Utah State University Extension was recently named winner of three 2018 Best of State Awards in the categories of adult education, community education and public sector youth organization for the 4-H program. This is USU Extension’s second year winning in the adult education category.
The Best of State Awards recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and businesses in Utah. Nominees are judged on achievement in their field of endeavor; innovation or creativity in approaches, techniques, methods or processes; and contribution to improving the quality of life in Utah.
Ken White, USU Extension vice president, said that as a land-grant institution, USU Extension has offered research-backed education and outreach for more than 100 years.
“Our programs have a long history of showing tremendous impacts for both youth and adults,” he said. “We have the distinct opportunity of having our offices in 28 counties in Utah, so we are able to reach a wide range of people and their specific needs.”
USU Extension offers non-credit courses statewide in a variety of areas, including agriculture and natural resources, gardening, family relationships, nutrition, food safety, finances and Utah 4-H and youth programs. In addition, Extension operates the Ogden Botanical Gardens, Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter, the USU Botanical Center and has partnerships with several other centers and gardens around the state. Below are highlights of the winning programs.
Public sector youth organization: The 4-H program is the nation’s largest positive youth development program and focuses on helping youth learn through hands-on experiences. Earlier this year, Cassandra Ivie, a Utah 4-H member from West Jordan, showed what these experiences taught her. She was selected from the organization’s 6.5 million youth across the country to receive the National 4-H Youth in Action Award for STEM and was recognized nationally for her work as a youth advocate and organizer for STEM education. She received a $5,000 scholarship for higher education and will serve as an advocate and spokesperson for 4-H STEM programming.
Adult education: There are many USU Extension programs that provide education for adults. One unique program provides training for adult leaders so they are skilled in assisting youth with mental health concerns. Suicide has been reported to be the leading cause of death for Utah youth, ages 10 -17, and Davis County 4-H received funding from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration to address youth experiencing mental health challenges. The 3-year, $315,791 award provides training for adult leaders so they can become “First Aiders” and assist youth who have mental health concerns. The first two years have shown measurable results.
Community education: USU Extension provides approximately 25 e-learning courses in areas such as gardening, homeowner education and pesticide application. Some of the courses also lead to certification. The online course catalog is available at https://extension.learn.usu.edu/.
White said these are just a few of the many USU Extension programs that are teaching important life skills and helping improve the quality of life in the state.
“We’re an excellent resource for people of all backgrounds and interests, and we are truly honored to be recognized for our programs with these prestigious Best of State Awards,” he said.
USU Extension’s winning programs will be recognized at an awards gala held Thursday, May 17, at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. For further information, visit bestofstate.org.