Breckenridge Texan

Commissioners hear Extension Office report, extend burn ban

Commissioners hear Extension Office report, extend burn ban
March 13
08:39 2018

During Commissioners Court on Monday, Stephens County Extension Agent Sumer Russell presented her 2017 year-end report  and the county commissioners voted to extend the county-wide burn ban.

Russell gave commissioners an overview of her department’s community programs and activities for the 2017 and a look at the local 4-H and youth development programs for the year.

Two programs she highlighted were the Walk Across Texas fitness program and the Take a Stand project aimed at kids on bullying in schools. Both programs were in-depth programs, which range from five weeks to eight weeks.

Walk Across Texas is designed to help participants establish a habit of regular physical activity and improve their health through physical activity and walking. Russell said 64 adults and 14 youth participated in the program.

“We continue to do this one because we have such a great turn out and the community asks me to do it every year,” she said.

One component Russell said she added to the program last year was a “Walk and Talk” program to encourage participants to exercise weekly. She said they would walk together for 30 minutes every week on the trail at the City Park and then discuss how to add more vegetables and fruits into their diet. She said 28 adults participated in that part of the program.

The other program, Take a Stand, was a project aimed at preventing bullying in the schools. Russell said bullying in the schools as was identified as an issue by her committees, so they put together a program for third graders at South Elementary.

In addition to teaching the kids how to deal with a bully, they program taught them why bulling occurs.

“Sometimes they look at being different as a target for bullying one another,” Russell said. “So we just opened their eyes, talked to them about different situations and got them to step into other people’s shoes.”

During the program, community leaders spoke to the kids, including Stephens County Justice of the Peace Michael Roach, Sheriff Will Holt,  Constable Adam Babilon and members of the Breckenridge Police Department.

“It was a good impact on kids. They seemed to really enjoy it,” she said.

Some one-time Family and Community Health programs the local AgriLife Extension office conducted were Seat Safety Check Up, a program on how to use a child car seat properly; Safety Sitter, where students learned about the responsibilities needed for a babysitting job; Bullying 101, a program to educate parents on bullying in schools; and Let’s Go Phishing, a program on the importance of Internet safety and how to prevent being the victim of an Internet scam.

During the 4-H and youth development portion of the report, Russell said there are 85 youth in the 4-H program and 12 adult leaders. She said her focus in the program was on sewing, cooking and gardening. About 30 kids participated in those programs.

Students participated in Sewing 101, an eight-week hands-on sewing class; Photography 101, a four-week series on basic photography; and Cooking 101, an eight-week series on cooking.

Russell also said the local team won the state competition in Plant ID last year and Stephens County youth competed in Clothing and Textiles, Food and Nutrition, District Round Up, The Stephens County Junior Livestock Show and other major livestock shows in the state.

Additionally, Russell said shooting sports are going strong and the Extension service just added robotics. They are planning to partner with the schools to start an after-school robotics program connected with 4-H.

For this year, Russell said, she will continue to focus on health and wellness and on getting kids away from social media and out into the outdoors.

Two programs she has planned are “Balance on Food and Play” and “Eat Smart and Live Strong.”

Balance on Food and Play is aimed at teaching kids at East and North Elementary schools to eat right and how to incorporate play into their day rather than spending so much time on the Internet or playing video games.

Eat Smart and Live Strong is aimed at senior citizens. It will teach them how to cook for one and stay active and healthy.

In other business at the meeting, commissioners voted to continue the county-wide burn ban.


Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: Stephens County Extension Agent Sumer Russell (right) and Dale Dunlap, AgriLife Extension district administrator for the Rolling Plains, (left) present the 2017 year-end report to the Stephens County Commissioners during their meeting on Monday. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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