499 adults attended a total of 91 direct education classes held in cooperation with Union County Department of Job and Family Services, the Ohio Reformatory for Women (ORW), nonprofit social services agencies, low-income housing sites, faith-based agencies, and congregate meal sites of the Senior Nutrition Program. Participants learned to select fruits and vegetables, whole grains, 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. 822 Head Start preschool youth and participants in the summer food Services Program sponsored by Marysville Library learned about food and nutrition topics through experiences such as sorting foods into the five food groups and other food activities, food samplings, and making healthy simple snacks
Pesticide Applicator Recertification Training (PACT) and Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training (FACT) were conducted with total attendance of 60.
Conducted a First-Responder Agriculture Safety Training event in cooperation with the Union County Agriculture Association. Fire, Emergency Medical Services, and Law Enforcement from Union County and neighboring counties were invited to participate in this half-day training event. More than 40 participants and presenters combined for an effective learning atmosphere. Participants were rotated through five stations that provided hands-on educational opportunity. Included in this was a scenario of an entrapment under a combine grain head that needed raised off the victim, proper cutting of augers to free an entanglement, working safely around livestock/horses/dogs, shutting down power to equipment/power take offs, and electrical/powerline safety. Partners contributing to the success of this event included Memorial Health, Marysville Fire District, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Heritage Cooperative, Parrott Implement, Union Rural Electric, OSU Large Animal Veterinary Service, Union County Dog Warden, and Lee Farms.
Home food preservation safety factsheets were distributed to 120 participants at the Union County Farmer’s Market and pressure canner lid testing events. Live Healthy, Live Well online challenges were offered in Union County and reached 70 participants. All participants indicated an increase in knowledge.
A Grain Outlook meeting was held in cooperation with the Union County Agriculture Association, OSU Extension – Madison County, and OSU Extension – Champaign County. Topics included: examining land values, cash rents, crop input costs and margins in 2016, grain markets in 2016, and The Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership: What Might it Mean for U.S. Agriculture? Attendance was 65 individuals.
Basic Budgeting classes have been offered to adolescents in partnership with Ohio Means Jobs. Additionally, these same budgeting principles were delivered to re-entering adults, adults working with the Union County Courts and Job and Family Services. Evaluations indicate a diverse audience in the county made a 94 percent increase in knowledge related to improving their practices in managing daily finances.
125 4-H members participate in 4-H equine projects. Through the leadership of adult volunteer advisors and the 4-H Horse Council, more than 30 Union County horse project members participated and competed in state equine events including a communications contest, Horse Bowl, hippology, horse judging, horse skillathon, junior horse show, competitive trail ride, and Groom and Clean. Union County 4-H had members or teams participate and place in every statewide horse event. 4-H horse project members have gained numerous life skills through their hours of team practice and event participation.
A variety of evidence-based curricula including Master of Memory and Matter of Balance were offered in Union County and engaged 62 participants. Evaluations indicate that 96 percent of participants feel more confident to remain independent in their homes and less socially isolated. A variety of research-based curricula were implemented in Union County to meet the demand of parenting programs including Successful Co-Parenting, Active Parenting 4th Edition and Active Parenting 1234. These classes addressed parenting styles, child development, communication, discipline strategies, and building family strengths. Parenting classes were offered to more than 200 participants, and 95 percent indicated a positive change in their parenting practices.
Beginning in 2015, The Ohio State University has mandated Child Abuse Protection training for all university staff and volunteers working with youth. As a result, the OSU Extension – Union County 4-H program has trained 221 adult and teen volunteers to recognize child abuse and the reporting obligation for volunteers serving youth through Extension.
A total of 1,140 youth participated in 47 community 4-H clubs led by adult volunteers. Through club activities and self-selected project work youth enhanced their skills related to organization, time management, record keeping, financial management, communication and leadership. More than 1,800 4-H projects were completed by youth, with a strong emphasis in animal sciences, food and nutrition, and equine. A total of 104 5- to 8-year-olds participated in the countywide Cloverbud program. Lessons and activities were led by the 4-H educator and eight volunteers on agricultural topics. For example; one meeting was devoted to studying corn; how it is grown and harvested locally, and how we use corn products in everyday life.
This year, 206 youth participated in a 4.5 day 4-H overnight camp. In all, 44 teens were trained and served as the leadership and teaching team for camp. All teen leaders completed a minimum of 18 hours of training, including child abuse protection training.
Teen leaders taught 42 sessions throughout camp while emphasizing group dynamics and personal responsibility. On the written evaluation, 94 percent of camper participants indicated they intended to return for another year. One participant wrote; “4-H is the best part of the summer.”
The Union County Master Gardener Volunteers currently have 44 active members and 10 interns. From October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016, they volunteered a total of 2,070 hours in 30 different projects. They also accumulated 772 hours of education and drove 21,000 miles for volunteer activities. These volunteer projects reached a total of 1,320 contacts, including adults and youth. The current president was honored as the Volunteer of the Year at the Ohio State Master Gardener Volunteer Conference and Dutch Mill Greenhouse was awarded the Friend of Master Gardener Volunteers on the state level.
Adult and teen volunteers make a significant economic impact in Union County communities through their service to the 4-H program. 330 adults and teens actively volunteer in 4-H leadership roles. The estimated value of a volunteer hour is $23.56 (independentsector.org). Each volunteer contributes 20 or more hours in their role; giving a value to the Union County community of more than $155,000 in 2016.