The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) targets low-income individuals in the county. Its goal is to improve the likelihood that families and individuals who receive food assistance benefits will make healthy food choices and choose active lifestyles. In 2016, Vinton County SNAP-Ed delivered 369 sessions that reached more than 1,104 adults and 2,901 youth in direct programming. At least 91 percent of those programs included five or more sessions on nutrition-related topics. Afterward, 89 percent of adult participants indicated that they are “Somewhat Confident” or Very Confident” they will make a positive change in their lifestyle because of the education they received from the SNAP-Ed programming. During the post-evaluation, 80 percent of adults indicated that they will now “Usually” or “Always” use MyPlate for healthy foods choices.
Real Money. Real World. is an active, hands-on experience that gives young people the opportunity to make lifestyle and budget choices similar to those they will face as adults. All sixth-grade students participated in a real-life simulation to help make them aware of the money management skills they need to develop to make lifestyle and budget choices similar to those they will make as adults. At least 60.2 percent of participants showed a positive change in their knowledge about how much money is deducted from your paycheck for taxes and insurance; and 86.2 percent of participants indicated they will now have a plan for spending their money that includes both wants and needs. Afterward, 95.7 percent indicated that participating in Real Money. Real World. will help them in the future.
This year, 24 teens participated in the seventh Vinton County Leadership Retreat at Canter’s Cave in February. Teens are recruited from 4-H, school youth extracurricular groups and other youth organizations to participate in the overnight retreat, which builds leadership, service and teaching skills. Using a four-point scale on pre- and post-tests, teens showed a .81 improvement in knowing what you should do during a job interview; .81 increase in identifying effective methods of communication while working in teams, and .82 increase in working with others to achieve a goal or complete a project.
Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is a collaborative project between the OSU Extension – Vinton County office and The Ohio State University Office of Student Life. Ohio State students spent the week interacting with more than 1,400 Vinton County students on topics such as the ACT test, high school and college class selection, interview skills, scholarships, college costs, senior year preparation, the steps to get into college, and postsecondary options and comparisons. Participants indicated value in the program, with 86 percent citing increased knowledge about postsecondary options; and 91 percent know someone who attended college and can answer their questions about college. ASB is mentioned in the district’s first-ever career advising plan “Viking Success” for K-12 students.
As members of 25 organized community clubs and special interest activities, 531 youth participated in Vinton County 4-H. They learned to be good citizens and to value and practice service for others. These clubs and programs were led by 81 caring adults who developed positive and sustaining relationships that provided safe, inclusive environments for youth to determine goals, make decisions and envision their future. Through volunteer-led education, 85 percent of youth completed their projects with a 10-minute interview with a project judge.
4-H CARTEENS (“Caution And Responsibility” and “Teens”) is a traffic safety education program for first-time juvenile traffic offenders offered in partnership with Juvenile Court and Vinton County Sheriff’s Department. The program is facilitated by 4-H teen leaders and aims to reduce the number of repeat juvenile traffic offenders, decrease the number of teen traffic offenders and increase teen awareness of traffic/vehicular safety. Afterward, 100 percent of the youth indicated they learned new traffic laws during the session, and 85 percent indicated a better understanding of the impacts distractions have on safe driving habits.
Youth development experts know 4-H camp helps build critical life skills for both campers and youth counselors, but 4-H camp also helps the youth build teamwork, communication and leadership, cultivating job readiness skills while connecting the youth with nature. In June, 152 youth ages 8-18 participated in the Vinton County 4-H camping program at Canter’s Cave. Youth experienced living in a cabin with other youth, and they learned valuable life skills while participating in crafts, nature programs and team-building activities.
Volunteers who work directly with youth are critical to ensuring a positive youth development experience for Vinton County 4-H members. Based on an estimated 50 hours per year at a value of $23.56 an hour, 81 adult 4-H volunteers contributed an estimated $95,418 worth of support to our county’s future leaders in 2016. Extension support for their efforts (including initial screening, orientation to the role and continuing training) is an ongoing emphasis in Vinton County. All of the volunteers said they will use available resources to determine risk level when performing activities within their club.
Even though two-thirds of Ohio’s forest is located in Appalachian counties, woodland owners in this region have historically been under-represented at outreach efforts conducted by state forestry and natural resources agencies. “A Day in the Woods: Second Friday Series” is a collaborative effort to enhance participation of Ohio’s Appalachian woodland owners in forestry and natural resources educational efforts. Total participation in 2016 was 463 (an increase of 129 percent), with an average 46 participants per event. Those who completed the evaluations reported managing more than 26,000 acres of woodland; and pre- and post-event evaluations indicated participants increased knowledge by 1.56 points on a 5-point Likert scale as a result of program.