MSU Extension staff members receive NAE4-HA national awards

At the Galaxy IV Conference Sept 16‒20 in Pittsburgh, Pa., two Michigan State University Extension staff members received National Association of Extension 4-H Agents national awards.

Extension program instructor Jan Wendland received the National Meritorious Service Award, a national award for staff members with 15 years of service in 4-H youth work. Recipients must previously have won the National Distinguished Service Award prior to being nominated.

Jan has been a 4-H volunteer for 50 years. She started working for MSU Extension in 1984 as a program assistant, eventually becoming program coordinator. Aside from encouraging volunteers and youth to attend training workshops and events, Jan has accomplishments ranging from event planning to hosting training sessions. Jan planned, organized and chaperoned three bus trips of more than 200 youth to participate in Citizenship Washington Focus in Washington, D.C. Through Jan’s leadership, many young people have experienced state exchanges. As part of The Academic Success Science work team, Jan has helped plan, organize and teach sessions at the Michigan 4-H Science Camp statewide science workshop for the last three years.

During her 4-H career, Jan has written and received several grants. One particular grant she worked on helped develop a 4-H in-school and after-school club with a focus on gardening, community service and entrepreneurship.

Recently, Jan helped 4-H youth in Saginaw County promote a community service project, raising poultry and donations for the Saginaw East Side Soup Kitchen.

Her commitment to quality 4-H programing has had an impact with many young people in Saginaw County.

Extension educator Betty Jo Nash received the National Achievement in Service Award, a national award for staff members with 3 to 7 years of service in 4-H youth work. Applicants are evaluated on professional attitude, improvement and accomplishments as well as personal attitudes and interests, community involvement and special honors received.

Betty Jo worked as the 4-H Extension educator in Cass County from 2005 through 2007, and in Ingham County from 2008 to the present. Betty Jo has played an integral role in helping the county 4-H program transition through staff downsizing.

She has had responsibility for overall program management and financial oversight for up to 60 clubs and committees, administering the volunteer selection process for new volunteers and maintaining current records on more than 300 volunteers per year, as well as communicating with club leaders and members.

She has helped recruit and secure funding for 4-H members to attend 4-H educational opportunities. She has also had responsibility for maintaining the local 4-H website and worked on a number of local educational initiatives.

Most recently, Betty Jo is a member of the Life Skills work team within the Academic Success area of the Children and Youth Institute. She has provided leadership to one of the major undertakings of the work team, authoring the work team’s educational curriculum.

Every five years, the Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) sponsors and provides leadership for a Galaxy Conference for the Cooperative Extension System. The conference invites participation from all JCEP organizations, the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) and other partners critical to the Extension mission.

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