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Agents share their experience establishing an Extension advisory council (12/5/2017)

McLean County had never had an Extension advisory council. Until last night, that is. Daunted a little by the county’s square miles (second largest in the state), Michelle Effertz and Calla Jarboe cast their anxieties aside and held the inaugural meeting of their brand new advisory council. We asked for their reflections, and here’s what Michelle said:

Calla and I put our heads together to generate a list of possible council members. We each called our potential board members and asked them to serve one-, two- or three-year terms on the board. Most of those we called were very happy to serve. We also invited our county 4-H ambassadors to attend, and we had two 4-H members at the meeting.

The most valuable benefits of having an advisory council?

  1. Helping county residents get a better understanding of the breadth of Extension programs and finding out that they see real value in the programs we provide.
  2. I think our carousel activity helped them see that what we currently do is beneficial, and it also encouraged them to dream bigger. From this activity we found out that mental health is a big concern in the ag and natural resources area, and we found out that they want us to do more life skills/financial skills development with older youth.
  3. They also said that they want our programming to be fun!!!! Who says education has to be serious all the time?

It wasn’t difficult to do once we made up our mind to do it and get things rolling. It took some organizing, but the new guide provides all the templates you need. You can download them from the Web and tweak them as needed for your group. We gave them a sample of bylaws to review but will vote on that and elect officers at our second meeting in March.

Thank you Michelle and Calla! For more good advice, please tune in to the Advisory Council webinar on Wed., Dec. 6, 10 a.m. CST. (Rachelle Vettern, contact)

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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