Chronic diseases are largely preventable through a healthy lifestyle involving a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Obesity, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity disproportionately affect minority and low-income citizens. In 2012, an estimated 1.8 million Ohioans lived in poverty. In an effort to reduce this disparity and improve the health and well-being of Ohioans, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) teaches an eight-lesson nutrition education series to low-income families with children. EFNEP, funded by USDA-NIFA, supports .75 FTE staff in the OSU Extension – Jackson County office.
In 2016, 144 adults in Jackson County participated in EFNEP, with a total reach of 973 family members. Graduates improved nutrition practices (97 percent), food resource management practices (90 percent), and food safety practices (90 percent), resulting in 58 percent of graduates running out of food less often each month. Also 61 percent of graduates increased their physical activity levels, 38 percent improved fruit consumption, and 47 percent improved vegetable consumption.
During 2016, 168 junior high and high school students took part in the Real Money. Real World. financial literacy simulation program. Many participants said they learned how expensive life in the real world can be, and many were more appreciative of what their parents went through to provide for them. Youth also commented that they were going to wait to have children after going through this process. Additionally, 128 high school students gained crucial workplace skills and valuable tools for finding a job through financial literacy programs.
During the overnight camping experiences, 22 teen counselors served as 4-H camp counselors for younger 4-H members. The experience enhanced their leadership, counseling and communication skills after participating in 24 hours of camp counselor training sessions.
With the help of 24 volunteers, 168 non-livestock projects were completed by youth attending general project judging. Youth further explored their individual subject matter and gained valuable interviewing skills as they communicated with the judges about their project work.
This year, 45 older 4-H members served as Junior Fair Board members, which allowed them the opportunity to demonstrate leadership and communication skills. After participating in hands-on training, they applied what they learned by organizing educational learning experiences for 652 youth who gained valuable learning experiences through 1,148 projects. The county fair allowed 4-H members to develop and demonstrate their leadership abilities through planning and implementation of junior fair activities.
OSU Extension partnered with the Jackson OARDC Research Branch to host a Beef and Forage Field Night. More than 225 producers and landowners participated in educational programs related to livestock to learn the latest in veterinary feed directive, making replacement heifer decisions, getting the heifer bred and properly developed to calving time, and keeping the first calf heifer in the herd. As a result, participants improved the efficiency of their enterprises and increased knowledge of recommended production practices.
Jackson County 4-H Youth Development program reached 652 4-H members and Cloverbud youth through 34 4-H clubs. Members learned specific subject-matter knowledge as well as leadership, citizenship and life skills. Leading these groups were 81 4-H adult volunteers who provided youth with a positive relationship with a caring adult.
More than $2,300 in camp scholarships was awarded to 4-H members allowing 40 additional youth to attend 4-H camp. Youth were able to benefit from $1000 from the Stan and Doris Harrison 4-H Scholarships and other funding from the 4-H Advisory Council. Youth had the opportunity to take part in a positive camp experience that they would not have been able to attend otherwise.
Kindergarten programs in two schools focused on topics that matched the school’s curriculum such as sound, recycling, cultural diversity and science fun. Programs were held monthly with 138 kindergarteners.
More than 100 Jackson County youth gained educational experiences by attending overnight 4-H camp at Canter’s Cave 4-H Camp/Elizabeth L. Evans Outdoor Education Center. By taking part in one of four resident summer camps as well as other camps throughout the year, youth learned about their environmental surroundings and gained valuable skills in socialization, communication, personal development and team-building.
More than 500 youth in preschool through third grade participated in school enrichment projects through the Chick Quest program. Youth mastered science skills meeting statewide standards by following the development and hatching of eggs. In addition, 148 youth were involved in 4-H science after-school programming.
More than 600 youth exhibited educational projects at the 2016 Jackson County junior fair. Of those youth, 299 exhibited a market livestock project and participated in the 2016 livestock sale, which garnered a total of $300,713. Thanks to many generous supporters, this amount was $187,719 over market value. Much of the income received by these exhibitors goes toward current or future education expenses.
Through their 4-H projects, youth gained important life skills in the areas of financial management, leadership development, and personal responsibility to help prepare them for the workplace as contributing citizens of our communities.
Nearly 600 second-grade students from Jackson and Vinton counties — along with approximately 60 volunteers — participated in the eighth annual Ag Experience Day in cooperation with Farm Bureau and the OARDC Research Farm. Students gained knowledge in the areas of science, math, agriculture and natural resources through 18 unique sessions. Students were able to apply their classroom lessons and increase their awareness of the agriculture products.
More than 165 people enjoyed the 55th annual Farm-City Field Day at Frazier Farms, owned and operated by Tedd and Alice Frazier and located just outside the Jackson, Ohio city limits. Their beef cattle operation produces both commercial and show cattle along with the hay needed to maintain the herd. Participants toured the facility and looked at and discussed the farm’s pasture management system, pond management, cattle handling facilities, the beef operation, hay storage options, and wildlife management.
Through three educational field trips to Canter’s Cave 4-H Camp/Elizabeth L. Evans Outdoor Education Center, 232 kindergarten and first-grade students had the opportunity to learn about nature, creek studies, boating, team-building and the opportunities available for summer camps.
With the help of 24 teen volunteers who served on 4-H awareness teams, nearly 2,500 youth were introduced to Jackson County 4-H. With exposure to 4-H activities through school programs and awareness visits, students responded with a variety of answers when asked, “What is 4-H all about?” Responses such as “science,” “Legos,” “team-building” and “computers” showed an emphasis on STEM programs and that students are realizing there is more to 4-H than just livestock.