AMES, Iowa -- “Definitely youth programming is benefitting the most from the collaboration among the counties” in Iowa State University Extension’s Region 14, according to director Brian Dunn. Region 14 includes Jasper, Mahaska, Marion and Poweshiek counties.
Extension’s 4-H youth development programming is getting stronger in the region because of improved communication among staff, who are finding new ways to work across county lines to build leadership, citizenship, communication and life skills in Iowa youth, Dunn said.
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Region 14’s 4-H youth development staff also are collaborating on regional clubs, he said, including an automotive engineering club. 4-H clubs can be general interest or focus on specific topics such as photography, clothing, shooting sports, robotics, gardening, communications, woodworking, food and nutrition or just about any topic that interests kids and teens.
Dunn is one of 20 regional extension education directors. The positions were created a year ago as part of ISU Extension’s restructuring plan to facilitate an issue-based approach to delivering ISU Extension programming and resources. Dunn works directly with county extension council members to meet their legal obligations as an elected body. Together they are identifying new ways to work across county borders, provide educational programming that addresses significant issues and evaluate the results of multi-county and regional efforts.
“We have a collection of very strong counties who are doing good things individually, and we’re starting to move toward doing things collaboratively as well,” Dunn said. The elected county extension councils are trying to find efficiencies across the region and “things we can do together that will save money and help us support programming better.”
The councils also are discussing staff needs, he continued, and whether there are “ways to staff across the region that can help us do things cheaper and better for all of the folks in the region.”
Dunn added, “I really just want us to continue to partner across those county lines for the region … finding more efficiencies, finding more things we can do together to benefit all the counties in the region.”
To learn more about ISU Extension programs, contact Dunn at 641-673-5841 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the ISU Extension website, www.extension.iastate.edu/.
Natasha Forsythe, Extension Communications and External Relations, 515-494-9225, email@example.com