ONTARIO — Barbara Brody, Oregon State University Extension, has taken on a new assignment, in a new location, and while it is not entirely different from what she did previously, her new position allows her to pursue her passion for teaching as well as opening 4-H programs to new people.

“My new position is family community health, nutrition education, and non-traditional 4-H,” Brody said. Until this year she had divided her time between nutrition education and the traditional 4-H programs, such as livestock and home economic clubs, providing support for members and leaders.

4-H programs provide opportunities for youth to acquire knowledge in areas of interest and to develop life skills.

OSU Extension provides research and information to address issues in local communities.

One of the programs in the community family health focus is a partnership developed with Alameda Elementary School, Ontario where Brody is able to provide research-based education and activities in a family setting, such as a parent night at the school.

“It’s a neat component,” Brody said. “We’re reaching families together.”

Nutrition education programs have Brody going into the schools to provide nutrition information and activities to students, including organizing summer gardening projects.

Non-traditional 4-H focuses developing programs that build on interests of youth not covered by existing programs. One of those is a club just getting started, an aerospace 4-H club, being organized in partnership with Frazier Aviation.

“It’s a really neat opportunity,” Brody said, commenting that the non-traditional 4-H is designed to provide more opportunities for youth in such areas a science, technology and math.

With approval last May of a tax levy to support the Malheur Ag and Extension Service District, Brody said there are more resources to do more in the community, to support existing programs and adding more. “We’re going to expand our gardening programs,” she said.

The money from the service district allows her to expand into these new areas, while a 4-H agent will be hired to serve the traditional 4-H programs.

“We’re reaching more people through expanded programs,” Brody said.

Another new 4-H club is YA4H — Youth Advocates For Health — at Ontario High School. An after-school club, the objectives are to help youth improve leadership skills and provide community service, which includes helping teach younger students. “The younger youth look up to the teens,” she said.

“It’s really exciting to mentor teens,” Brody said. About 20 students meet once a week, she said, and are already planning to go a leadership conference this summer on the OSU campus in Corvallis.

“I love to teach,” Brody said. “I’m very passionate about that. It’s exciting to be that resource in the community.”

Now situated in the main office at the airport, Brody said she is more visible and she has been able to meet and talk to new people, people who would not normally stop in at the Extension Office.

Larry Meyer is a news reporter at the Argus Observer. He can be reached at (541) 823-4813 or by emailing larrym@argusobserver.com. To comment on this story, go to www.argusobserver.com

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