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UT Extension programs show positive impact

Total economic impact during fiscal 2014 from programs of UT Extension Washington County was more than $600,000.
A summary of accomplishments in the major areas was included in the December meeting packet of the county commission.
Almost 250 growers participated in fruit and vegetable production workshops presented at local businesses and several civic group meetings as part of the Adult and Youth Agriculture program.
In addition, 68 Master Beef Producers were certified this spring, along with 195 Beef Quality Assurance producers. The New Holland sheep and goat load out continues with nearly 800 sheep and goats sold for an additional income of $32,000 for local producers. Over 200 producers attended the Tri-State Beef Conference.
Currently, 204 individuals have completed the commercial pesticide applicator certification test in 14 categories, and 1,448 youth attended the Kids Farm Days tour at the fairgrounds.
Master Gardeners in the Commercial Horticulture program continue to participate in landscape and garden maintenance activities for Johnson City Medical Center, Butterfly Nature Park, Tipton-Haynes Historic Site, Johnson City Parks and Recreation and Appalachian Fairgrounds.
The January landscape seminar for landscaping personnel included more than 100 participants who received pesticide licensing education points for their participation and the fall Pest ID Workshop held on the East Tennessee State University campus.
The Family and Consumer Science program offered Canning Colleges for 21 participants who learned the appropriate procedure to can foods at home during the summer. In November, an advanced canning class was offered with eight individuals participating.
Over the course of the year, 27 Parenting Apart: Effective Co-Parenting classes were completed by approximately 300 individuals. This class is a requirement by the courts to those individuals who are going through a divorce and have children under the age of 18. More than 50 percent of participants had a better attitude after completing the course. Approximately 83 percent said the class helped them understand how the child is affected by divorce, learn techniques for effective communication with their children and the other parent, and increase their understanding of why it is important for both parents to have a relationship with their children and work cooperatively with each other.
Almost 90 percent said the class helped them avoid exposing their children to conflict between the parents.
The FCS agent also worked with the Day Reporting Center, which is under the umbrella of the Targeted Community Crime Reduction Project through the Johnson City Police Department. Programs that have been offered and well received by the offenders are Relationship, Health and Wellness, and Parenting.
The DRC Program currently has 30 individuals enrolled, with the potential for growth to 60 individuals over the course of the next few years.
The Washington County Family and Community Education club members have provided 6,600 volunteer hours doing local community projects, resulting in a savings to the county through volunteer hours of $148,500. More than 30,000 people were reached through the projects.
The Expanded Food Nutrition Education program assisted limited-resource audiences in acquiring the nutrition knowledge, resource management skills and food safety practices to enhance their family lifestyle.
During the summer, the Extension Office switched to Tennessee Consumer Education Program. The EFNEP/TNCEP taught 405 group classes with 2,260 contacts this reporting period. Most of the classes taught were through a strong partnership with the Washington County-Johnson City Health Department’s Women, Infant and Children program. The change from EFNEP to TNCEP will allow more youth and senior education to be presented to the community.
The youth focus of this program impacted almost 9,000 direct contacts. Funding from the TNCEP has increased the age range of youth impacted. This will result in an increase in services to children in limited-resource programs and families such as Head Start and other programs in 2015.
Schools with at least 50 percent free and reduced lunch continue to be offered the school age curricula. The age range has now been expanded from elementary through high school age. Outreach beyond the school systems is ongoing to recruit partnering groups in order to offer the nutrition education services available through the Extension office.
More than 4,000 students enrolled in 4-H during 2014. The main concentration for in-school clubs was on communications, science and service learning. Clubs had 910 youth presenting speeches, 396 designing visual communication posters and 1015 writing environmental essays.
On My Own, a program to develop and hone survival life skills and personal finance, has reached 486 county high school students to date. Follow-up surveys indicate that 92 percent of students realize the necessity for a good education, 92 percent expressed a desire to obtain higher education, and 91 percent can write a check or do a short budget. A major teaching point this year was ensuring students understand that debit card transactions are the same as check transactions and can negatively affect their assets if misused.
During the Sew Happy Camp, participants acquired basic sewing skills, both hand and machine, and some basic pattern alteration skills. Participants were involved in a service project during which they made pillowcase dresses to send to Africa.
A Tri-County Quilting and Social Graces Camp also was conducted. All youth increased their entrepreneurship skill, as well as learned about business etiquette and job interviewing skills.
A total of 75 youth attended 4-H Junior Camp, and 124 attended 4-H Project Celebration Day. In the 12th year of the event, this day camp allows youth to select three classes from 35 offered in courses ranging from babysitting, animal science, arts and crafts, and culinary skills.
The National Energy Education Development grant program that teaches math and science via energy awareness to students in fourth through eighth grades continues to grow in outreach. NEED programs reached all county youth in grades 4-5, and a majority of grades 6-8, with total outreach to date of 2,521 students. The focus this year was “Energy in Motion.” The first 4-H Energy Day Camp was held in the fall with 26 students in attendance. Youth participated in nine hands-on labs and especially enjoyed the rocket class and the solar ovens.
Manners Matter: Social and Business Etiquette is a new evening outreach program that teaches etiquette, social behavior and workforce preparation skills. Of the 30 participants to date, 100 percent can name at least five of 15 dining styles, write formal invitations and thank you cards, and demonstrate basic table manners for dining conduct.
The Heritage Skills club concentrates on entrepreneurial skills such as basketry, quilting, painting, wreath making and culinary skills. This remains an annual ongoing program.
Members of the 4-H Honor Club donated enough items to make 41 shoeboxes for “Operation Christmas Child.” Other service projects included an Agriculture Appreciation Dinner reaching 300, a Food Pantry reaching 1,200, and working at a distribution center in Boone, N.C., serving 1,266 underprivileged young people.
To date, the 66 volunteers who have given their time in support of 4-H and the programs for youth, provided 3,342 hours of volunteer time. Based on federal criteria, their efforts are valued at $74,700.