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Our Monthly Program Highlights
May 2021 


Upcoming events

Join us for this seven-part series exploring advance directives, home finances, estate planning, and arriving at decisions for the end of life. All sessions take place from 10:30-11:30 AM via Zoom.
  • Thursdays, May 13, 20, 27 and June 3, 10, 24
  • No cost to attend
  • Facilitated by Carol Bralich (Washington County) and Jane Jensen (Sheboygan County)
  • Register today: Planning AHEAD Registration Form

Read more

Extension Educator Highlights

Engaging HCE members in Later Life Conversations

Carol Bralich Human Development & Relationships Educator


Washington County Home & Community Education (HCE) & Extension Educational Relationship: As part of HCE’s educational outreach, the HCE president asked Carol to present on the topic around downsizing your household in later years. In addition to researching and creating the program, Downsizing: Should I Stay or Should I Go?, Carol supported and coordinated efforts to provide this HCE special interest meeting for the first time in a virtual format using the Zoom platform. This format provided a safe opportunity for over 15 members to gather virtually to learn more about considerations for downsizing their household. The program focused on considering the benefits and challenges of downsizing your home as well as resources available in the community based on their future needs.

Carol also provides educational support by attending the annual HCE program planning committee meetings, providing community connections for speakers and Extension resources for members in their newsletters.

Listening to the AG Community

Paul Roback Community Development Educator

Washington County Director of Community Development Jamie Ludovic asked Paul to assist in the development of a process that would engage representatives of the Agriculture (AG) Community in sharing their perspectives on the current state of AG in Washington County. 

A team of county and Extension staff designed and hosted a series of three AG Listening Sessions, which were held throughout the county. A total of 45 participated in the sessions, which represented a cross-section of the AG Community. 

Through evaluation, 94% participants agreed that the sessions allowed them the opportunity to share their thoughts on the AG Community and 97% agreed that the sessions allowed others the opportunity to share their thoughts. For the two sessions that Paul facilitated, participants evaluated his facilitation a 4.7 on a 5-point Likert Scale (1=poor and 5=excellent).

Staff is currently drafting a report summarizing the themes identified during the listening sessions and recommended next steps for the County to consider moving forward with.  

Wisconsin/Kansas 4-H Exchange

Amy Mangan-Fischer 4-H Educator

Five youth from Washington County, six youth from other Wisconsin counties, and sixteen youth from Kansas 4-H participated in a virtual exchange over the last few months. The exchange consisted of six Zoom meetings over three months. Via a Google Site and Padlets, youth could share information about themselves, their interests, facts about their states, and other topics that were discussed during the meetings.

The goals of the exchange were that youth would experience belonging, learn something new, and develop their own leadership skills. 100% of the youth who completed the evaluation selected that they strongly agreed to the statements, “I feel part of a group and strongly connected with others,” and “I learned something new” as a result of the meetings. 100% of the youth who completed the evaluation selected that they strongly agreed or agreed that their “confidence in sharing my thoughts with a group has increased since meeting.”

FoodWise Program Planning

Kelly Hackett Nutrition Coordinator

Every spring, FoodWIse Coordinators across Wisconsin submit detailed program plans and budgets to the statewide team for the following fiscal year; this spring, FoodWIse colleagues are also starting community assessments and creating action plans of overarching goals to set priorities for the next three fiscal years in every county.

Kelly has spent most of April working through drafts of these pieces. She reviewed many sources of county-level data on health indicators and outcomes with comparisons to state-level data and dug into needs, gaps, strengths, and assets in Washington County. This data, along with feedback and conversations with partners over the past months, directed priorities and details of a draft FY’22 (October ‘21 - September ‘22) plan for direct and indirect education, as well as aims for larger policy, systems, and environmental projects across the county.

After manager review at the end of April, Kelly will complete revisions and a final plan by May 14th.  

Strong Partnerships Create Strong Programming

Ron Jakubisin Positive Youth Development Educator

In April, Ron completed the last three of his 4th grade presentations at Jackson Elementary School. The School Counselor stated, “The presentation and activity topics aligned very well to our SEL cross curriculum learning - problem-solving, examining the level or size of a problem, the message of thinking about and naming people resources, building confidence, acceptance, self-reflection, making a plan, learning to compromise and cooperating with others. It was a great opportunity to widen their circle of resources and there is important value in students having conversations and hearing important messages from our community resources. I received very good feedback from my 4th grade team and from students.” As a result of teacher and student feedback, the Jackson school counselor has met with Ron to plan more sessions in May. 
Ron also presented three sessions at Fair Park School in West Bend as well as at the monthly Germantown Youth Futures youth committee meeting. Ron assisted the 4-H program in the Kansas/Wisconsin Virtual Exchange program held bi-weekly in April.  
Ron’s partnership development with the Volunteer Center has resulted in April planning meetings in which Ron will present multiple workshops to high school-aged volunteers as well as younger camp participants in their Camp Superhero program this summer. 

Addressing the Effects of Chronic Farm Stress

Stephanie Plaster Agriculture Educator

Healthy Minds, Healthy Farms”, part of the Farm Management Fridays webinar series, addressed the ongoing economic conditions in agriculture that are taking a toll on farm families and their rural communities, and the associated chronic stress is also impacting mental and physical well-being, relationships, and decision-making. Extension helps farmers, families, businesses, and communities remain resilient by learning how to manage stress and use planning tools to make sound decisions and create a roadmap for the future. 

There were 302 participants registered for the program including farmers, farm service providers and educators, with approximately 46 livestream and 81 (live and recorded) viewings. As a result of the program, participants said they agreed or strongly agreed (100%) that they increased awareness of how stress affects my life and health.  Participants also said they agreed or strongly agreed (100%) that they learned techniques to help them cope with stress. 
As part of the UW-Madison Division of Extension, we provide knowledge and resources to engage people and their communities in positive change where they live and work.
An EEO/AA employer, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming including Title VI, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requirements

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