Live Healthy Live Well e-Challenges were three six-week online challenges that attracted 816 adult participants. Twice-weekly emails encouraged respondents to increase their physical activity, improve their diet, and use coping techniques to reduce stress. Post-challenge surveys indicated that 732 of these participants reported they are using the information they learned. Of these respondents, 83 percent reported adopting one or more of the recommended practices that might help reduce their risk of developing chronic disease. One participant reported, “I absolutely loved this wealth of information and how relatable it was to my everyday life. It was fun, upbeat, and easy enough to do and kept your attention.”
The culture in Pickaway County is changing toward wellness. Recently 52 county employees participated in a four-year Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Wellness grant. Employees shared that 38 percent recently started to make changes; and 25 percent self-reported they already have healthy habits. The county has made improvements on reducing stress, having a primary care provider, and exercising more. Fewer employees use tobacco and elevated blood pressure levels reduced from 64 percent (2015) to 54 percent (2016). Innovative accomplishments include receiving a grant for five defibrillators for county offices; a safety grant for noise baffles for the county dog pound; and premium holiday discounts for employees who participate in wellness programs. Free sunscreen was placed in the break room at the engineer’s department. Following a sun safety program and six weeks of printed educational resources, office staff reported an increase in use of sunscreen.
Pickaway County 4-H served 796 youth through 36 4-H clubs. Pickaway County 4-H is led by adults who provide safe, inclusive environments to youth. Members set goals, make decisions, develop leadership skills, make lasting friendships, and serve as officers. The program encourages family involvement to develop our youth into capable, caring, citizens of tomorrow.
Throughout the year, 129 volunteers worked directly with youth, ensuring positive youth development experiences. These volunteers provided leadership to the 4-H club and county program, with each volunteer donating approximately 100 hours per year. At the current Ohio rate of $22.14 per volunteer hour, this equals $285,606 worth of volunteer support. OSU Extension requires all volunteers to complete initial screenings and background checks, orientation, and continuing training so our program and volunteers are providing a safe, caring environment for youth.
Real Money. Real World., an OSU Extension signature program, provides middle school students with an understanding of how current education, income, and life choices affect future income. Participants learn how much to expect to pay for housing, transportation, food, utilities, college loans, clothing, insurance, and childcare; and how to balance “wants” and “needs.” In collaboration with Pickaway H.E.L.P.S, OSU Extension offered this hands-on program to 746 eighth graders. This year, 86 community partners participated in the simulations, staffing booths, teaching financial education, and assisting the students in making sound financial decisions. Student self-assessment statements included: “I would buy less brand name clothes,” “Kids are expensive,” “Life is a whole lot harder than I thought,” and “Money doesn’t go very far.”
Young people know 4-H camp is fun, and youth development experts know 4-H camp helps build critical life skills for both campers and youth counselors. This year, 35 teens served as 4-H camp counselors, participating in 28 hours of on-site and classroom training. 4-H camp counseling helps build teamwork, communications, and leadership which cultivates the job readiness skills that employers desire. Pickaway County’s traditional 4-H camp at Tar Hollow State Park resident camp offered outdoor experiences to 131 campers ages 9-13. Other camping experiences offered to Pickaway County youth were 4-H Shooting Sports Camp, Forestry Camp, Ohio 4-H Sea Camp, State 4-H Leadership Camp, and Citizenship-Washington Focus, providing specialized educational opportunities to 12 Pickaway County youth. A total of $3,620 was contributed by the community to support teens attending award trips, support first-time campers, and assist families in need to send kids to 4-H camp.
This year, 20 senior citizens participated in the Matter of Balance Program. This evidenced-based eight-session program was a community partnership effort of OSU Extension, YMCA, and the Pickaway County Public Library. Class evaluation results indicate participants have made changes in their home environment to reduce their risk of falling. Environmental changes included installing grab bars and placing grip pads under rugs. All class participants reported they were more comfortable increasing their activity level and they planned to continue exercising.
A total of 65 farmers, government officials, landowners and students spent a full day discovering and learning about future growth in the central Ohio area. Participants were divided into age groups “Millennial,” “Gen X Gen Y,” and “Baby Boomers.” Multiple breakout sessions to discuss and formulate strategies were incorporated; and as a result, the millennial group has begun to develop a formal network. To facilitate this OSU Extension and Pickaway County Farm Bureau made plans to create a Young Agriculture Professionals Network in late 2016.
Managing crop nutrient inputs, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, is important to the crop producers in Pickaway County. Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training (FACT) was attained by 75 producers during three programs. Attendees learned best management practices associated with phosphorus and nitrogen application, critical soil test levels, and the 4R philosophy of right rate, right source, right time, and right placement.
The first joint field day sponsored by OSU Extension and the Pickaway Soil and Water Conservation District was attended by 49 landowners and farmers. They saw demonstrations of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, manure spreader calibration, post-emerald ash borer woodlots, and summer annuals for beef cattle in rotational grazing.