February 1995 // Volume 33 // Number 1
Why Do Teens Drop Out?: A Developmental View
Participants in youth programs and organizations tend to drop out when they reach adolescence. An examination of adolescent development shows that a major portion of teen drop out is developmentally appropriate and normative. Youth organizations need to adjust their expectations for teen participation and remember that teens participate voluntarily.
Extension's Values: A Bridge Across Turbulent Times
Values play important roles in determining how we function as individuals, family members, and professionals. Clarifying Cooperative Extension's values is critical to addressing successfully the rapid and severe changes Extension is experiencing both today and in the future. Based upon research conducted in North Carolina and Ohio, the authors identify organizational values for the respective state Extension organizations and suggest three organizational value systems for Cooperative Extension: Personnel, Process, and Product (Program). Through the use of critical success factors, the authors translate these abstract organizational values into examples of concrete programmatic action.
A National Strategic Plan for Natural Resources and Environmental Management Education
The National Strategic Plan for Natural Resources and Environmental Management Education was developed by a 17 member team during a year long planning and development effort. This paper attempts to ground that plan in a rational theoretical base of understanding both at the local and national level. Justification for the commitment of Extension System resources to Natural Resources and Environmental Management Education is predicated on recognition of the environment as a base for all living systems. This description presents the vision, the beliefs, the values, the areas of emphasis, and the trends that influence the scope of the plan.
Membership in a Professional Association Influence the Quality of Family Child Care?
In this study, 22 family child care providers participated in a three-month child care training program. Changes in the quality of family child care were measured before and after the program using the Family Day Care Rating Scale. Results indicate that the quality of care by providers who were not members of professional associations were significantly improved after the training. Building on the relationship between provider, professional associations, and quality of child care, implications for Extension educators are presented.
Colorado and North Dakota Strengthening Marriage and Family Programs Increase Positive Family Functioning Levels
State specialists collaborated in Colorado and North Dakota to determine which educational programs work best with whom. They developed, delivered, and evaluated five different educational programs with 13 different audiences. They used the new Cooperative Extension Program Evaluation survey (CEPES) which provides program results on behavioral changes, tax dollars support, family coping, quality of life, self-esteem, stress, and depression levels. All programs resulted in positive behavioral changes and tax dollar support. Only one program provided higher-level positive family functioning improvements. Participants reported significant increases in self-esteem levels and positive changes on four other variables. The results suggest which program worked best and provide evidence for the use of CEPES by other Extension professionals.
Virtual Communities and University Outreach
The use of the Internet and networked computers are becoming commonplace within universities. However, the general public, natural resource industry, and public agencies typically lack experience with this communication technology. This article describes an Oregon pilot effort to enable rural leaders to use networked computing and worldwide databases through the Internet. The pilot project reveals ways the technology can be used to facilitate communication between diverse audiences separated by distance. It also demonstrates one way that universities can extend education to clientele upon demand by using networked computing technologies.
Research in Brief
Expectations May be Too High for Changing Diets of Pregnant Teens
Diets of low-income pregnant teens participating in a nutrition education program were evaluated. Diet improvement is desirable to improve pregnancy outcome. Although test scores indicated knowledge improvement (p<.001), diet recalls did not indicate diet improvement. Perhaps teens need longer than nine months to make diet changes. The benefits of nutrition education might be seen in the long term rather than in an individual pregnancy.
Change in Safe Food Handling Knowledge and Practices of 4-H Members
To improve food handling knowledge and practices of children (ages 9-11), a multi-media curriculum was developed and tested by 4-H volunteer leaders. After using the lessons, members' knowledge improved significantly. However, change in related practices was not as great and puts youth at risk for illness. Nutrition education programs need to continue to provide information, support, and opportunities for youth to apply safe food handling practices to their daily eating situation.
Leadership and Managerial Skills of County Commissioners
An assessment center for public officials was developed by Ohio State University Extension to identify and evaluate managerial and leadership capabilities of current county commissioners representing rural Ohio counties. The study attempted to determine the difference in perceptions of county Extension chairs, county commissioners, and assessors of county commissioners' managerial and leadership skills. Results helped to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the county commissioners leadership and managerial skills and provide a basis for planning personal opportunities.
Ideas at Work
4-H on the Internet
One hundred eighty-six 4-H educational manuals, with graphs, line drawings, or photographs were placed on the University of California, Davis, information server (ucdavis.edu) in a joint experimental project by the University of Tennessee and the University of California for world-wide distribution.
A Waste Management Needs Assessment of Oregon County Extension Offices
Many Americans have questions about waste management and would like more objective information on the topic. A question needed to be addressed: Is waste management education an appropriate program for Extension? To answer this question, a survey was developed and sent to county Extension agents in Oregon. Results show that agents have an interest in conducting waste management educational programs. Most agents prefer ready-to-use waste management educational materials such as fact sheets, videos, and mass media. The survey was easy to administer and useful in determining the appropriateness of new subject programming for Extension in Oregon.
The Active Learning Center at State Fair
The Active Learning Center at the Iowa State Fair reached a large non-traditional audience. Adult volunteers and older 4H'ers developed communication and leadership skills as they helped daycare children and non-4H'ers learn about swine, sheep, art, nutrition, wildlife, safety, communications, and pets. In the livestock activities, 4-H project members were grouped with youth 10-14 years old who were inexperienced with animals. Younger children learned about art and nutrition through individual hands-on activities. In an evaluation of the program, a majority of the participants strongly agreed that they had learned something new.
Home Is Where The Business Is
Home-based businesses are a growing segment of the U.S. economy. A Home-Based Business Network group was developed by a four-county cluster team of Extension professionals in Northwest Ohio. Extension faculty, along with volunteers, plan and conduct educational networking meetings. Educational programs are conducted monthly on topics relevant to home-based business owners. Evaluation of the network shows that the information and networking are valuable. The Home-Based Business Network provides avenues for building new business relationships, motivational opportunities, opportunities to address common problems, and educational sessions related to the needs of a home-based business owner.
Quality Family Togetherness with "Family Fun Times"
"Family Fun Times" is a book filled with over 200 activities for families to use when spending quality time together. Over 200 families in Allen and Sandusky counties participated by suggesting activities for the project. The book is designed for families with children under 12 years of age, and the activities are categorized by age group and the appropriate season to conduct the activity. The activities require minimal time and resources and are appropriate for limited resource audiences.
Tools of the Trade
Needs Assessment: A Handbook
Needs assessment is a concern of all Extension educators, and a new handbook is now available to help agents and other Extension workers on how to conduct such assessments. After background discussion of the program planning process, the author describes a variety of needs assessment techniques in concise, yet complete, summaries. Agents will be able to compare needs assessment techniques and choose the best technique for their purposes.
How Nontraders Can Use Futures and Options
Futures and options are valuable tools for Extension educators and their clients. This article describes how futures and options can be effectively used by the nontrader in making financial, production, and marketing decisions. The development of marketing strategies is emphasized.
CANDI: Environmental Protection Software for Irrigation and Pesticide Management
CANDI software is designed to aid in the management of agricultural pesticides and irrigation system design while considering the potential for groundwater contamination. The authors describe the different modules and features of CANDI and show how it can be used for a particular area.