4-H CARTEENS is a traffic safety program conducted by 4-H teen leaders and their program partners for juvenile traffic offenders. CARTEENS goals include: reducing the number of repeat juvenile traffic offenders, decreasing the number of teen traffic offenders, and increasing teen awareness of traffic/vehicular safety. CARTEENS is held at the Extension office the first Saturday of every other month. A total of 55 youth have participated in the program since January.
Young people know 4-H camp is fun. Youth development experts know 4-H camp helps build critical life skills for both campers and youth counselors. 4-H camp helps build teamwork, communications, and leadership, cultivating the job readiness skills employers look for, all while giving campers a chance to connect to nature. The 2016 4-H camp provided the setting for 165 youth (including 42 camp counselors) to “Step into Paradise” as we had a Hawaiian theme helping youth to develop life skills. This theme was then carried over into Cloverbud camp where 26 Cloverbuds were led by 10 camp counselors. They had a fun filled day of crafts that were related to the camp theme, snacks, and the counselor’s favorite camp song.
More than 100 individual requests for information have come into the office since January and have been answered. Most of these have dealt with pesticide and fertilizer applicator licensing, small farm operations (beginning, ideas for livestock, transitioning to organic, etc.), cash rents and custom rates, and insect/weed/disease identification.
Assuring Quality Care for Animals, an OSU Extension signature program, is held every year for livestock exhibitors. This year, approximately 400 youth and parents participated by attending a QA session provided by Shelby County or by testing out of the program all together.
Ohio SNAP-Ed, a nutrition education program serving low-income adults and youth throughout Ohio, is a partnership between the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and OSU Extension. Our goal is to improve the likelihood that families and individuals who receive food assistance benefits (SNAP benefits) make healthy food choices and choose active lifestyles. Participants learn to select fruits and vegetables, whole grain, and low-fat dairy products for a healthy diet; to use limited resources to plan, purchase and prepare food for the family; to be physically active every day; and to store and handle food so it is safe to eat. SNAP-Ed programming focuses on diet quality, including promotion of physical activity; food safety; and food resource management. The dissemination of nutrition education is mainly achieved by classes which are scheduled throughout Ohio. The format of the classes varies from a single session to a series of sessions.
In Shelby County, direct contacts reached 498 adults, 103 teens, and 2,834 youth, with a total population of 3,435 participants. This year, 41 series of two to four lessons each were taught. 42 series of five to nine lessons each were taught, and 200 series of 10 or more lessons each were taught. All of the lessons were taught in a series. The total number of direct education classes was 283. The total number of participants reached indirectly was 10,389. Those who receive food assistance benefits may learn about SNAP-Ed and nutrition from newsletters and fact sheets.
Shelby County 4-H volunteers are critical to the success of the country 4-H program. Eleven new volunteers completed the screening and orientation process. In all, 150 volunteers provided leadership to 32 community-based clubs, enabling 982 4-H members (including 126 Cloverbuds) to have positive youth development experiences.
This year, 28 teens representing different schools, clubs, and organizations (FFA, 4-H, and Girl Scouts) served as the primary leadership and youth governing body of the Shelby County junior fair. These members plan, organize, implement shows, hire judges, and contact award donors. Members hold regular monthly meetings October-July; work in the Extension office June-July, hold work nights prior to the start of fair, and run the 4-H pre-fair judging. To increase interaction with youth in the community and in 4-H, they held a community “drive-in movie night” during the summer at the fairgrounds.
Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs), trained by OSU Extension, help Extension share research-based information with gardeners through workshops, community gardens, and one-on-one consultations. Forty active MGVs provided 1,881 hours of volunteer service, a value of $41,500, based on a rate of $22 per hour. They helped 12,566 adult clientele with home horticultural concerns in an economic and environmentally sound way and also worked with 2,329 youth with “nature” activities. They also attained 621 hours of continuing education credit.
MGVs sponsor the flower and vegetable awards for the junior fair and continue to maintain flower gardens at both the Extension office and the Shelby County fairgrounds. A number of our members have been actively involved in leading the Agape community garden. Several volunteers provided their expertise at Conservation Day Camp. More than 100 children created buckeye necklaces at the Drive-It-Yourself Farm Tour, Forestry Field Day and the Shelby County fair. MGVs also had displays at the Shelby, Auglaize, and Mercer County fairs.
Last fall, 42 people attended the Master Gardener Volunteer banquet, where Conelia Dixon was recognized as Volunteer of the Year for her work with the community gardens at AGAPE. Seven members “graduated” from Intern status to full-fledged Master Gardener Volunteer by the time of the banquet. One member serves on the State Master Gardener Volunteer Advisory Committee.
The Bi-Annual Shelby County Drive-It-Yourself Farm Tour was held in September 2016 with more than 500 people attending. OSU Extension and our Master Gardener Volunteers each had a display. The MGVs helped with “school kid day” on Friday and manned hands-on, kid displays during the tour on Sunday.
Weekly radio programs on WCSM reached audiences in Shelby, Mercer, Darke, and Auglaize counties. Mostly-regular articles in the Sidney Daily News were available to both subscribers and online readers. Topics for both included local as well as statewide OSU Extension activities.
In addition to those that subscribe directly, copies of the CORN, BEEF, Dairy, VegNet, and Ohio Ag Manager newsletters were sent to 70+ farmers and landowners in Shelby County from the office.
The Second “Women in Agriculture: An Empowerment Celebration” was held on March 17 at St. Michael’s Hall in Fort Loramie. This program began with a Keynote Speaker (“Joys and Perils of Working with Family”) and had four break-out sessions, with wine and beer tastings as well as hor d’oerves. As part of our outreach efforts, part of our registration fee is donated to a local organization. New Choices, an organization that deals with family violence issues, received $800. This event was planned and organized by various “ag” organizations and industry representatives in Shelby County. Attendance this year was nearly 100, with 13 sponsors.
A total of 250 people attended West Ohio Agronomy Day, supported by 17 agribusinesses. Integrated pest management principles were emphasized during training that provided private pesticide recertification credits to 164 farmers and commercial applicators from Shelby and neighboring counties. In addition, 160 farmers and commercial applicators received their certifications to apply commercial fertilizers. Sessions emphasized profitable and environmentally sound crop fertility practices. Extension personnel and specialists from Purdue and OSU Extension taught various segments of the program. Certified Crop Advisers earned 128.5 Continuing Education Credits.
New in 2016, the evening session of West Ohio Agronomy Day was held a week later. Ninety-three attended that program with 72 Private Pesticide Applicators Recertified and 59 completing their Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training.
Three three-hour Fertilizer Applicator Certification Trainings were held in conjunction with Auglaize County. The two programs in March saw 92 new Shelby County Fertilizer Applicators certified in our efforts to improve water quality; the August program had seven Shelby County farmers receive their certification.
A “Pasture Management” discussion was presented at a 4-H horse clinic in May. Topics of interest included plant choice, pasture lay-out, frequency of grazing, fencing, and weed control. There were about 25 in attendance, with lots of questions and discussion later.