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Monday, September 27, 2010

2010 One Day 4-H Website and Resources

On Saturday, October 9, 2010, Texas 4-H will once again undertake the largest organized community service effort of a 4-H Program in the country through one day 4-H.  While we know many county and clubs are already well underway in the planning of their projects, information is also available on-line at the one day 4-H website to assist clubs and counties with the development, organization, and implementation of service projects. This information can be found at:

In 2009, our county offices, agents, parents, volunteers, and especially our 4-H members came together in a way that has never been seen to make a difference in our state in just one day. Each project was a success in that it made a difference for our youth, for our program, and for those who benefited from the more than 284 projects across the state. As we look to the 2010 date, each of our communities have changed due to the economic condition, creating even more of a need to help and serve. Texas 4-H has extended a challenge to every county, small or large, to identify one project that can be done either on an individual, club, or county level to serve those who need the help of the 4-H Program like never before. one day 4-H may truly be a persons’ one hope of helping them!
Please visit the website at: to find resources such as:
  • Information packet to help organize and implement a service project
  • Listing of the 2009 one day 4-H projects conducted in Texas for ideas and suggestions
  • Additional publication of both general and project specific service projects
  • One page informational brochure for one day 4-H
  • Various one day 4-H logos and advertisement graphics that can be used in promotion of the event
  • Two interpretation pieces from the 2009 event
As with the 2009, projects throughout the state will be recognized for their achievements in their one day 4-H projects. To be considered for recognition, each group is ask to please SIGN UP on the one day 4-H website prior to September 30, 2010, and then to also report their successes after their event and before October 31st.

Two new components that will be released and posted on the website next week will be a documentary video contest and the instructions for groups to use on-line check-in mobile device.

The documentary video contest is a 4 to 6 minute video documentary of a group’s process through their one day 4-H project. The documentary should include video/photos of the group planning, organizing, and implementing the event (basically the entire process from start to finish). We are asking that it highlight the successes of the event, the challenges, and the involvement of the youth and volunteers, and of course the difference it makes in the hearts and heads the people the project helped.

Using such mobile apps as GoWalla and others, we would like to have youth “check-in” when they arrive at their service sites. If all of our groups/members/families did this, then at the end of the day we will be able to animate our state with thousands of dots on a map of how 4-H members across the state came together for community service.

Reminder: Program Planning Conference Exemptions
The last day to submit 2011 program plans for consideration for PPC exemptions is Friday, October 1st. All plans must be submitted and approved by RPD's and DEA in the TExAS system for considerations. Exemptions will be granted on a case by case situation. Agents with less than three years of service will not be exempt from their program planning conferences. Many plans have been submitted as of know and we are on a much improved pace from last year. Thank you for your commitment to the program planning process. I look forward to reviewing your plans this week.  If you have any questions please let me know. DM

Monday, September 20, 2010

Measuring The Most Impactful Things We Do!

I want to thank agents and specialists that attended our recent Program Planning Workshop in Victoria last week, I felt the workshop went well, expect for some of the internet connection concerns. I appreciate all you do and the attitude that you have as we start a new programing year. Also I do understand that our Administrative team does ask a lot from you during the fall of the year and toward the end of the year. With the many deadlines established it is sometimes overwhelming to an agent at any level in their career.

As you continue to submit plans I want to remind you that you are in control of your calendar. Your programing calendar as well as your reporting calendar . It is not a coincidence that we use the same program to plan and report. As I mentioned at our workshop you(agents) will be held accountable for your programing through your reporting. Please tailor your plans to fit your county situation as model plans sometimes may not fit all situations and all counties.

During times that present challenges it is important that we reflect on this vision and focus our efforts individually and collectively on efforts that will enable Texas AgriLife Extension Service to achieve a level of success that accomplishes our vision. Some fundamental elements that Extension Agents should continue to focus on that enable Texas AgriLife Extension Service to be the best outreach and continuing education organization include;

    *  Outcome and Output Plans- Ensuring that County Extension Agents are providing quality programs that address local issues and results in measurable outcomes. Remember, our programs are how clientele, stakeholders, and elected officials judge Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

    * Showcase Programs and Events -Ensuring that Texas AgriLife Extension Service programs are visible in the community. Quality programs are of limited value if only a small number of people in the county are aware of the programs.

    * Individual Development Plans - Ensuring that our County Extension Agents are competent and professional. Competency and professionalism is only accomplished through effective on boarding of new agents and on going professional development for more tenured agents.

    *  Plans should include Evaluation and Interpretation - Ensuring that our stakeholders and elected officials are aware of the impact of Texas AgriLife Extension Service programs. This is only accomplished through  program interpretation strategies that communicate public value to clientele ,elected officials and stakeholders.

Many plans have been submitted since our workshop, I commend you for being so diligent in completing your plans on time. Our final day for plans to be submitted for exemption consideration status will be October 1st. As you complete your plans for 2011. Try to remember the statement form Jodi McManus presentation on 4-HYD outcomes,

Why? We need to concentrate on measuring the most impactful things we do.

I believe if we continue to concentrate on the most impactful things we do and evaluate and interpret them to our stakeholders we will be in a better place in the near future. DM

County Web Sites Updates:
I have been evaluating our county websites and most of our counties are using the websites to provide useful information to our clientele, however some of the information posted needs to be updated regularly. 

We need to remember we are in a technology enhanced age and our capacity to provide information to our clientele does not stop as we close the office at 5 pm on weekdays. Our websites are our face to our county offices and are open 24 hours a day. Today's clientele needs their information now and if they can't get it when they need it ,they'll go somewhere else. We are in competition with other educational information sources, our information provided needs to be research based . References to other web links need to be  carefully considered as to not endorse products and or services. Please stay as neutral as possible with recommendations. 

We need to update information regularly.The information that is no longer useful needs to come off and replaced with information that can be used by our clientele. All agents need to be using their web site to provide information in their respected discipline. Train your support staff to update the websites at least monthly. If you need assistance with updating your websites contact Mr. Pete Flores IT specialist or myself for help. DM

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Program Planing Workshop

Program Planning Workshop-Victoria 4-H Activity Center
Victoria Texas
In preparation for the this weeks program planning workshop, I wanted to remind you of a few items prior to Tuesday. The Program Planning Workshop will be held in Victoria, Texas starting this Tuesday September 14th starting at 9:00 am with registration. The workshop will be held in the Victoria County 4-H Activity center, not the Master Gardeners Pavilion as once planned. Internet access is still not available at the new facility. The facility is located at the Victoria Airport on Business 59.

Please review our Guidelines for Documenting Program Excellence and our Excellence in Programing Planning Guides. Both documents are posted on our Organizational Development web site.

It is essential that your review these documents prior to coming to our workshop.

Program planning must be about ensuring that Extension is efficiently allocating resources that results in program excellence not just focused on approving a plan on the TeXas System. We must be committed to developing better programs that result in measurable outcomes. I can assure you that our RPD's and I are devoted to assisting agents in better allocating time which leads to efficiency.

The bench mark of this new program planning philosophy is focusing on assisting agents being able to better manage their time and program. Please come to our workshop prepared in a positive mind set as we work towards a productive 2011.

At this morning's office conference please discuss with your coworkers which model 4-H plan to utilize Option A , B, or C. See page 5 of the 4-H and Youth development program guide. Are you a lumper, or a splitter?

Dress for the workshop will be professional casual, and don't forget to bring your notebook commuter. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow. DM

Coastal Bend Classic
Plans continue to come together for our new youth opportunity coming up this December.We have received some support and HonorShowChow has committed to be a major sponsor of our clinics and shows. We however are still in need of more sponsorships and for our counties to try to meet our $300 target in order for our program to be successful. Agents should try to find support toward your $300 benchmark. It is also important to not to solicit funds from supporters of your local events, in no way are we asking for you to compromise any support for other local programs and activities. Be creative in identifying support from new sources. The deadline to send in funds is this Wednesday September 15th, So we can finalize our marketing plan that will include email to ag chapters, and email blasts.

I am also wanting to remind Ag agents with livestock project responsibilities, that you will be assigned to a task at the clinic and or shows. 4-H agents I will assign you to either the CBC or the Food Show that will held on the same day. An email will be sent out soon with your designated tasks and committee assignments.

2010 National 4-H Week
The Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program has released the 2010 National 4-H Week Packet. “Make a Difference for Life” is the theme of the 2010 National 4-H Week, and the packet includes many items that can be used for promoting the program to potential new audiences, as well as items that can be utilized with current clientele. This year’s theme ties the national week of 4-H recognition into the final day on Saturday, which is one day 4-H – our programs day of truly making a difference for life!
To help organize and plan a full week of possible activities, a “Seven Days of Celebration” section has been developed with the help of the Texas 4-H Council members. “Seven Days of Celebration” is full of ideas for possible events/activities that 4-H members can conduct throughout their schools and communities. Four of the days are tied to the 4-H Pledge of Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. Wednesday is focused on the National 4-H Science Day, and then, of course, Saturday is one day 4-H.
County offices and agents are encouraged to review the printed packet and based on their plans and needs for promoting the week you can visit the website to download all necessary resources. The National 4-H Week page is located under the “Media” link on the Texas 4-H and Youth Development website ( We also ask that you share this information with your 4-H families and club managers as the information is designed for both county office and clientele direct use.

Monday, September 6, 2010

4th Quarter Reports Due Today,September 7th, 2010

Effective Extension educational work requires that reports be timely, accurate, concise, and complete. Reporting is an element of Extension work that most agents will tell you is not the most favorite part of their job. District 11 County Extension Agents do an excellent job of programming, but some fail to capture their accomplishments in monthly reports. It is important that “taxpayers deserve to know that their money is being prudently extended in society’s best interest” John Campbell (1995) in his book Reclaiming a Lost Heritage (p.140).

Failure to report these performance measures can severely impact appropriated funding. Reporting is fundamental to comprehensive Extension programs and is a significant part of agents professional obligations. Reporting should be thought of as tool to modify and improve educational programs, as well as to communicate program progress and results to faculty, staff, planning committees, elected officials, clientele, and Extension Administrators.

All reports should contain the following:
* Who are targeted audiences for program/activity and the number attending?

* What issue is being addressed and subject matter covered?

* When did the program/activity take place?

* The impact of the program/activity. Adoption of practices, knowledge gained or behavioral changes should be reported.

The 4th quarter of the 2010 fiscal year ended in August (June,July, and August). I will contacting county offices as I monitor agents reports on the TEXAS system for the 4th quarter. Remember your numbers are lost if not in the system by today.

Issue Identification Guidelines
Attached is a link to the guidelines to assist you in the Issue Identification process that you will coordinate through your Leadership Advisory Board late this year or early next year. Hopefully you will find the guidelines helpful as you work to facilitate a successful process with the LAB. We will have a program at next weeks Program Planning Conference to train all of our agents on issue identification.

The guide will be housed at the Extension Issues website at, and additional resource materials will be placed there as they are developed. For more information contact Dr. Jeff Ripley.
This process will be a critical component of our planning efforts, and will help to ensure that we have programs targeted toward the primary issues in each county. Thanks for all that you are doing to keep programs relevant and timely in your county.

Career Ladder Promotion
During this time of year, final work on dossiers for submission for 2010-2011 review are in full swing. The work that goes into the promotion process by agents, supervisors, regional program directors, and Level IV agents, is very much appreciated. This involved, highly reviewed process helps ensure a quality document for the peer review committees consideration. But, I didn't want to get too far into the 2010-2011 process without recognizing the agents who have received promotions effective September 1, 2010. Congratulations to all of our agents that submitted dossiers this past year, all four achieved promotion to the next level. A great accomplishment and recognizes District 11 once again as having some of the most productive agents in the our agency.

Agents promoted to:
Level II: Sally Garrett
Level III: Sam Womble,Brian Yanta
Level IV: Brent Batchelor