The funds were used for two dinner meetings conducted by our ELC; the first occurred August 24 with our ELC, County Administrators and the Board of Supervisors. At this meeting we opened discussions with folks asking what they knew of Extension and if they’ve used any of our services. Responses were many from 4-H, ANR and FCS. Discussions were very encouraging and several Board of Supervisors and ELC members asked for continuation and growth with several of our programming efforts. The second dinner meeting occurred September 15 with our ELC and their families as part of our Annual ELC Meeting at Randolph Park. ELC members were encouraged to bring their families, enjoy a good meal, have carefree discussions about Extension programming in our community and then talk a walk around the park.
The funding will be used for a Sustainable Communities Tour for the ELC. This one-day trip was originally scheduled for July but had to be postponed due to conflicts. We are currently scheduled to make this trip on Friday, October 30.
In a 12-passenger van, Extension staff and ELC representatives of all program areas will travel to Sylva, NC to meet with County Extension Director Rob Hawk and Chamber of Commerce Director Julie Spiro. We’ll tour a number of downtown businesses, as well as a community garden site. As a group, we’ll discuss the role Cooperative Extension has played in the betterment of Sylva and surrounding areas. The take-home will be two-fold: 1) we’ll collectively arrive at a working definition of “sustainable community” and will determine what has worked for Sylva that could also work for us, or what WON’T work for us. 2) ELC members will collaborate on a group project that highlights sustainable development in the Wise County area.
As far as utilizing the money – Program Area Faculty and Staff purchased and created:
- Faculty and Staff t-shirts designed with the theme of the VA Peanut Festival. (Attached)
- FNP – Stress Balls in the shape of an apple with eh FNP logo imprinted.
- 4-H cups, buttons, bumper stickers and supplies
- Educational Resources related to peanuts and extension
Peanut Butter Bird Feeders, No Kick Cow, Master Gardeners, Interactive Peanut Quiz/Trivia Display, FNP Fitness DVD played on TV, 4-H Teen Club Information Table, 4-H Shooting Sports Club Information Table, 4-H Livestock Club Information Table, Fruit Slush Tasting Station, Fruit and Vegetable Identification Display, Move-O-Matic Line Dancing, Program Area Banners, Demo Kitchen, Giveaways (Stress balls, pencils, pens, cups, bags), 4-H STEM Display
However, none of this happened. Due to the inclement weather predictions the weekend of the VA Peanut Festival, we decided that it was best not to participate.
We have agreed as an office that we will host and open house in November and invite the community to come share with us some of the many resources we have to offer. A date and time has not been selected yet.
We applied for the award funds to assist in rebuilding the Lancaster/Northumberland ELC, as we have lost several members over the last couple of years, including most recently, our ELC chair. With the addition of new extension faculty and staff in the units, we are working to plan an ELC event, where we can invite community stakeholders and organization leaders to learn more about the work of VCE and invite them to join the ELC.
Some of the funds were used to offset the cost of materials and activities for a VCE booth at the Richmond County Fair, the only county fair on the Northern Neck. ELC members and VCE staff members staffed this booth.
During 2015, the Buckingham ELC has enjoyed many successes. One of the most exciting successes is that we have added eight new members. With those whose term had ended this brings total membership to sixteen community members plus five staff members.
ELC members recognized Extension Volunteers in all program areas during National Volunteer Week in May, providing them with a nice meal and a small token of appreciation.
Members have also taken advantages of opportunities that arise to thank members of the Board of Supervisors and our state elected officials for supporting Virginia Cooperative Extension. This was accomplished through phone calls, personal visits to Richmond, and when elected officials came to Buckingham for the grand opening of the Buckingham Agricultural Resource Network (BARN).
One planned project has not yet come to fruition. ELC members had planned a booth at Buckingham’s Fall Fest. Teams of members were going to take shifts manning the booth and promoting Extension. We used grant funds to purchase double-sided teaspoon/tablespoon combinations with the Virginia Cooperative Extension logo to use as a give-a-way at the table. We also had recruited 4-H teens to offer free face painting and lead spontaneous gau-gau games in a portable pit beside our booth. Unfortunately, the rain and winds from Hurricane Joaquin combined with the other weather systems cancelled the event. We are currently deciding whether to wait to do the promotion at next year’s Mayfest celebration or to hold our own open house this fall.
In November, Buckingham 4-H’ers are speaking to the Board of Supervisors, and the members of the ELC plan to be present to show their support. This presentation was actually a product from an ELC meeting where we felt the need to recognize three 4-H teens for their outstanding work in the area of leadership during 2014-2015. To piggyback on this presentation made this fall to the outgoing board, the ELC plans to make a presentation in February to the incoming board — complete with a welcome packet about Virginia Cooperative Extension.
The Buckingham ELC appreciates the support of the State Extension Leadership Council in helping us to grow stronger and make VCE more visible in our community.