‘Helping You Become Your Best’ is focus of Extension

Woodbury County Extension works with the focus of “Helping You Become Your Best.” 


“The business of Woodbury County Extension is helping Iowans,” said Sherry McGill, Woodbury County Extension education director. “As a part of Iowa State University, our mission is to build partnerships and provide research-based learning opportunities to improve the quality of life in Iowa. In today’s economy, we provide local citizens, businesses and organizations with resources in a number of areas ranging from biotech, renewable fuels and competing in the global economy, to money management, human nutrition and parenting skills.”


Woodbury County Extension is highlighting its role and the resources it can provide to help Woodbury County grow and prosper.


6,682 youth have been served this year through Woodbury County Extension programs.


One way Woodbury County Extension reaches youth is through nutrition education for many of Siouxland’s young families. Last year over 440 Woodbury County families with young children learned how to stay healthy by making wise food choices, budgeting their food dollars, preparing healthy snacks, and handling food safely. Studies show that for every dollar spent to deliver nutrition education in this program, over $8 is saved in future health care costs. Soon Woodbury County Extension will be adding a new position of a Spanish speaking person to assist with nutrition education, parental training and money management skills.


“We are also so excited to be a part of a new program made possible through the funding of the Harkin Wellness Grant,” added McGill. “We will serve all middle school age children through a program called ‘Kids a Cookin’’ where kids will be taught how to make healthy snacks, increase physical activity and develop their cooking skills.”


In addition, the 4-H program is helping young people across Woodbury County learn leadership, citizenship, communication and personal life management skills. Within the 24 community clubs throughout the county, all 473 members are exploring their full potential through 4-H.  Twenty-eight percent of youth in Woodbury County are participating in Woodbury County Extension youth programs including 4-H clubs, 4-H nutrition programs, school enrichment programs and after school programs. The Woodbury County Extension 4-H program has nearly 200 volunteers who are essential to the success of the county’s 4-H program.


Woodbury County Extension and their partners provided education to more than 700 local child care providers. This benefits not only families, but also employers who say that quality child care contributes to the economic vitality of their businesses.


The Woodbury County Extension Master Gardener program has trained over 300 certified Master Gardeners. Another annual class is beginning January 12, 2006. During this year alone, Master Gardeners have contributed over 1,400 volunteer hours of their horticulture skills in Siouxland. That’s an economic advantage of nearly $24,000 to our Woodbury County communities.


An example of how Woodbury County Extension helps facilitate economic development is by being the lead for the Midstates Economic Development Conference held yearly as a tri-state event. In our local area, extension provides consultation and assistance to businesses and manufacturing companies through a variety of programs.


Woodbury County Extension partnered with United Way and the Tri-State Graduate Center to form the Siouxland Nonprofit Management Institute to provide training and workshops to assist area nonprofit businesses. Coming up on February 28, 2006, the group will present Stay Jazzed, a conference that addresses issues such as teambuilding, preventing burnout, defeating negativity and leading organized and productive meetings.


Woodbury County Extension’s business is helping Iowans through its programs in agriculture and natural resources, business and industry, communities, families, 4-H and youth development, and continuing education. During the past 4 months, over 5,000 people called or walked in to the Extension office requesting information regarding those programs. For more information, please contact the Woodbury County Extension office at (712) 276-2157.

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