Tuesday, July 26, 2016

As things come to an End

The end of the summer is quickly approaching meaning my time in Jefferson County is coming to an end. It has been a very busy but fun summer and it’s bittersweet that it’s almost over. I have learned so much and experienced new things such has going to Cloverbud and 4-H camp for the first time also attending Project WET training. I have been put out of my comfort zone but for the better. This summer has made me work on my professional skills while learning about cooperative extension. I came into this internship not knowing anything about 4-H and not knowing what to expect this summer. I am so blessed to be given this opportunity. I’ve met a lot of great people who I will have for a while and learned professional behaviors that are very useful.

Last month I had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop for camp orientation which is one of the things that put me out my comfort zone. I had to prepare a lesson on understanding children and had to teach that to four different classes on my own. After the first class I felt comfortable speaking in front of everyone.

The week of July 12th
I conducted my summer project which was a 3 day camp on physical fitness and health for 9 and 10 years at Cane Run Elementary school. These kids are part of a summer

program partnered with the YMCA. For my camp I taught the kids the importance of being physically fit and eating healthy and how it will be beneficial to your future because it decreases your risks of getting diabetes, cancer, and can help you live a longer life. I incorporated fun games and activities with a healthy snack at the end of each day. The kids seem to have enjoyed it and learned something new.  

Last week I had the opportunity to go to 4-H Camp for the first time. I really enjoyed myself and met some great people. I taught a tye dye class which the kids loved and got a chance to ride in a boat. It was a great experience and I see why the leaders like to come every year.

Closing the doors on this summer internship is going to be hard. I have experienced so much and learned so many life skills. I can really say that I can consider myself being an agent one day in the future once I’m done with school. I love kids and giving back to the community so I believe this was the perfect internship for me. I will take with me what I learned this summer. I’m going to miss the people that I work with. They welcomed me and made me feel like a part of their family.

The Intern Diaries: Scott County Edition II

As interns, our experiences are so vastly different from one another. Different program areas, varying counties in the state, and a wide range of communities ensure that no two intern’s summer looks the same. However, when it is all said and done, and we interns leave our office for the last time, whether it be in District 1 or District 7, we walk away with a deeper understanding and passion for cooperative extension.

My passion is found in the people we serve. Meeting so many of Scott County’s farmers, teachers, and community leaders has easily been the highlight of my summer. From helping the tobacco farmer find the problem with his crop, to speaking with the school district Superintendent about the possibility of a school farm proves that extension reaches every inch of the county. When brainstorming for my project, I wanted something where I could do just that, reach every inch of Scott County. So, I decided to market our small flock of chickens here at the office as “The Community’s Flock.” I could not settle on just one use for them, so why not do it all? 4-H members have been in the coops and learned about egg production. Our Homemakers have enjoyed the benefit of fresh eggs and used them in baking for FCS programming. Farmers, new and experienced, have taken chicks we hatched here or eggs to incubate themselves in hopes of starting or growing a flock of their own. Our eggs have been taken weekly to the Amen House so those less fortunate than us can enjoy them as well. My goal was for people from all walks of life to experience and learn from “The Community’s Flock.” As it comes to a close, I believe my goal was closely met.

This experience would be nothing without the amazing people in the office. My supervising agent, Michelle Simon, has become not only a mentor but a friend. I am so thankful she took the chance and accepted an intern from across the state. Our FCS, 4-H, and Horticulture agents have also been so kind and welcoming since day one. I never once have felt like “the intern.” I have been treated with such respect during the entire twelve weeks. Even when I accidentally let the chickens get loose and they had to come help me catch them, they still kept me around. I have learned so much this summer from each one of them, and those skills will help me be successful in whatever career I choose.

As I walk away from my office, in Scott County, I leave with a new attitude. Nestled in every one of Kentucky’s 120 counties lies a cooperative extension office ready and eager to serve its community. Whether we as interns return to extension for a career or pursue other paths, we will always appreciate our summer spent in one of those offices serving the people.

Monday, July 25, 2016

My Final Weeks in Shelby County

My final weeks in Shelby County.... This is such a bittersweet time. I am so grateful that I was awarded this opportunity to be a part of such a great program. I came into this internship with no expectations, no knowledge of 4-H, and no connection with it all. I can now have the pleasure of saying I have experience in 4-H and in FCS in Extension. It truly is the hidden gem. I have fallen in love.


These last couple of weeks I have been working on my manners program and completing that project. I think that if I were to ever do that program again I would have it in longer sessions. Getting all the information and practicing it all took more time than I thought. I would have a bigger lunch, with more courses to really test the kids. But, other than that I think the program went great. The kids said they had fun, and would be willing to do something like this again.

Overall, I still think getting licked by the cow was my favorite part of the summer, besides working with the staff and another intern, Danielle in the Shelby County office. Getting to interact with them has really brought me comfort while being here. I knew nobody here, wasn't familiar with the area or even Kentucky for that matter. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and I am excited to do it again.

This program is great for people that don't know what extension is and to learn, and for those that grew up in their own county offices. You can grow and learn coming from both sides of the spectrum. It is great to see that people love their jobs, and are willing to care about their community.

Home Away From Home

It is crazy for me to think about this being my final week here at the Pendleton County Cooperative Extension office. I am truly sad to think that all that I looked forward to all year is coming to an end, but this summer was everything I was hoping it would be and so much more. I was not active in 4-H or really any other programs at my home extension office so this whole summer has been a constant learning experience and I couldn't think of a better program to become familiar with. I love promoting this great program and talking with the community about all that extension has to offer.

My summer project took most all summer to complete because it wasn't just a day camp or a class. All summer I was doing "Plate It Up!" sampling with our watermelon Kentucky Proud recipes. When I first looked over CEDIK to decide what I thought the need was in Pendleton County the first thing that stuck out to me was that 36.2% of adults are obese. I believe 36.2% is a high number when you compare it to the 31% in Northern Kentucky and 32.9% in all of Kentucky. Previously the extension assistant or the FCS agent would typically do samples at the local grocery store and the farmers market once a month but I took it to another level and did it a lot of different places to reach a more diverse audience. During the summer I did sampling at our local farmers market, 4-H camp, the senior center, the fair, and the 21st century program. Since I had my informational board on watermelon and my tasty samples at all of these different locations I could reach a more diverse audience than just the famers market or the store. I wanted to give a wide variety of Pendleton County residents an opportunity to receive healthy recipes to share with their family and friends.

Having a project all of my own was a great learning experience. I enjoyed knowing that I was in charge of the success, or failure, of my project for that day. It really helped me to see what all it takes to plan and organize different events so that you can get your message out. Sometimes I didn't have a spot, I forgot my recipe cards, or I just needed help carrying everything and there was always someone there to help me out and if not then you learn how to improvise and it truly helped me to be more independent in my work.

Simply being in Pendleton County all summer was a blessing all in its own way, I am not from here but my dads side of the family is. My immediate family was not close with my extended family because we do not live here, but since I have been here everyone recognizes my name or knows my family. I was able to reconnect with some of my grandfathers cousins, one who happens to be a very involved homemaker, and meet some family I never knew I had. It was truly the best possible county I could have been placed in because everything was new to be but I still felt like I belonged. I was able to learn all about a county I didn't know much about and meet wonderful people, I have and will always consider this my home away from home. 

What once was "Showalter's" car lot, Falmouth KY

Final Weeks

As this experience comes to an end, for a second time for me, I can only recall all of the amazing memories I have made and think forward to the final memories to come. I have had many firsts while completing these internships, from venturing into caves and canoeing to carrying through a program from beginning to end and holding an opossum. This internship has given me the opportunity to take a leadership role within a professional working environment, collaborate with fellow professionals in the field i am interested in, and to gain experience as an extension agent that will follow me while I
pursue a career in extension.

My favorite part of this internship is the ability to experience those new activities while also gaining a better understanding of how to make connections and deliver programs to a community. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to build relationships with citizens in my community and learn about their needs and wants. Planning, implementing, and evaluating a program, while also being in charge, was something I had not previously had the opportunity to do, and am so thankful that I gained that experience this summer.

When this summer ends and I am no longer an intern for
the Letcher County Extension Office, I hope that all of the experiences that I gained can be utilized and developed in my career to follow. I hope that the people that I work with after this are as amazing as the employees in Letcher County. I hope that the people within the community that I work in reflect the amazing attributes of the citizens of Letcher County, which include hard working, respectful, open, and rich with culture.

Summer Round Up

My work space
While this summer has been significantly different than what I am used to, I am nothing but grateful. I took this internship because I needed an internship credit for my graduation requirements. I did not know much more about Extension than the name. I have grown as a professional and an individual and I've learned a lot about extension and myself. I've learned that I really didn't like what i did, and that's okay. Extension helped me check something off of my list as a potential career. Most of my summer was spent behind a desk compiling data, putting reports together and generating graphics. I learned new computer programs that will help me in the future but I realized that I would like a more hands on connection with communities and my projects. I would like to see more production than documentation. My project was a report on the way finding and tourist experience of the Kentucky trail towns. I learned that some communities prioritize signage first while other prioritize trail options. Also I learned that you have to be objective when investigating multiple places and not comparative, of course Livingston (population 230) will never match the built environment of Berea (population 10, 000) and you have to look beyond the surface and maybe a trail head is not ideal but it works really well in the small community space. This deeper way of thinking and analyzing space will be very helpful for me in the future. At the begging of the summer I had never used ArcGIS (map making software) and now I am proficient, I have only edited one video in my academic career before this summer and now I am confident that I can make a video for any subject. I have extension to thank for the opportunity and my professor to thank for the knowledge I've gained. Best of luck to all of you fellow interns in your futures!
Livingston Trail Head

Berea Trail Head

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hold the Passion...

When I first began my internship I was relieved to know that I would be spending the summer doing something I absolutely loved. Kentucky 4-H and the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension have always been near and dear to my heart and I feared that as I grew older I would lose the passion I have for educating and promoting positive development in the future generation. As I finished up my officer year, I was excited to be able to channel all the energy I had been focusing on bettering Kentucky 4-H to bettering myself, preparing to serve the organization in a different way, as a Cooperative Extension Agent.
Working in the Muhlenberg County Extension Office this summer has been an absolute blessing. I gained a big sister in Mackenzie, the 4-H agent, and I know that if there is absolutely anything that I need in the upcoming years that she will be right beside me through this entire journey. Planning my project has been an absolute blast as well! I have always really loved planning large scale events, so when planning this one in particular I was more than ready for all the little details that come with it. Having a Cloverbud Day Camp is a pretty large endeavor and I didn't realize that until we were far into it, but I'm not afraid of some hard work.
 Although my internship is still about a month away from ending, I'm holding the passion that I came in to this with. My main goal in anything I put my heart into, is to finish strong and this will be no different. I have met all kinds of new, amazing people in this program that I look forward to hopefully having as co-workers. This summer may be ending, but my future with Extension is just beginning. I truly believe that this summer gave me an insight into my future, and I must say I'm beyond excited to see where this journey takes me!