Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) offered information on nutrition, food safety and thrifty shopping to 177 adult and teen participants through 36 direct education classes. After the classes, 71 percent of the participants reported using food labels to make better choices, and 90 percent reported improving in the area of eating vegetables and fruits of different colors.
The Balance My Day curriculum for schools was available through the SNAP-Ed programming. This is a seven-topic nutrition series about eating breakfast, eating different kinds of fruits, eating healthy snacks, eating different kinds of vegetables, drinking water instead of soda or juice, eating food from the MyPlate food groups, and doing things to become or stay physically active. In all, 632 Athens County youth were given age-appropriate nutrition lessons from this curriculum.
In 2016, Athens County 4-H had 515 members between the ages of 8-18 take projects that teach many different subjects such as science, arts, food and nutrition, and livestock. Many youth report that these projects inspire their interests, which eventually leads the youth toward their career goals. In addition, our Cloverbud membership increased to 124 in 2016 from 112 in 2015. That is 124 future leaders, scientists, farmers, doctors and more.
Camp counselors planned the activities for camp from start to finish, learning critical life skills that will assist them in being leaders in college and in their careers. Several counselors stated that they credited their camp counseling interviewing experience with helping them get top scholarships for college by learning how to keep eye contact, shake hands and properly answer interview questions.
Athens County teen leadership group continues to thrive and help with camps, community service and leadership opportunities in the county. In 2016, 22 camp counselors trained from February through June to run three different camps and four Cloverbud Science Days.
In 2016, we organized quality assurance training for approximately 475 youth. Repeating from last year, an evaluation showed that the majority of participants believe they came out of the training with more knowledge than they had before. Quality assurance is essential in learning how to ethically treat the animals we put into our food chain. During training, youth learn how to properly fill out a Drug Use Notification Form, how to prevent diseases from spreading, and how to properly identify a medication label. We doubled our participation in skillathon, which teaches youth what their animals look like on the inside, how the animals operate and what diseases the animals face, all of which are things youth need to know about to properly care for their livestock.
A New and Small Farm College was held with 10 participants. During the eight-week course, participants developed mission statements, explored production practices and developed a business plan for their farm. By the end of the course, the seven farms represented had developed a business plan which will allow them to direct the future course of their farm. They will also be able to use it to secure working loans from lenders. Following this course, 80.5 percent of the participants developed or changed their plan for use of their farm property.
A Hops Tour and Field Day was held in Athens County with 15 participants. The attendees were interested in learning about hops production and were given an introduction to marketing their crops. At least 80 percent of the participants indicated that the field day was helpful in giving them information about whether to grow hops, and 10 percent stated that they have decided not to grow hops after attending the field day.
Nine new Master Gardeners Volunteers (MGVs) were trained to join the 35 active MGVs in the county. Volunteers contributed 1,487 hours of service at a value of $32,803.22 to the community.
The Master Gardener Volunteers have taken on projects throughout the county that have enriched the lives of the citizens. They have worked to educate youth in school gardens and community gardens. This year, 62 youth attended a seven-session course during the summer that taught them various aspects of gardening. An additional 12 preschool children participated in a three-session introduction to gardening class.
Pesticide education included 18 producers being recertified in the safe handling of pesticides; and 100 percent indicated that the information would help them properly apply pesticides.
A two-hour and a three-hour fertilizer application courses certified 12 producers in meeting the Ohio Department of Agriculture guidelines for the safe application of fertilizers. In addition, 100 percent of the participants indicated that information presented would help them make better decisions when applying fertilizer.