The last two weeks were full of really wonderful chances to get out and about in the state. I was able to attend a portion of the ANR retreat and listen to some excellent presentations by our educators, field specialists, and state specialists on critical topics facing our state and our employees. I also had a chance to watch Dianne Shoemaker make her final presentation for OSU Extension and offer some of her key lessons learned during her prestigious career, including:
- Know what you know
- Know what you don’t know
- Recruit help when needed
- Be available to help others
- Make a plan to learn
- Use our (your!) resources
- Maintain confidentiality
Then I was able to spend time at the inaugural SPARK Expo for 4-H and get a glimpse into the passions of our next generation of leaders and workforce. It was an excellent collaboration with many of our CFAES department faculty and staff and our 4-H team to ignite curiosity and provide hands on exploration of talent and interest of youth. It was so impressive to watch Extension in its optimal form across these two events-- participants, partners, and Extension professionals coming together to explore and apply knowledge in ways that reach people when and how they need it.
Then on Wednesday of this last week, I participated in a solar farm tour in Brown County. Innergex provided us with an opportunity to see their operation and learn more about their relationship with Extension, Farm Bureau, local decision makers, and how they engage with neighbors of their solar farms. It was very enlightening; and we were able to highlight our Extension energy outreach group and our Energize Ohio resources, as well as discussing some opportunities for future internships and scholarships for 4-H.
Then on Friday, I got the chance to visit southeastern Ohio during my lean-in tour of Vinton and Athens counties. I had the privilege of participating in preparing food packages for families at a local food pantry, judging a market rabbit project, and visiting for quite a while with all of our staff to learn more about what drew them to Extension, what each of them is doing currently, and answering questions they have. My husband and I then spent a day visiting places and spaces within the two counties that we had not been before including Lake Hope, the Moonville tunnel, and historic Nelsonville. Thanks to everyone for making me feel so welcome, sharing more about your work and lives with me, and giving me the opportunity to participate in some of your daily efforts. It was so apparent that our Extension faculty and staff have such a passion for the work that they do, the people they serve, and a true caring for one another. I look forward to visiting Ashtabula, Trumbull, and Pickaway counties in the next two weeks.
This weekend (July 4) is Independence Day; and I do hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy a long weekend, reflect on the importance of this historical day, and spend time outside in this fabulous weather (and perhaps a wish for some well-timed rain). I also hope you will join me in a July challenge to turn off or silence your phones after work and when visiting with family or friends; and see how many days in July you can unlock your phones less than an average of 50 times. I’ll be checking back in to see how effective we have been with owning our phones and not letting them own us. (stars and stripes via freeimages.com)
Thank you for all you do, Jackie