyes of our county agents.

Together we have gone through a lot of changes, whether it was reshaping programs, reducing the numbers of districts, clustering, downsizing or upsizing. You name it, we have seen it done. What has never changed is the true commitment to making a difference in people's lives across the state and across the world.

As we embark in a new process to evaluate our county delivery system, UGA Extension is responding to a new budgetary reality and also to how universities have changed. Today, people expect a certain value from higher education. I will always argue that Extension provides incredible value to all who are touched by it. Our challenge now is to educate non-Extension users on why they should care about having a viable, healthy and well-staffed Extension service in Georgia.

In FACS, we have sharpened our programming efforts. We have "logic modeled" excessively, created impact and evaluation tools and have truly used our ELS systems to help guide our future programs. We have really focused on outcomes that matter and make a difference. The next step is to go back to our users, and non-users, and have them help us figure out how we should be delivering these critical programs. Ultimately, that will help determine which structure we should follow in the coming decade.

Growth will certainly come again and new agent positions will be secured. But what should those positions look like? Now is the time to decide those things. Think of the state of FACS Extension positions. The majority of the workforce is grant-funded when compared to state/county funded agents. That is how we have grown. But, deciding how to make it sustainable in the current structure is important to address in any new delivery model.

As I say goodbye in this, my final Extension FACS column, I not only thank you for all that you do but also urge you to stay the course. This is what will become a historical time in the future of UGA Extension. You will want to be a part of it. So continue to provide feedback, think out of the box and reach out to stakeholders.

I will miss you, no doubt. But I know I will see you again as I remain involved in Extension and in the Southern Region. I take great memories from Georgia that will never allow me to forget the many years of service we've had together. As always, my doors remain always open to you, no matter where life or work takes me.

THANK YOU!

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4-H and Youth Development

Photo: Arch SmithArch Smith, Interim 4-H & Youth Development State Program Leader, 706/542-4H4H, asmith@uga.edu

Summer camp is an essential part of lifelong learning

Winter and spring of 2010 have proven to be very exciting and eventful for Georgia 4-H staff and members. As summer begins, we look forward to having more than 9,000 young people attend camp at one of our 4-H centers in June and July. There will be camps for Cloverleafs, Juniors and Seniors, as well as Wilderness Challenge Camp, Horse School, Beef Futurity and many other educational opportunities for young people to be involved in learning while having fun.

4-H camping in Georgia began at Salem School in DeKalb County in 1918, and in 1923 was moved to Camp Wilkins on the University of Georgia campus. In 1937, Wahsega 4-H Center was acquired followed by Fulton 4-H Center in College Park in 1939. Burton 4-H Center on Tybee Island was added in 1946.

4-H camping has long been an important part of youth development in Georgia 4-H. Charles W. Eliot, former president of Harvard University, once said "the organized summer camp is the most important step in education that America has ever given the world." We still educate young people through camp and this summer 4-H'ers will learn about healthy lifestyles, study financial literacy, and will be learning more about science as they visit our five 4-H centers.

A special congratulations goes out to the agents and volunteers across the state who have made concerted efforts to find funding to send children to camp each summer. A couple of years ago, half of the children in the Southwest District attended 4-H camp on some type of scholarship. It reminds me of the commitment that Otis Compton Baker made to the Georgia 4-H program many years ago. When writing his will in 1951, Baker instructed that his estate accomplish several tasks. Once the tasks for his nieces, nephews, and siblings were accomplished, funds from the Baker Trust would be used to send worthy farm boys to camp at Rock Eagle the week of August 28. We later petitioned the courts and were allowed to extend Baker Trust scholarships so needy 4-H boys and girls could go to Rock Eagle 4-H camp each summer. More than 200 young people will attend camp this summer as a result of Mr. Baker's generosity. Since 2006, more than 1,000 4-H members have attended summer camp on Baker Trust Scholarships.

Everyone who has attended camp has a memorable experience that reminds us of how important 4-H summer camp is to enriching the lives of the young people we work with. I'd like to give special thanks to the county agents, volunteers and teen leaders who give their time to allow 4-H members of all ages to enjoy a great week of summer camp. Camping is a strong part of the Georgia 4-H legacy and more importantly, a strong part of lifelong learning.

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Personnel actions since May 1, 2010

New Hires

  • Chatham County—Brandi Dozier-Muhammad, PA Intern, 5/20/10
  • Gilmer County—Dianne Lassiter, Secretary, 5/27/10
  • Turner County—Ashley Brown, Secretary, 6/24/10
  • Vidalia Onion & Vegetable Research Center—James Kennedy III, PA Intern, 5/24/10
  • Washington County—Janet Nicole Darity, PA Intern, 5/24/10

Temporary Positions:

  • Brooks County—Kendrix Brown, CEPA (12 weeks), 6/08/10
  • Brooks County—Andreas Childs, CEPA (12 weeks), 6/09/10
  • Brooks County—Candace Lawson, CEPA FACS (12 weeks), 5/07/10
  • Clinch County—Lacey Hendrix, CEPA (8 weeks), 6/07/10
  • Macon County—Ariel Lester, CEPA (12 weeks), 6/07/10
    (Funded by Ft. Valley)
  • Macon County—Jade Phelps, CEPA (12 weeks), 6/07/10
    (Funded by Ft. Valley)
  • Sumter County—Carltondia Maye, CEPA (12 weeks), 6/07/10
    (Funded by Ft. Valley)

County-Funded Positions

  • Thomas County—Robin Nelson, CEPA 4-H, 5/25/10

Retiree/Rehires

  • Bamboo Farm & Coastal Gardens—Jim Fountain, Interim Superintendent, 7/01/10

Transfers

  • Shanna Davis from Interim CEC 4-H to CEC 4-H in Bryan County, 6/01/10
  • Dr. Don Gardner, CEA-ANR, from Glynn County to Bryan County, 6/01/10
  • Keshia Jones from CEA-FCS Energy Educator to CEA-4-H in Dodge County, 5/01/10

Retirements

  • Carroll County—Bill Hodge, ANR Agent, 6/30/10
  • Chattooga County—Aleta Kellett, Secretary, 5/31/10
  • Crisp County—Sandra McKinney, CEC/CEA FACS, 7/01/10
  • Richmond County—Patricia Martin, CEA, 6/30/10

Terminations

  • Worth County—Lannie Staines, CEA 4-H, 5/31/2010

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