Making A Difference in Our County
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of Extension’s impact in the county over the past year.
UGA Extension in Baldwin County and Baldwin County 4-H Club have taken the lead in planning the Northeast District County Officer Leadership Training Retreat.
In response to a need for training options for 4-H county council officers, the Baldwin County 4-H agent piloted a training program for county council officers for the local program. The training was designed to increase youth awareness of the foundational responsibilities of an officer (example: team work, program planning, parliamentary procedure, 4-H meeting management and leadership). The training was not specific to the officer role; instead, it was targeted at building foundational characteristics in youth leaders. In sharing the pilot with Northeast District Extension faculty and staff, the training was taken to a district level. A multicounty team of representatives coordinated an event for all participating counties to train all area youths together.
The 2018 training retreat was held September 15 to 16 at Wahsega 4-H Center in Dahlonega, Georgia. Six counties (Baldwin, Jones, Monroe, Oconee, Putnam and Richmond) participated in the first annual training. A total of 32 youths and adults attended the training.
The training retreat was focused on teaching foundational skills and meeting the general needs of 4-H officers, not role-specific training. This was a continuation of the 2016 pilot by the Baldwin County 4-H agent. Baldwin County 4-H’ers responded positively to the qualitative event evaluation for the 2016 pilot, indicating that they enjoyed learning foundational skills as a team, rather than training for specific officer positions. In a repeat qualitative analysis at the end of the year, Baldwin 4-H officers again indicated that they would like to follow the new training model.
After the training, an analysis of youth responses showed a very high level of interest in the training being offered in subsequent years. Youth were asked to rank the effectiveness of each workshop in gaining awareness and understanding of the topic. The workshop on teamwork received the highest positive responses. Youth felt that the training would help them in 4-H in the coming year as they took new officer roles and that the training made them better 4-H officers and leaders.
Overall, the qualitative and quantitative feedback from participating youth about the training model was positive, and there was recorded interest in seeing it continue. Plans for a 2019 training are underway. The planning committee will use the data from the 2018 training to continue to craft and design the training using a holistic approach to provide 4-H leaders and officers with foundational skills and not for role-specific duties. Additional evaluations will be given to adults to assess their perceptions of the impact the training retreat had on the youth. A repeat evaluation will be performed in spring 2019 to longitudinally verify if the training has had a lasting impact on the behavior and performance of the 4-H’ers serving as officers and leaders in their local program.