Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas District 11

I would like to wish our District 11 Extension Team a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. As I read your making a difference reports and your outcome summaries, I am amazed at the great programs that you are providing your clientele each year. We certainly have the best district in the state but only because we continue to have the best agents in the state. As we prepare for a new year just around the corner, I encourage you to take some time to enjoy your family and all of what the holiday season is meant to be. If you are going to try to start shopping like me this week, be careful on the roads and as you travel to see family and friends. This has certainly been an eventful year for Extension, as I look back upon this year I am thankful to have the staff of great agents, support staff and volunteers in District 11.  I am sure you can also reflect on your year not only professionally but personally. Get some well deserved rest and come back ready to continue to Make a Difference in your counties in 2011.
The District office will be closed during the holiday break from Thursday, December 23 through January 1st; we will resume regular business hours on January 3rd, 2011. I know that many of your county offices will be open for some time during these days. If for some reason your office must be closed during the non-county holiday times, make sure that your clientele can reach you or a designated person if they need to. I will be available on my cell phone (361)543-7595.

District 11 County Judges and Commissioners Conference

We had a excellent conference on December 14th, in Edna. 4 county judges and 23 county commissioners attended the conference.  8 District 11 counties were represented at the conference. Four attendees were newly elected officials. Judon Fambrough with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University provided a program on wind energy opportunities in the Coastal Bend,  Dr. Rebecca Dundensing, provided a program on Economic Development opportunities and evaluation, and Mr. Dennis Dewitt, provided a great program on County health and community affair issues.  State Representative John Zerwas, District 28 contributed with a legislative update on the many issues affecting lawmakers in Austin this legislative session to start on January 11 2011.

The program finished with information from Jim Allison, general counsel for the judges and commissioners association of Texas.  Also in attendance was Ms. Ashely Mathews with the VG Young Institute for County Government, and Dr. Dromgoole, Associate Director for County Programs.  Dr. Dromgoole provided an update discussing our Budget reduction and possible future budget cuts.

Thanks to the JJ and Mike for being great hosts, and for the other agents that I ask to assit with the conference.

Outlook Conversion Process
District 11 counties that have been converted to Outlook email system are Karnes , San Patricio and Refugio Counties.

What does this mean? Basically means that any groups that you have created with Karnes, San Patricio and Refugio county staff will not get the e-mail if you send e-mail to the group as it exists. You need to go back and re-add the staff back to your personal groups.

In a nutshell, when the staff is moved to Outlook the e-mail address is deleted from the GroupWise address book, thus their names and e-mail address are removed from all personal groups. The new e-mail address is then added back to the GroupWise address book, but this procedure will not add the e-mail back to personal groups.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Big 4-H Weekend in District 11 !!!

District 11 Food Show-Food Challenge
Many compliments have been shared about the excellent District 11 4-H Food Show & Food Challenge contests that were held in Wharton this past Saturday.  Approximately 100 food show contestants and 17 food challenge teams competed for top honors.  Some have rated the event as "one of the best food shows ever."
Special thanks to Food Challenge Chair Dianne Gertson, Food Show Chair Sarah Womble and the rest of the event committee including Lynn Hough, Michelle Allen, Sally Garrett, Barbara Sulak, Talma Benavides, Kathy Farrow, Barbara Williams, Janis Pfeffer, and Julie Ketelsen. 
 In addition to the competition,  a very interactive educational activity was available for participants and parents.  The skill-a-thon challenged members to rotate through 9 classes and identify kitchen utensils, demonstrate measuring skills, assess nutritional values of food items, and many other tasks.  Additionally, a community service activity, the Great American Bake Sale, was conducted to raise money to feed hungry children. This community service activity was spearheaded by 2 4-H families but many other families donated baked goods to support the effort. 

I am extremely please with the focus and direction that our traditional district events are taking. As I reflect  back to our discussion at our 2010 4-H Scheduling conference last May in La Grange. Our agents are certainly getting back to the basics and the success of the District Food Show and Food Challenge are examples of you commitment to detail.

Thank you to all the agents and volunteers that served as judges, monitors,  or timekeepers.  Your professionalism and positive attitude helped make the event a big success.
Blue Ribbon Youth!!
Educational Presentations
The inaugural Coastal Bend Classic was held this past Saturday, December 4th, 2010. 209 exhibitors from most District 11 counties and others from Kleberg, Bexar, Jim Wells, Jim Hogg, Webb, and Walker Counties, also participated.  The educational event drew an estimated 600 participants, exhibitors, leaders and parents.  The attendance clearly showed that an event of this kind that promotes educational opportunities to learn from speakers and clinicians was warranted. Also the passion to compete in the showing was also well received with the great quality of livestock presented by even better youth exhibitors. 
I want to commend the committee chairs and all the agents for organizing excellent seminars, and a great show. I am extremely proud for the way each an every one of our agents focused on the needs of our participants. Your professionalism commitment is truly appreciated. Our supporters were very pleased with the event. I already have commitments from other prospective financial supporters for next year.  I have received numerous compliments on the event and on your interaction during the event itself.

CBC future Presenters!!
Our chairman, Kyle McManus stated after the event, The one consistent point made was that their children are much better off now, after having attended the CBC, than before the event.  The only thing that was requested of us was to make the CBC an annual event....Just goes to show the saying must be true, "If you build it they will come".  On behalf of Kyle,  please pass on to each of your youth & adult volunteers that provided a helping hand that we would not have been as successful if it had not been for their efforts.  The volunteers played an extremely important role in the CBC. I am also very proud that three of our speakers and or judges were products of the District 11 4-H program. (Lyle Williams, Sarah Brister, and Dustin Biela)

Great show!!

 As we get back to the basics of doing what we do best our clientele are sure to take notice of our efforts. Again thanks District 11. DM

"You have to train like a CHAMPION to be a CHAMPION"