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Sunday, May 30, 2010

District 11 4-H Personal Contribution Statements

At our recent District 4-H Scheduling Conference in La Grange, I believe we had a productive two days as we all looked hard at trends that are evident in our District wide 4-H program. I especially appreciate the professionalism that you all showed in looking toward the future even in uncertain times of agency budget reduction.

As you know now I consider you all as youth educators and 4-H is a great part of your job responsibilities. I also appreciate the time you took to write down your personal contribution statement. In providing clear direction to our District 11 4-H program your personal contribution statements will help a great deal. In reviewing your contribution statements, it is also clear that you are all devoted to your chosen profession by the statements that were written.

I have scanned the statements in to PDF documents and will be sending them back to you this week. I believe that if we are going to stay focused on our priorities we must review the statements often. It is important to focus our attention to making a difference every day. These statements when used as a tool will provide us direction in achieving more participation from our 4-H members and leaders in our contests and events. I believe that we are producing great young people out of the 4-H program, but we must continue to compete with all of the other areas that take time from our members. Marketing of our program is a essential part of our success, but we must continue to find new ways to tell our great 4-H story.

Use your personal contribution statements in developing your county and district 4-H participation plan to increase involvement in your county and district and state levels. The plan should be finalized and submitted to me by August 2, 2010. The plan can be flexible and creativity is encouraged. The most important requirements is that the plan must have input from all staff members, and your personal contribution statements must be used to develop the plan. You should also build on your personal strengths and incorporate these in your plan. Target the weaknesses in your county program and plan for ways to overcome those week areas of involvement.

I again would like to thank the Fayette County staff for hosting the conference and to Creative Awards of Fredricksburg,Texas , the Fayette Beef Committee, and the three associations for sponsoring the social. It looked like everyone was enjoying great fellowship during the event.

2010 Youth and Safety Day-Austin County

On Wednesday, May 19, 2010 over 400 3rd graders from Austin County participated in the Youth and SafetyDay. The event was a collaborative effort between Texas AgriLife Extension Service of Austin County,Bellville General Hospital and the Texas Department of State Health Services. Youth and Safety Day was countywide event which focused on safety issues and concerns of youth in general. The students were able to participate in several interactive safety education presentations. The event was held on the Austin County Fairgrounds. This year’s presenters were: Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Look -A- Likes; RedCross - Water Safety; Texas Parks &Wildlife - Gun Safety; San Bernard Electric Coop - Electricity Safety;Laura Smither’s Recovery Center - Stranger Danger; Bellville Police Department - Drug Awareness; Bellville I. S. D. - Poisonous Snakes; Master Gardeners - Poisonous Plants and Bellville Veterinary Clinic - Horse Safety

This article was submitted by Michelle Allen, County Extension Agent FCS, Austin County


San Patricio County 4-H council decided to have a county wide community service project that would keep up the spirits of kids that are sick, at Driscoll children hospital. They called it COLORING BOOKS FOR KIDS. On Friday May 22,2010 council officers got together at the office to put Texas AgriLife Extension and San Patricio County 4-H stickers on everyone of the books and colors that would be delivered that afternoon. At the hospital we saw what pain the young children were going through and it was hard at times to see kids so young going through such trama and still have the strength to smile when they got their gifts, all of our 4-H members where very touched by what they did, our efforts took the patients mind off of what was going wrong in their lives for just a few minutes and made them fell like young kids again. This is one of the most touching things I have been a part of since, I have been an agent. Having a two year old child my self, it made me be thankful that all is good and well with our boy and not to take anything in life for granted. The council made a commitment to visit the hospital at least four times a year and spend time with these kids and try to take their mind off of the machines that they are hook up to and all the needles that they get prodded with every day. We were not able to take cameras in to the rooms to take pictures with the kids but we got some in front of the hospital, we had a great day, as we used our Head, Hart, Hands and Health, to help these less fortunate individuals at Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi.

This article was submitted by Adrian Arredondo,CEA-4-H,San Patricio County

Monday, May 24, 2010

Time to Submit Summer 2010 & Fall 2010 Study Leave Requests

Summer 2010 will begin next week for most universities. If anyone is taking summer classes make certain that a request is submitted ASAP.
Fall 2010 registration is underway, so this is a reminder to all supervisors that employees who are taking classes are required by system policy to request permission to register as a student.

The deadline for submission for the Fall 2010 semester is Friday, July 23rd . The study and training request is a web/automated process. The employee is to fill their request form online and submit. After the employee submits the request, it will be routed to their supervisor for further processing and approval.
*******SPECIAL NOTE:*************** For regular college classes face-to-face or online courses the student will select option #2 “Part-time Study Request”. If they are taking a leave of absence for educational or professional development they will select the alternative option.
For the web link to the study leave form got to . Look under “Employee Development” section, next “Degree Information”.
If you or your employee have any problems with filling out the form, please give Rebecca Luckey a call at (979) 458-3288.

Major Show Steer Validation Video Excellent Resource for Agents

Texas 4-H Steer Validation Demonstration is available in live streaming media at

The Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program in cooperation with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service Animal Science Extension Unit has worked together to offer online resources to support the Texas 4-H Youth Livestock Project. The Steer Validation video is designed to assist agents to become proficient in the procedures for validating show steer projects through the Texas Steer Validation Program. This video are no substitute for reading the validation guidelines, but they should add visual references to the techniques used in the validation process. These videos would also serve as a great resource for training County Steer Validation Committees.

New and tenure agents is is also imperative that you involve your validation committee with all decisions in conducting your validation of your major show livestock projects.

Your supervision of major show project work officially starts with the validation process. Please make sure that guidelines are followed and all necessary materials are collected properly. A good efficient validation of livestock will provide assurance that future eligibility issues will not surface.

Agents in the Spotlight:

Saturday, Kyle and Jodi McManus and Kathy Farrow, represented our District at a reception in College Station honoring Texas State Senator, Judith Zaffirini, with the 2010 Extension in the City Award. Senetor Zaffirini, represents District 21. Bee, Karnes and San Patricio Counties are in legislative District 21. Thanks to these individuals for making a great effort to attend and participate in thanking Senator Zaffirini, for her support of Extension programing.

Last week Anthony Netardus, CEA in DeWitt County was honored with the DeWitt-Lavaca Special Education Cooperative Volunteer of the Year Award, for his leadership in cooperating with various leadership projects in DeWitt County. Congratulations Anthony!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

2011 County Budgets

Late spring is generally the time that county commissioners courts and county auditors start to ask Extension offices to review their budgets for those counties on a fiscal year of October - September. District 11 has 9 counties on a Oct-Sept. and 9 counties on a Jan-Dec. fiscal year budgets. Each county handles this a bit differently.

D-11 County Coordinators:
This year we will follow the process that you have used in the past. I do request that you give me a call or e-mail and let me know of your needs / requests prior to presenting them to the court. I want to be informed of each county request and the process for submitting the request to the Judge / Court. The better informed I am, the more supportive I can be when speaking to courts regarding county budgets.

For those of you who are new to the role of county coordinator, please give me a call and I'll be happy to walk you through the budget development process.
I look forward to working with you through the budget development process.
As counties look at their expenditures and future budgets there can be some challenges to over come; as you are well award we are having in the same challenges in state funding.

Please be frugal in your requests and make sure that if you are going to ask for more funds that they are warranted. Proper documentation of items such as travel in extremely important if asking for an increase in travel. County travel does not have to be equal to be equitable for each agent.

Professional Association Annual Meetings

I would like to encourage you to register for your professional association meetings this summer. Being part of your annual meeting can provide you with many benefits as you visit with agents from around the state. Being a member of your association and attending your meeting as means of professional development can help an agent tremendously.

As an agent you can participate in many activities such as recognition of accomplishments, gain inspiration from speakers, recognition of external partnerships, and volunteers of our program. Visit visit with trade show participants, and probably the most important is the interaction among your peers. Your association provides you an opportunity to interact with other members and gain others prospective on your chosen profession.

The opportunity to get to know agents from all over the state is a great asset in building your network of resource persons that can assist you in preforming you duties as an Extension educator. An agent can learn much from a evening social among peers in a relaxed atmosphere.

In most cases you may have an opportunity to take family with you and this will provide them an opportunity to learn from other agents families about Extension life. The spouse and youth programs have been developed to provide your families and children with some fun and relaxation.

Most of you have indicated in your professional development plan that you would participate in your annual meeting. Again, give consideration to registering for your professional association meeting, it will be well worth your investment in professional development time and travel.

2010 4-H Round Up Agent Assignments

I know that you are looking forward to state round up next month. Each year we are asked from our state office to provide judges, contests tabulators, room monitors etc.. to help the big event run smoothly. I know that it is time consuming to be asked to go to College Station for just one event, however we all have to work together to help out. I do appreciate those agents that have volunteered to help out with more than one job assignment especially those closest to College Station. If you are going to be at round up and are free at some time during the day when your members are in contests please let Jodi or I know. We still need help from agents and volunteers to satisfy our requirements.

District Horse Show

We had a very productive meeting last week in Edna. The new Breckenridge Recreation Complex facilities in Edna are excellent and we are looking forward to having the Horse Show in Edna .

I appreciate the leadership of Shannon Deforest, J.D. Folbre and Jodi McManus in coordinating the meeting and involving the great set of volunteers that attended the meeting. The agents that attended are to be commended for their input and for encouraging their horse project adult leaders in participating. We have already have had some sponsorship pledges that have come from our recent planning meeting. We are on our way in providing our District 11 4-H Horse project members the best possible District Horse Show experience. The horse show letter is on its way out of the District office and you will have it soon. Please give us a call if you need clarification. Registration on 4-H Connect is just around the corner. DM

Monday, May 10, 2010

Interpreting our Program Successes

Meredith Carter, County Extension Agent in Karnes County has just completed an excellent program at the Karnes City High School. Attached is a link to the Karnes County AgriLife web page of an interpretation piece she prepared for the Shattered Dreams Project. This report has the results of the surveys and testimonials from the youth. As you will see, Shattered Dreams made a huge impact on the youth at Karnes City High School! Meredith did a great job with this program and in evaluating her programing efforts to use as an interpretation tool.

Another great program success recently was sent to me by Janice Pfeffer, County Extension Agent in Colorado County. The Teens in the Driver Seat program that is led by the Texas AgriLife Youth Advisory Board in Colorado County was recognized for implementing this program at Columbus High School this school year. Pictured in the photo to the right is Koree Robinson - Colorado County Youth Advisory Board Member accepting a recognition certificate and plaque from the Secretary of State Hope Andrade.

Yet another program success that interprets our results to stakeholders in the spring of each year, are our successful scholarship programs. We are associated with many different scholarship programs such as the program highlighted in Nueces County. Attached is part of a article in the Corpus Christi Caller Times.

Caitlyn Hawn was in the seventh grade when she became the first in her family to join a 4-H club. Raising chickens and goats paid off Tuesday night when the Flour Bluff High School senior received a $2,000 scholarship from the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show.“It’s a really great thing,” she said. “It’s the only scholarship I applied for.”Friends and relatives of 26 area high school seniors gathered at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds in Robstown as the students were honored for their livestock show success.Officials with the 75th annual livestock show handed out $60,000 in scholarships.To earn a scholarship, they are reviewed on their FFA and 4-H club participation, academic success, community service and interviews with the judging panel, which included state Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi. Officials said they look for well-rounded, active students. During the past 20 years, the junior livestock show has given more than $763,000 in scholarships.

These graduating seniors are the products of our 4-H program and when we can showcase their accomplishments and reward them with funds to pursue their college educations key stakeholders take notice. Involving such leaders as Rep Todd Hunter are excellent ways to let our funding partners know of our great successes. We must continue to take time to showcase our successful programs if we don't are just selling our programs and ourselves short!!!!, great job District 11. DM


It is springtime and that means that many clubs and groups are conducting elections of new officers. You may also be identifying new club managers for the upcoming 4-H year. It is EXTREMELY important that we, as Extension professionals, offer these new officers and club managers adequate training to help make the upcoming 4-H year a success!

Don’t forget about a very valuable resource you can utilize to assist you with officer and club manager trainings that can be found on the Texas 4-H website. CLUB ED, the Texas 4-H Club Tool Box ( includes some great ideas for officer installations, club meeting ideas by months, and a wonderful training series for Agents to conduct with club managers.

It is IMPERATIVE that we fully train and inform club managers of their roles and responsibilities to keep their club in compliance with Texas 4-H Rules & Guidelines (chartering, bylaws, IRS filing, etc).

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

Monday, May 3, 2010


In reviewing monthly reports, and monthly support materials, some of our counties are not sending in minutes of office conferences and agent schedules. I assume that if I am not getting minutes for the conferences, conferences may not have been conducted. At our county program reviews we discussed the importance of consistent office conferences. I left up the decision to the county coordinator and staff to have consistent office conferences depending on your workable schedule. Most of the counties are having bi monthly conferences. I know it is difficult to have office conference during the busy spring; however, office conferences are most important when it is very busy and agents and staff are out in the field of work. It is most critical your support staff know your schedule during the week. Conferences should not last more than an hour, and staff members should rotate as the agent presiding.

I am asking for all counties to conduct a minimum of two office conferences a month. Office conference minuets must be complied and sent to me and CC: Barbara by the 7th of each month with your county Commissioners court reports, or send minuets in as your complete the conferences. I would appreciate your diligence in cooperating with this request. We may have to reevaluate the reason for the conferences with some counties. If you have questions give me a call.

District 11 Judging Contests
I would like to congratulate our District 11 agents that assisted with this past weekend’s Multi District Judging contests in College Station. I also would like to thank our 4-H Specialist, Jodi, for the great direction before and during for the contests, and commend you on your professionalism in coaching, organizing and supporting your young people. It was encouraging to see the great participation from our members, leaders and parents in relation to the other 3 districts. Our great participation from our 4-H program does not just happen, your commitment to planning and implementation shows great evidence through their competition level in all the contests.

In the picture to your right is the District 11 Champion Livestock Judging Senior Team from Calhoun county.
Great Job!!!

Agents in the spotlight: On behalf of District 11 I would like to recognize Jodi McManus and Rusty Hohlt for their participation in Academy I. They joined an all star cast of presenters at the first Academy to assist with the on boarding of our agents. Chance Crossland, CEA-ANR in Calhoun County was the only agent that attended the event in Brownwood at the Texas 4-H Center.

District office Spring Cleaning: We are spring cleaning at the District office and in identifying material that either needs to go to the dumpster, or back to College Station. We have found a large number of Result demonstration signs; if you would like some signs please come pick up all you need, or let me know so I can deliver them in my travels.

TExAS and County Commissioners Court, office Conferences, Monthly Reports Due: May 7th,

Unpaid Internships: If you know of individuals that would like to intern with you office for college credit, It is important that agents visit with me on the correct procedures; I will need to conduct a interview with student before we can start the internship. There are also appropriate forms and a background check to complete prior to the appointment. As of now we know of two internships, one in Karnes County from Texas State University, and one in Nueces County from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Texas 4-H Round up Registration due May 12 on 4-H connect
4-H Program Development Committee Meeting May 10th, Edna
District 11 4-H Horse Show Planning Meeting May 10th, Edna
4-H Scheduling and Professional Development Retreat May 25-26, La Grange