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.
4-H Youth Development
Barrow County 4-H continued to partner with the Barrow County Family Connection collaborative to offer the Relationship Smarts curriculum to middle- and high-school students in Barrow County. The groups organized a youth conference and trained 12 community partners to deliver the curriculum. In addition, a series of lessons were conducted with Winder Boys and Girls Club middle-school students. The Relationship Smarts curriculum promotes healthy relationships and gives youth the knowledge to make wise choices in their relationships. One hundred-twelve youth participated in the Relationship Smarts program offered through the youth conference and Boys and Girls Club. The majority of participants were between grades seven and 9 and between 12 and 14 years old. In surveys at the end of each program, a majority (60 percent) of respondents reported that they were very likely or likely to use the skills learned. Most (66.6 percent) participants felt the program was either helpful or very helpful to them. Additionally, 59.6 percent of respondents reported that they would refer this program to their friends. Likewise, 60 percent of respondents felt better about themselves after the program.
Overall, the program appears to have had a positive influence on these youths.
The 4-H Project Achievement competition teaches students skills that they will use for a lifetime. The process encourages the development of oral and written communication skills. Barrow County 4-H held a school-level competition during which 522 fifth-grade students practiced their research and public speaking skills. In a survey, 100 percent of the students indicated that, because of school-level Project Achievement, they learned more about their topic and could identify at least three things to do to make a great presentation. Of the 522 students, 162 were invited to move on to the district-level competition, and 104 chose to compete on the district level. These Barrow County students performed very well at the district competition, with 71 percent earning first-, second- or third-place scores in their project areas. Barrow County 4-H received recognition for having the eighth-highest number of competitors in the state for Project Achievement.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
UGA Extension in Barrow County offers an Agriculture and Natural Resources program committed to providing resources for gardeners, farmers, and school and community garden coordinators. The program’s initiatives for the past year included a Master Naturalist course and training for school-based garden coordinators.
Fort Yargo State Park and Barrow County Extension partnered to host a Master Naturalist course. Seven participants participated in 48 hours of hands-on classes ranging from water conservation and monitoring, to tree health and identification, to mammals of Georgia. All participants reported that they plan to take action on one or more natural resources issues, and 85.7 percent planned to volunteer based on information they learned in the course.
Barrow County Extension and the UGA Grow it. Know it. program received grant funding to conduct training for teachers and other school-based garden coordinators. Sixteen teachers participated in a five-day training to learn how to grow, cook and teach with vegetables. Survey comments included: “This is the best professional learning experience I’ve ever had!” and “Well worth my time. I especially enjoyed meeting other garden fanatics in my county.”