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Sunday, February 28, 2010

What is your plan for teaching Quality Counts?

COMING SOON:

Mandatory participation in Quality Counts education for all major livestock show exhibitors.

Now don’t hit the panic button yet…many of you have been educating our young livestock exhibitors on quality assurance for years and, more recently, have been teaching from the Quality Counts curriculum. Major shows have not yet set a timeline or specific guidelines on the requirements of mandatory participation in Quality Counts but they have assured us that this will be required of all junior livestock exhibitors in the near future. Now is the time to make a plan in your county to provide opportunities for livestock exhibitors to be exposed to the Quality Counts program.

Consider incorporating Quality Counts lessons at club meetings, project clinics, or major livestock show signup events. You may even consider training teen leaders as Livestock Ambassadors or Quality Counts Ambassadors to assist you in your efforts. All county offices should have a copy of the Quality Counts notebook. Additional resources, including the Quality Counts Texas Trail can be found at http://qualitycounts.tamu.edu/. Texas Trail is an online learning module that 4-H members can navigate through from any computer and learn about many elements of Quality Counts and quality assurance.

Starting making a plan now so you won’t be caught off guard when the specific guidelines are unveiled. We will keep you posted as we get more details!

This article was submitted by Jodi McManus, District 11 4-H and Youth Specialist.


Branding:
AgriLife Extension Shirt Order


We have an opportunity to order AgriLife shirts as part of a group in the South Region. These shirts are excellent ways to show our brand name as you conduct programing in your counties In addition, we've included an apron and baseball cap in several color options. I will send you a email soon explaining the ordering process. There will also be several styles for men and women to choose from, along with aprons and caps.

If you are interested in ordering AgriLife merchandise review the email, and meet the deadline with payment included, If you have any questions give me a call.

D11 Personnel news:
I will be presenting a candidate to the San Patricio County Court this morning, and he will have a start date of March 15th, as the new San Patricio County 4-H agent.

The 4-H agent position in Calhoun County has been released externally and I will be identifying individuals to interview soon. I will be conducting Performance Reviews in San Patricio, Lavaca and Aransas Counties this week.
Monthly Reports are due on Friday March 5th.








Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Utilizing Volunteers in Interpreting Extension Programs

The utilization of volunteers who serve on various committees and task forces is an excellent strategy to implement in both formal and informal interpretation efforts. The involvement of volunteers in the interpretation process is ingrained in many counties' interpretation culture. In counties where volunteers are utilized in interpretation agents have spent quality time arming committee and task force members with the type of information needed for them to effectively interpret Extension educational programs. However, there are counties in District 11 where volunteers could be more effectively utilized in formal or informal interpretation efforts.

Elected officials place tremendous creditability on information related to Extension educational programs when it is provided by constituents . However, volunteers don't provide interpretation by chance-- it happens as a result of planning, training, and design.

The following are some suggestions related to working with committee's this fall in program planning activities to ensure that every county has a strategy to involve volunteers in the interpretation of Extension programs. In order for volunteers to be effective in interpreting programs they must...

  • Be an individual that opinion is valued and respected by elected officials.
  • Be a participant in an effective county program that results in measurable outcomes.
  • Have an understanding of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service as an organization.
  • Be armed with appropriate data related to Texas AgriLife Extension's roles in providing educational programming efforts at the county level.
  • Embraces the philosophy that an investment in Texas AgriLife Extension Service programs is an investment that provides a return to the county in terms of economic, environmental and/or social outcomes.
  • Be equipped with information related to specific program(s) outcomes.

As your DEA I am utilizing our Performance Appraisal Conferences to ensure that every county has a interpretation plan that includes the utilization of key volunteers in formal and informal interpretation efforts.

Recognize Your Volunteers

Recognition of individuals who have made significant contributions to the youth of Texas is one of the most important things the Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program can do. Each year, the Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program provides awards and recognition for various individuals and groups that provide support to the 4-H program. Therefore, County Extension Agents, 4-H members or 4-H volunteers are encouraged nominate worthy candidates.

Awards available include:

· Citation for Outstanding Service to 4-H – recognizes an individual or business for outstanding contributions on a regional or state basis.

· 4-H Alumni Award – recognizes former 4-H members who have made significant achievements in their communities, showing evidence of 4-H’s influence on their adult lives.

· Meritorious Service Award – recognizes two outstanding Extension professionals for their role in making 4-H volunteers more effective

· Salute to Excellence – recognizes outstanding 4-H volunteers for their service to 4-H programs and the impact made on the lives of young people (2 awarded per district)

· Leader’s Legacy Award – recognizes a 4-H leader who has been an integral part of the 4-H and Youth Development Program for 20 years or more

The 2010 Texas 4-H Volunteer Awards Program Handbook is available online at:

http://texas4-h.tamu.edu/volunteers/recognition_volunteer/index_recognition_volunteer.php#handbook

All awards are presented at the Salute to Excellence Banquet on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at Texas 4-H Roundup.

Please consider submitting nominations from your county. Nominations are due to the District Office no later than March 12, 2010. This article was was submitted by Jodi McManus, District 11 4-H and Youth Specialist.

Coastal Bend Agricultural Briefs http://cbagbriefs.blogspot.com/Font size
Check out our newest agent's blog, Jeff Stapper, Nueces County Agricultural Agent has done a great job in staring his Coastal Bend Agricultural Briefs blog to update his producers in his county.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Job Responsibities Assigment

As we complete the Performance Reviews for last year, I have been asking for an updated job responsibilities assignment form to be reviewed and signed by each agent. This is our agreement of identifying the lead person for the many tasks that we complete for the new year. This form will not be on the greatjobs website, this will be maintained at the district office. If you did not have this completed at our recent PAS conference please complete the form and send it in ASAP. Those counties that still have not gone through your performance appraisals please have an updated form ready to review at our upcoming conferences. If you need a new form contact Barbara Moretich at the district office.

Hot Topics

The southern region administrative team lead by our RPD's have scheduled a "Hot Topics" training Series via Centra. The topics have been identified by the administrative team and I am encouraging you to make time on your calendar to attend.

March 15th, "Evaluations" Monty Dozier and Jeff Ripley
April 12th, "Volunteer Management" Elaine Fries and Courtney Dodd
May 17th, "Tour of EDEN" Monty Dozier and Janie Harris

You can expect a "Hot Topic" each month stay tuned for more soon. These would be excellent professional improvement topics especially for agents under 3 years of service. More information later on registration for the sessions.

Legislative Interpretations
Each month I will be compiling a report to the state office of interpretations conducted by agents in District 11 for state legislatures. If you have any formal interpretation or a education program that you know your state representative or senator will be attending please let me know ASAP. It is important that you invite your state legislatures to any significant showcase program in your county during this critical legislative budget year. Some of you have sent me information on other events that you know your legislatures will be attending, please continue to let me know if they will be in your county.


"Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity"
New Webinar series: Making Schools the Model of Healthier Environments
Go to this link to register: Information provided by Gloria VanZante

http://us1.campaign-archive.com/?u=0dbac5f26ad18ac67959e871d&id=0ad0923cfe&e=95790e1be7

“Keys to the Courthouse” County Government Curriculum

Last week I attended the Annual Judges and Commissioners Conference hosted by the VG Young Institute of County Government in College Station, I visited with many of your County Judges and Commissioners , District 11 had a large group of participants at the conference. This was an excellent time for me to visit with your county officials on your programs in your counties.

“Keys to the Courthouse” county government curriculum was premiered by Director Smith during his update to the court members. The Texas 4-H Program also hosted a booth that allowed the judges and commissioners to preview the curriculum and receive an informational flyer about the enrichment program. Many of the judges and commissioners who reviewed the curriculum had positive comments and expressed an interest of working with Extension to implement the curriculum back in their county schools. Because of the potential for an educational partnership between the Commissioners Court and Extension we want each County Extension Agent and Office to the information shared in case a county officials or school superintendent mentions it. This new county government curriculum will replace the one produced by Extension some twenty-five years ago.

The new curriculum will focus on the grades of 7th and 12th and include five lessons, along with activities appropriate for both grade levels. Additionally, the curriculum is written so an elected official, or educator, can use components of the curriculum with civic groups/adult audiences to explain the role of each elected official and county government. The bound curriculum will include the curriculum lessons, activities for both 7th and 12th graders, a Texas county wall map, and a DVD with videos about county government and the activities for easy printing.
Currently, the curriculum is in the final stages of development and printing and will be distributed through your District Extension Administrator in May, 2010. It is our hope that it will be fully utilized during the 2010-2011 4-H Year.

This curriculum was the collaborative effort between the Texas Association of Counties, County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, V.G. Young Institute of County Government, and the Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program. Please look forward to additional information about this new curriculum in the following months.

D11 Personnel News: A prospective candidate has been identified for the San Patricio County 4-H agent position and will met the court on March 1st with projected start date on March 15th. The Calhoun County FCS and 4-H agent positions have been opened internally. The Bee County FCS position is waiting administrative approval to be opened internally. I have been getting much interest about our paid internships some of you will be contacted in the future if I identify you as a prospective host county for an intern this summer.

Performance Reviews for next week: Bee, Karnes, Fayette, and Calhoun.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Texas 4-H Foundation Scholorship Judges Needed

There is still an need for judges for the Texas 4-H Foundation scholarships selection this year. If you are interested please let me know ASAP. Agents need to have approximately 5 years of experience in our organization in order to apply.

I have had the great opportunity to be a judge in this process. I can say that it was one of the best opportunities that I had as an agent to gain professional development in the 4-H area. It sure is a commitment ,however you would get to evaluate and met some of the greatest young people that our organization is producing. As a former Ag agent I looked at producing a high quality product for our consumer, and that is how I see our 4-H program. We consistently produce some of the best quality individuals going into our society. Having the opportunity to judge the scholarship applications and to interview graduating seniors I had a better appreciation of our youth organization. I also could assist my local 4-H families in advising them on how to be more competitive in the scholarship selection process. District 11 has been very competitive over the years in the selection process. It should be one of your goals as a youth educator to develop yourself fully to better serve your clientele. Whether your are a tenured AG , FCS, or specialty Agent or even an newer employee , I urge you to take on this opportunity.

Also when our District 11 young people don't get there fair share of the pie ( over 2 million dollars) we can't really comment on the selection process if we have not participated when asked.

If I have stimulated some interest give me a call so I can send you an application , we need good agents involved in this important process and we have some of the best in District 11.

Agent Position Descriptions and Job Responsibilities Assignments

As I have been busy with Performance Reviews and Civil Rights Compliance Reviews I have ask to update your position descriptions and job responsibilities assignments. For your information your will now get an email from the greatjobs network to review and certify your job descriptions, and you will also be getting your copy of the Performance Review conformation from greatjobs as well. Fort those counties that I have already made run in circles trying to find the job descriptions for me to sign I apologize, I can still claim that I am a rookie, the new process and will be more efficient so we can always go to your position descriptions.

The job responsibilities however do still need to be updated and sent to me for approval. Many of the counties that I have been to already have had these and I have retained the original for my files. Those of you all that I will be seeing in the near future please have the job responsibilities completed so we can discuss, approve and sign. The Job responsibilities are broke up in to sections, such as Program Development, TCFF Issues, Program area committees and or task forces, 4-H and Youth development , community development elected officials and media. County coordinators if you need a template let me or Barbara know so we can get you one before your PAS.

District 11 One Pagers

As you know I have to do my fair share of interpretation, not only to county and state elected officials but to my supervisor as well. I appreciate the diligence you have shown in sending me your annual report (Making the Difference Document) This is a great tool for me to use as I visit with stakeholders in our district. I however need a little more, I need for you to complete your annual one pagers. You can simply update the document you sent Mr. Ripley last year. We have many changes in staff so this may take some time for some counties, taking pictures etc. This is an extremely useful tool for me as I have reference the current document regularly this year. If you do not have last year's template give us a call so we can send you the 2008 version. I need the completed one pagers sent to me and cc Barbara by March 12th, I believe you have plenty of time to complete this short but powerful document.

Major Livestock Shows

If you will be traveling to the majors shows , I would like to remind you that you are there to supervise our young people and leaders while at the shows. We must continue to be professional at all times. It is a large task to assist the many individuals in our program however it is of great importance that we try to offer our assistance to all involved. Most of you are also representing your school districts as an adjunct faculty member supervising 4-H members. I would like to charge you with one thing, make a special effort in making your 4-H member's , parent's or leader's experience of exhibiting at a major show a great one. Winning grand champion or getting the gate, or truck should be a learning experience, remember why we are there. Careful on the road.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Southern Region Centra Training on Reporting

A Centra Training on Reporting in TExAS has been scheduled for Monday, February 1, 2010 at 10 a.m. This training is available for all agents in the South Region. Please sign on as a county group to minimize the use of available seats. Also, this training will be recorded for viewing at a later time, if you are unable to attend on February 1.

Before the event
To be sure your computer is setup correctly for this event, run: System Check

Attend Instructions:
Attendees may enter the event by going to the URL below, and entering the event ID.
URL: http://webconference.tamus.edu/main/tce
Event ID: LKQ263562
This session may be recorded and each attendee may have the capability of distributing this recording. Each participant's use of recordings and participant information is subject to U.S. and international privacy laws.

Here are some topics to be covered......

- why reporting is important and how the data are used at the district and state levels

- basic reporting strategies for getting organized to enter complete and accurate information

- collecting contact numbers for different kinds of events.....where and how do they get reported (health fairs, newsletters, ed sessions, site visit, etc.)

- view an agent actually working on reporting to tasks and preparing a plan summary for the month

- how to complete a concise and complete monthly summary for tasks in a program plan to include planning groups, resource acquisition,
marketing, education methods, evaluation, and interpretation

- accurately reporting educational contacts for educational sessions, etc,

- accurately reporting contacts for newsletters, news articles, health fairs, site visits, etc.

- changing dates vs nothing to report if an event did not happen

I encourage each of you to participate in this Centra training and continue to strengthen the reporting of program accomplishments.

New Agents Should Complete On-Line Modules Before Attending Extension Foundations


Texas AgriLife Extension Service has launched a new strategy for on- boarding recently hired County Extension Agents. One of the critical elements of this new on- boarding system is a series of new online learning modules designed to establish a knowledge base prior to them attending Extension Foundations.

Those agents that will be participating in Extension Foundations on April 19-23, should have completed the following training modules prior to their attendance:

  • Texas AgriLife Extension: Our History and Roots
  • Professionalism in Texas AgriLife Extension Service
  • Introduction to Program Development in Texas Extension
  • TExAS Accountability System
  • INVEST: Volunteerism
  • Cash Management
To find these courses, Count Extension Agents should follow the instructions for logging in under the "First Time Here?" section at http://pdc.extension.org/. Some of the courses require an access key, which is the word "texas."

These modules are critical in establishing a foundation for future sequential learning experiences that will be offered to new agents through Texas AgriLife Extension Service newly established on- boarding system.

Summer Internship Program Announced


Research shows that connecting college students to meaningful internship opportunities with employers increases the chance that they will stay in that career field after graduation. Texas AgriLife Extension Service is currently accepting applications from students interested in participating in our Internship Program in the summer of 2010. The Notice of Vacancy has just been released on GreatJobs.

Interested students should create an application in GreatJobs ( http://greatjobs.tamu.edu ) and apply to posting # 04671. Students should attach a current resume and cover letter to their application.

Interested students can go directly to the job posting at https://greatjobs.tamu.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=185373

In addition, students should be directed to the County Programs Internship Program Website at http://extensionintern.tamu.edu/. This site contains valuable information about the program including the intern job description, information on how to apply, and frequently asked questions about the program.

Any interested student should create the on-line application and apply to this posting to be considered.

de tour of District 11 Continues

Performance Review will continue this week in Colorado and Austin Counties. See you soon, DM