The SNAP-Ed program is proud to have provided education on nutrition, menu planning, saving food dollars and food safety to many partner agencies within Seneca County. Some of those partner agencies are senior citizen service sites such as the Kiwanis Manor, along with the Tiffin and Fostoria Commission on Aging. Snap-Ed also collaborates with The Salvation Army, and The Seneca East Public Library offering adult Direct Education Classes in 2016. As a result of these classes it has been reported that many of those county residents who participated in the programs learned either some or a lot of new information, and they reported that they would be changing behaviors as a result of the instruction. Clients have indicated on evaluations that the information received has helped them make healthier choices and save money at the grocery store. The SNAP-Ed program in 2016 continued to go into the schools collaborating with the principals and or teachers to provide nutrition classes to some of our youth in Seneca County. The Seneca County SNAP-Ed program assistant again this year taught pre-K and kindergarten at Longfellow Elementary and the first and second graders at Riley Elementary School both, of these schools are a part of the Fostoria Community School District. Also in addition we have collaborated with Fostoria Intermediate Elementary School teaching the third- and fourth-grade classes and the pre-K classes at the WSOS site in Fostoria and we will be working with the new WSOS site in Tiffin Ohio at the Lincoln Elementary School. The kids learned a lot about nutrition, they have tried new foods, and they are learning about the importance of physical activity while having fun at the same time.
We were also able to hook up with the Salvation Army offering nutrition education based on the MyPlate food groups to the youth who participate in their once per week “Supper Club” program. We taught the kids about making healthy food choices and being physically active. The Program Assistant was able to provide these classes to the kids on an average of every other week throughout the school year. Also, we are working with The Caring Hands Pregnancy Center in Fostoria to offer a series of nutrition education classes to expecting parents and those who are already parents. We completed one series in 2015 and 2016 with plans to complete two to three more series throughout 2017.
Seneca County also participated in the Summer Food Service Program. This is another great program in which the SNAP-Ed program travels to food service sites and delivers to school-age children grades K-6 information regarding nutrition and MyPlate, as well as interactions with physical activity. This past summer (2015), the SNAP-Ed program assistant collaborated with not only Fostoria Community Schools, but also with the Geary Family YMCA in Fostoria. The number of sites was increased from one to three, which allowed us to reach more children in neighborhoods who might not have taken advantage of the program in previous years due to transportation issues and the limitation of space.
Future programing in Seneca County in 2017 consists of possibly hiring another program assistant to help with the current youth programing and possibly marketing to collaborate with more agencies.
This year, 20 4-H members ages 14-18 served as camp counselors for our junior camp “Shoot for the Stars.” They went through 24 hours of training which taught leadership, responsibly, and conscientiousness to assure the counselors understand their role and responsibilities as a 4-H camp counselor. These training hours included a lot of planning for camp and the activities, but also taught what to do in case of an emergency situation, different stages of youth development and how those stages required different types of guidance by counselors, and youth privacy and protection. Counselors were able to share their skills and motivate others by working together to put on a great 4-H camp.
In 2016, OSU Extension – Seneca County provided fun and engaging educational activities to a total of 42 4-H clubs under the guidance of 143 volunteers. Membership totaled 964 youth with 806 youth ages 8-19 participating in traditional club experiences and 158 youth ages 5-8 participating in Cloverbud activities. Club activities and educational projects completed by individual members provided members with opportunities to explore a wide array of subject areas and interests. Members also developed life skills throughout the year that included: effective decision making, teamwork, leadership, responsibility, communication, and building interpersonal relationships. All of these are great tools that help youth grow and become successful as they move on to college, adulthood, and into the work force.
Eighty-seven junior campers ages 8-13 participated in group activities, team-building, sessions, and programs at this year’s Junior Camp “Shoot for the Stars.” In addition to adapting to being away from home for a few days, campers built relationships and lasting friendships with others. Campers’ evaluations indicated they gained team-building skills, basic living skills, and were able to step out of their comfort zone and try new things.
In 2016, the 4-H CARTEENS program taught safe driving skills to 88 teens aged 16-19 who participated in the program. CARTEENS is provided for teens who have received a first-time driving offence. . Other older teens ages 16-19 serve as instructors to teach the sessions and guide activities during the CARTEENS program. We currently have six teen instructors and five adult volunteers. The teens learn about drug and alcohol abuse, tire tread, overdriving your headlights, what different acronyms and road signs mean, and various law enforcement rules and regulations. Most of the teens who went through the program said that their driving behavior and/or practices will improve and they will be safer when getting in a vehicle. They liked how the activities were interactive, meaningful and educational.
Junior Leadership Club has approximately 15 active club members ages 14-18 who learn to provide outstanding service and guidance to their clubs and communities using the leadership skills they develop during club activities. The teens volunteer to help with various programs and events that the 4-H program conducts and participate in community service projects and fun social events. This year, they planted flowers in a large pot placed to enhance the beauty of the city of Tiffin, and the teens were in charge of watering and maintaining flowers throughout the summer. They also put together a basket of books to give away as a door prize for the Storybook Festival put on by the Tiffin Public Library. Around the holiday, they make and sell candies with the proceeds being used to support other programming within the club. The club is actively planning for next year.
In 2016, Seneca County Master Gardener Volunteers had 48 members, four new this year. The volunteers hosted annual plant sales, maintained flower beds, and produced newspaper, radio, and newsletter reports. “Out and About Preschool Garden,” “Whole Food Medicine in Your Backyard,” and “Plant Diagnostics” were some of the educational programs presented by the Master Gardener Volunteers. The group has received a platinum level award from the state for OSUE Standards of Excellent. Master Gardener Volunteer Janet Cole received a state-level award for Outstanding Master Gardener Volunteer of the year.