The Fit Youth Initiative (FYI) conducted its 12th annual Summer Walking Challenge between May 1 and August 1, 2016. The theme for this year’s event was “A Dozen Ways to Be Healthy,” and focused on six community walks and six wellness events taking place in Tuscarawas County during the challenge timeline. More than 900 individuals took steps to improve their health and fitness with more than 260 walkers completing the 30-hour walking challenge. Additionally, 136 individuals participated in at least one adventure hike. OSU Extension – Tuscarawas County is the lead agency for the Fit Youth Initiative.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) taught 64 adult programs and 98 youth programs for a total of 162 programs and 1,942 total participants. SNAP-Ed consists of a series of programs providing nutrition education to individuals who receive or are eligible to receive SNAP benefits. This type of education is composed of six topics: MyPlate, Dairy, Protein, Whole Grains, Fruits and Vegetables, and Food Shopping. As a result of SNAP-Ed programming, several site locations noted an increase in the requests for healthful food purchases.
In early 2016, the Ohio Department of Health announced a new policy including specific training and certification requirements for license renewal of risk level 3 and 4 food service operations. OSU Extension Tuscarawas County responded by increasing class offerings and providing opportunities for online courses and testing. At least 160 owners/managers completed the nationally recognized ServSafe® Manager training program, and 95 percent of participants taking the examination successfully passed their certification exam on their first attempt. OSU Extension – Tuscarawas County also partnered with area restaurants, camps, and culinary arts programs to provide employee level food safety training. At a recent ServSafe® Manager class, a student noted, “Everyone should take this class. Now that I have taken this, I will be sending all of my employees.”
Volunteers are the 4-H program’s most valuable asset. Nearly 300 4-H volunteers contributed to the success of 1,125 4-H members. This year, 218 volunteers provided leadership to 60 clubs, while other volunteers served on committees and assisted with 4-H project evaluations and other 4-H programs and activities. Also, 29 adult volunteers attended the Ohio 4-H Conference for educational opportunities to enhance their leadership. Volunteer trainings and resources are available at the local, state, and national level. These dedicated volunteers assisted our youth in nearly 1,700 individual 4-H projects in 2016.
STEM programming was conducted in 23 classrooms with the 4-H Science Alive curriculum. Students learned about chicken embryology with Chick Quest, while others learned about force and motion via rocketry with Rockets Away. More than 700 students enhanced their knowledge and skills through 4-H in the Classroom programs.
Teen leadership development is an attribute to older youth members. Monthly meetings were held January-March with activities to build critical life skills, including leadership, teamwork, and decision making. Leadership opportunities included camp counselors (30 participants), Junior Fair Board (29 participants), along with individuals attending State Leadership Camp, Citizenship Washington Focus, and Ohio 4-H Sea Camp.
The highlight of summer continues to be 4-H camp. A total of 144 campers, led by 30 teen counselors, interacted with youth from around the county at 4-H Camp Piedmont. Through group activities and cooperation, campers developed life skills, positive attitudes, and enhanced leadership skills. These skills help the campers become self-directed and productive members of society. Camp builds lifetime friendships, along with great memories.
Tuscarawas County has a 4-H Cloverbud program with more than 200 youth. Forty-one members (grades K-2) attended a Cloverbud day camp at the Tuscarawas County fairgrounds. Campers participated in “Cloverbud Olympic” activities, while learning about the history and traditions of the Olympics. Campers were given opportunities to play in games similar to those shown in the Olympics. Twelve adults and teen volunteers assisted with the camp.
More than 640 youth learned how to provide proper handling and care, maintain workplace safety, and practice good environmental stewardship at one of six livestock quality assurance trainings. The trainings were a collaborative effort among OSU Extension, the Senior Fair Board, the market livestock committee, the junior fair dairy committee, and the small animal committee. A total of 585 youth exhibited livestock projects during the 2016 Tuscarawas County fair.
The interconnectedness of children, parents, and grandparents within a family helps to determine the success of the members in those families. OSU Extension – Tuscarawas County is helping families through Family Connect programming. This programming offers workshops to parents and caregivers of children from birth through their high school years. Participants at 23 separate workshop events received tools to improve communication, build self-esteem, and develop a plan for more effective discipline.
OSU Extension – Tuscarawas County partnered with the Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau in an effort to give back to Tuscarawas County. The two agencies worked together to present the Hospice Harvest Dinner, an event which raised more than $25,000 for the community hospice while heightening the awareness of Tuscarawas County’s agricultural diversity. The evening included a meal of locally sourced meat, bread, dairy, produce, and wine prepared and served by friends of agriculture. Guests enjoyed video clips featuring local producers and those supporting the industry through their work. Those attending left the event with a greater appreciation of agricultural diversity and economic value in the county.
What impact does the addition of potash fertilizer have on corn grain yield? OSU Extension – Tuscarawas County developed a replicated plot to compare normal rates of potash and the application of 200 additional pounds per acre of potash. This first-year study will answer questions about finding an optimal fertilizer rate for corn production, while protecting water quality.
Farmers who apply fertilizer to more than 50 acres of land must be certified to do so. OSU Extension has developed curriculum to teach best management practices that farmers should follow to minimize nutrient runoff and maintain or improve water quality. A post-program survey found: 77 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that fertilizer loss is a problem to water; 96 percent agreed or strongly agreed they improved their knowledge of nutrient management; and 53 percent agreed or strongly agreed they would change their nutrient management practices.
OSU Extension – Tuscarawas County, in conjunction with the Tuscarawas County Cattle Association, sponsored a beef twilight tour. Participants learned how managed grazing practices reduce production costs, maintain or improve environmental quality, and the impact of the Veterinary Feed Directive.
Farmers who hold restricted-use pesticide applicator licenses must obtain recertification training. Participants learn about new pesticide products, the safe and responsible handling and use of pesticides, and management practices to minimize environmental impact. A summary of participant evaluations showed: 94 percent agreed or strongly agreed they improved their personal safety practices; 99 percent agreed or strongly agreed they had taken measures to protect the environment; 88 percent agreed or strongly agreed they used pesticides more cost effectively; 86 percent agreed or strongly agreed they learned to control pests more effectively; 98 percent agreed or strongly agreed they were better informed about pesticide safety; and 99 percent agreed or strongly agreed the training made them more aware of current pesticide-related topics.