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:
NEW S.A.F.E. SHOOTING SPORT ATTRACTS AND RETAINS 4-H MEMBERS
The addition of a Project S.A.F.E. Shotgun Team program in Wilkes County 4-H provides opportunities for involvement in a safe learning environment. Because rural areas cater to an attraction for hunting and shooting wild game, it was decided to start a shotgun team to provide proper training in safety to develop life skills that are critical for youth today. Currently the shotgun team includes 23 4-H’ers and four volunteer coaches, who have donated 300 hours of experience. A total of $5,000 was donated to the program from various funders. While 4-H’ers enjoy the fun of practicing marksmanship, the coaches’ focus was to promote safety and instill safe habits in the 4-H’ers. From safe handling of a firearm on the firing line and exhibiting proper behavior to using proper safety equipment, each 4-H’er is required to follow expectations. The repetition helps to develop proper habits that promote safe actions on and off the team. Development of self-confidence was another primary focus. Seeing each child's self-confidence and personal satisfaction grow is very rewarding and helped define the purpose and objectives of the program.
EMPOWERING THE COMMUNITY THROUGH DEEP
In Wilkes County, 31 percent of adults are considered obese, which demonstrates a likelihood for numerous cases of diabetes in the community and a need for diabetes education. The Diabetes Empowerment Education Program, also known as “DEEP,” is a program offered in collaboration with Alliant Quality. The program targets seniors, people with diabetes or prediabetes, and medically underserved people from minority and rural populations. Over six weeks, participants engage in free, interactive, fun sessions developed to provide participants with the tools needed to better manage their diabetes. The program is delivered as a community workshop in a group setting and six two-hour sessions are held once per week. In order to graduate from the program, participants must attend five of the six sessions. To date, 59 adults have enrolled in DEEP, and 48 of those participants have successfully completed the program. Because of DEEP, the agent has been awarded $1,500 to support efforts to continue diabetes education and outreach in the community.
REACHING AGRICULTURAL AUDIENCES
The county’s new Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent, Michael Anthony Foster, has been striving to maintain the relationship that Wilkes County Extension has with The News-Reporter. Frank Watson, retired Wilkes County ANR agent, established a relationship with the local paper several years ago and, through that, a weekly article is published free of cost to Extension. This weekly publication has afforded the opportunity to reach a larger audience and provide information on a wide array of topics, from complex subjects like the Food and Drug Administration’s veterinary feed directive to simple awareness themes, like the supplemental feeding of whitetail deer. The agent’s weekly article has been a fantastic way to reach community members who may not realize the wide array of subject matter Extension covers. The agent has found that the key to each article is to provide just enough information to pique interest and encourage people to call in for more details.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of our impact in the county over the past year.