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5 Ways Extension Transforms My World | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

5 Ways Extension Transforms My World

“Share your stories,” I was told last week at my first PCaret meeting in Indianapolis. PCaret, or the Purdue Council for Research, Extension, and Teaching. PCaret brings together people who have been impacted by and see the benefits of Extension programming. Here’s my story.

Getting my kids to join 4-H 8 years ago was the best decision I made as a mother.  I never knew it would change our lives.

Computer Hardware Workshop With Webcam

    1. 4-H Prepared My Kids for a Changing World. As my kids begin their college search, their 4-H experiences have prepared them to handle challenges. It’s not just the skills they learned showing chickens, baking pies, or building rockets. It’s their experiences as 4-H camp counselors or leadership training. It’s competing in state contests, managing food booths, volunteering at the State Fair, and more. It’s leadership training in Washington, D.C. and white water rafting in Georgia. Later this spring, my daughter will serve as 1 of 2 Indiana delegates at the National 4-H Conference. 4-H pranks have inspired their creativity. My daughter my son’s Christmas present with duct tape last year (after seeing a 4-H prank). Last weekend at a Product Innovation team scholarship contest, she covered a container with yellow duct tape the same way. Her graphic skills she learned doing project posters helped her, as did experiences working on projects late the night before the fair. She could handle the stress of  getting a challenge at 8 p.m. and working with her team until 3 a.m. to present to faculty members of a university’s School of Business at 9 a.m. the next morning. (They won 1st place.)
    2. 4-H Broadens Knowledge Bases. 4-H is working to build 1 million new scientists with its programming. Locally, I started a Tech Club 6 years ago that offers monthly science workshops. Last year, through corporate donations, we sponsored our first all-club rocket built and launch. With an all-new Junk Box Robotics curriculum designed by national 4-H, we have a template for affordable hands-on workshops that will teach physics, robotics, engineering, and more to our members through workshops for several years.
    3. Extension Homemakers Still Thrives. Last year, I became a Ya-Ya, a local extension club. Our meetings are  my Moms Night Out, when I can learn new things and am encouraged by other busy wives and moms. The younger moms there keep me current on changing trends and technology.  We teach and encourage each other through meeting programs. We share ideas for our homes and families via Pinterest.
    4. 2008 Small Garden Contest Entry

      Master Gardeners Builds Skills. When my daughter went through the Master Gardener program last term, she learned how Japanese beetle traps were made. During last week’s Product Innovation contest, she applied that to her team’s Leprechaun Trap, using a pretty female leprechaun as bait to capture greedy leprechauns. She sold her team members with the point structure (learned from 4-H projects) – half of the points were for creativity and innovation. Like all the other Master Gardeners in our county, she will volunteer 40 hours this year to share knowledge and work in community gardens.

Extension Becomes Extended Family.

    We live in a world where many of us no longer have the support of extended families. Many youth don’t have strong role models. Many of our county’s 4-H leaders are 2nd and 3rd generation volunteers. Some have volunteered more than 40 years. That stability transforms lives.

Thanks to the Millers who helped lead Energetics for 37 years.

Extension’s programs have extended not only our family’s experiences but also our opportunities.

As Extension has transformed my family’s world, it’s inspired us to create a better world for others.


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