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Monday, June 21, 2010

Getting Back in the Box During Challenging Times- Focusing on the basics

It is no question that today’s College Football is a different game than it was 5 or 10 years ago with all the high powered “spread offenses” that are being utilized.  However, when things don’t go well with this  “out of the box” offense,  the coach always focuses attention on getting “back in the box” focusing on the basics such as blocking, tackling, running good routes, and fundamental pass catching.  Extension today is very similar to the spread offense where we employ a lot of  “out of the box” thinking, but when times become challenging it is important  that we focus on the basics.

We all constantly talk about thinking “outside the box.” That’s fine, and we most certainly should think outside the box. But here’s another approach that we had better not ignore – get back inside the box and get better at the basics as it relates to Extension programming.  Sometimes Texas AgriLife Extension Services’ greatest returns on investment are realized when we invest in improving on our customers’ basic expectations.

Some of the basics that leads to success in Extension programming includes;
    * Volunteer Management.
    * Effective communication with clientele.
    * Effective internal communication
    * Effective utilization of the Program Development Process
    * Comprehensive reporting.
    * Effective utilization of Program Specialists.
    * Effective utilization of teaching methodologies (result demonstrations, newsletters, news articles, etc.).
    * Mastery of subject matter.
    * Responsiveness to clientele requests.
    * Effectively working with funding partners.
    * Effective interpretation strategies.

District 11 4-H Horse Show
I would like to thank all of the agents and volunteers that assisted with the management of this past weekends 4-H show.  I also would like to especially thank Jodi McManus for providing excellent coordination of the event. At this event there is always many times that agents need to be ready to provide leadership, and fair representation of the state horse show rules.  Mr. Shannon Deforest is to be commended for providing great leadership to our District 11 Horse Show for the past many years. I would like to recognize Shannon for his dedication as horse show chairman, and making the horse show and excellent opportunity for our members and leaders. His many years of service on the state horse committee has certainly paid dividends for our District horse program.

The Breckenridge Event Center is an excellent facility for our show and will again be our home for the 2011 show.  We will soon be evaluating our horse show evaluations and implementing a plan to make this event better next year. Thanks to the Jackson County 4-H program for their help and sponsorship of the event.

District 11 Leadership Lab-Texas 4-H Center
We had a great group of young people in Brownwood this past week for our leader lab. We teamed up with District 3 for a great three days of fun and leadership learning opportunities.  The highlight of the event was the parade of mascots for the leadership Olympics teams .  I wish I had pictures, I am sure they are on Face book. Our District 11 agents need to be commended for creating a great atmosphere for our young people. Your are certainly excellent role models as you continue to support your 4-H members in our District events. Agents need to remember that your4-H  members attending lab should come back to the county and implement leadership concepts learned at lab.