Making A Difference in Our County
We're working hard for the citizens we serve. Here are some examples of successful projects from the past year:
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Pickens County 4-H volunteers have proven to be top-notch – they’ve received statewide Volunteer of the Year awards for two consecutive years. In 2015, the head coach for the Pickens County Project S.A.F.E. (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education) Shotgun Team was given the Northeast District Volunteer of the Year award, and the 2016 State Volunteer of the Year award went to another Pickens County 4-H volunteer, Larry Brogdon. Last year came with an extra surprise when a second Pickens County 4-H volunteer, Traci Buckingham, was recognized with the Lifetime of Service award from the state 4-H office. Volunteers donate their time and effort to make 4-H programs succeed on community, district, and state levels. Throughout 2016, these recognized volunteers donated over 1,000 combined hours of their time; if they were paid employees, their time would have cost the state around $20,000 annually. Volunteers like Brogdon, Buckingham and the other 40 amazing people who volunteer their time with UGA Extension in Pickens County make the program successful. While the 4-H program in Pickens County is currently rebuilding, 4-H’ers still took part in a variety of competitions: Poultry Judging, Forestry Field Day, Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging, District Project Achievement for fifth- through 12th-graders, 4-H State Congress, and qualifying and state shotgun matches. Not only did the 4-H’ers participate in competitions, they also spent their time conducting community outreach activities and fundraising and recruiting new 4-H’ers at the local Tractor Supply store during their semiannual Paper Clover Sale.
MASTER GARDENERS GROWING STRONG
The Pickens County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs) gained eight new members in 2016. Once they finished the course, these eight new MGEVs hit the ground running and have become involved in new and existing projects. Master Gardeners have repeatedly volunteered their time with the local Habitat for Humanity organization over the years, and this year was no exception. Upon the completion of a local home, the Master Gardeners donated materials and landscaped the new home for the lucky family. Their knowledge and skills with plants ensured that the correct plants were selected, and we hope the family will enjoy their new landscape for years to come.A group of MGEVs, along with the county agent, implemented the MG Sprouts program at a local school. This volunteer group meets a class of elementary-school-aged children every month to create hands-on learning experiences about gardening, and no actual garden is necessary! When the school principal saw how much the children enjoyed the program, he allowed the MGEVs to use a small greenhouse located at the school. All MGEV and some 4-H programs are supported by proceeds from the annual Pickens MGEV/4-H Plant Sale. Pickens MGEVs have a passion for volunteering, and that passion does not stop with gardening. Last summer, the Pickens County Extension office allowed Must Ministries to use a portion of their office as a summer lunch program space, where volunteers made sack lunches for students in the community whose families could not afford a meal. 4-H’ers and MGEVs saw this great need and volunteered their time outside of the Extension program.