August 2010 archive

Delaware 4-H to host regional volunteer forum

On Aug. 6, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell promoted volunteerism with an announcement encouraging Delawareans to nominate outstanding volunteers and offering resources to encourage new volunteers.

Delaware 4-H has long recognized and valued its dedicated volunteers. 4-H volunteers, known as leaders, are the engine behind the success of 4-H in Delaware. 4-H curriculum boasts more than 130 project areas and delivers them with the support of Cooperative Extension at the University of Delaware and Delaware State University.

As a direct result of volunteers, more than 64,000 Delaware youth in traditional 4-H clubs, day and overnight camps and afterschool programs have been exposed to the benefits of public speaking, robotics, biotechnology, textiles and clothing, art, performance, animal and plant science, photography, food science and promotion of healthy lifestyles, just to name a few.

As the 4-H curriculum continues to expand, so do the opportunities for those wishing to volunteer in service of Delaware youth.

On Nov. 4-7, in Rehoboth Beach, 4-H will serve as host for a 13-state regional volunteer forum. The weekend forum, held at the Atlantic Sands in Rehoboth, offers training for new and established leaders. Volunteers have the opportunity to network, train in specific content areas and recognize excellence through the annual Salute to Excellence awards program. Regional forums are rotated every two years, so this is a special weekend for Delaware 4-H volunteers as Delaware is not anticipated to host again for another 26 years or so.

In addition to the regional forum, one-day state training forums are rotated every year in each county. New Castle will host the 2011 Delaware 4-H Leader Forum in January.

Both forums are open to new and existing 4-H volunteer leaders. As volunteer educators, Delaware 4-H leaders complete a criminal background check. Each leader is considered to be a highly valued member of the Delaware Cooperative Extension team. The public is welcome to join the 4-H and Extension family as participating members or as volunteers.

For more information, contact Ernie López at (302) 856-2585, ext. 544, or visit the Delaware 4-H website.

Public invited to Sussex Master Gardener Garden Walk

The Sussex County Master Gardeners are pleased to invite the public to a Garden Walk at the Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden on, Thursday, August 19, 2010, 1 p.m.   The garden is located behind the county Extension office, 16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown. The event is free.

A Tiger Swallow Tail lands on one of the many flowers in the Demonstration Garden

Master Gardeners will feature a look for butterflies, which have been plentiful on our flowers this summer.  In addition to enjoying the garden, a number of Master Gardeners will be available to provide information and help on a wide variety of gardening topics including:  lawns, vegetable gardens, perennial gardens, herbs, and insects.  Questions may be directed Karen Adams. 302-856-2585 Ext. 540.

 Master Gardeners are working volunteers and are supported by Delaware Cooperative Extension through the University of Delaware and Delaware State University Extension offices. It is Delaware Cooperative Extension’s policy that that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, creed, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran or handicap status. If you have special needs that need to be accommodated, please contact the office two weeks prior to the event.

Sewing the seeds of economic development, resourceful leaders create jobs in Sussex County

Be. Do. Cause. With three simple words as their mantra, the inaugural 2010 class of Resourceful Leaders celebrated a unique commencement in June, equipped with renewed confidence as individual and community leaders. Eager to apply specifically honed personal goals to Be more effective where they work and live, Do more than just talk about change, the empowered leaders will Cause measurable economic prosperity through creation of new jobs in Sussex County.

The Inaugural 2010 Resourceful Leader Class. From left to right, Back Row: Mike Nally, Frank Brady, Colin Walls, Patti Grimes, Rob Rider, Scott Thomas, Ryan Williamson, Bill McGowan. Seated: Melody Booker, Saulo Chavez, Lindsay Maurer. Not present for photo: Brenda Whitehurst.

Each participant had a personal stretch goal to create at least one new job in Sussex County. They are giving themselves six months. Two have already met their goal.

Modeled after graduate-level seminars, the collaborative exercise, conducted at the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown during May and June, focused on economic gardening. Each of the 10 class members, all who work full time jobs in the county, made a commitment to attend seven, five-hour evening sessions, challenging each other to develop natural talents into performance, build confidence through encouragement, and turn inventive ideas into real, tangible results.

Launching an economic gardening program through resourceful leadership was a natural progression for Bill McGowan, University of Delaware Community Development Extension agent and co-director of the Sustainable Community Enhancement Initiative. Having facilitated initiatives such as the two-year agricultural leadership program LEADelaware, workshops on heritage tourism, and multiple town hall interactions to define the Heart and Soul of Sussex County, and now working with SEDAC, the Sussex Economic Development Action Committee, McGowan was acutely aware of the economic challenges facing Sussex County. Delving into a variety of issues and hearing from equally diverse interests, McGowan instinctively knew where the solution could be found – with Sussex Countians themselves acting as economic gardeners.

“Sussex Countians are conscientious, caring, community -minded people,” McGowan observed. “They are willing to help each other.  It may sound simple, but in committing to this program, you grow yourself, you can grow your organization, and grow your community.”

Saulo Chavez, administrative executive of a Georgetown community health care center, agreed. “This class helped us to realize – we hear on the news how the rate of unemployment is so high. We wait for government to help,” Chavez said. “It is up to us to create those jobs and it us up to us to encourage job creation. We are not waiting for someone else to do that.”

The determination to grow the economy was evident throughout the group.  Each of the 10, representing the arts, charitable foundations, financial management, health services, non-profits, auto service, manufacturing, home builders, land developers and tourism, examined their personality profiles to better respect the different approaches that exist across arenas. After the first session, a strong bond was formed in an atmosphere where “Be, Do, and Cause” really meant something. It meant they had to produce. It meant taking their collective commitment to serve Sussex County and delivering something tangible to benefit a larger good.

To get Sussex’s economic garden properly tilled, McGowan turned to his friend Mike Nally, founder of Lead Your Way Solutions and partner on other leadership training projects, most notably with the current two-year class of LEADelaware. McGowan’s admiration for Nally as a skilled leader/coach made Nally’s addition the natural choice to guide the seven sessions.

“Nally is a tremendous asset to Sussex County. We chose Mike because of his belief in, commitment to, and demonstration of servant leadership. He is a living example of walking the talk,” McGowan said.

“Mike’s ability to share his ‘Be Do and Cause’ principles with the group and guide them in their own discussions with each person around those principles is one of the finest demonstrations I’ve seen of adult learning,” McGowan continued.

The group was unanimous in describing the sessions as transformational.

“We’ve all been to training seminars for one and two days and you come back on fire and then it fizzles out,” said Frank Brady.” The way it was set up- the week to week format-allowed the right stretch of time to be responsible and to be transformational, so we can make a change and be accountable for it – to ourselves and to the group.”

“I didn’t want it to end, said Lindsay Maurer, who, like Brady, works for a residential and commercial builder. “I would do anything for these guys. It was transformational. I would love to see everybody go through this,” Maurer said.

Ideas came to the table from all directions – and were listened to, challenged, encouraged, and fleshed out in real time. Softball ideas where honed for specifics and some of the sessions were intensive, but generous with constructive criticism and the offering of personal lessons as a way to convert ideas into reality.

Patti Grimes, executive director of a non-profit art foundation, found the different backgrounds of the class participants an important ingredient in enriching the group. “We all learned from everyone else’s experiences through this,” Grimes said. “It helps us take that back to work and to our homes and help create new leaders.”

Nally was initially concerned that the long evening sessions, coming at the end of a full work day, would be difficult to sustain.

“I thought it might run out of gas,” Nally offered.” Keeping people engaged for five hours was a worry – it’s tough to keep up the energy. But the reality, the dynamics of the group proved the opposite. The conversation stayed fresh and long enough to start changing things.”

We moved the world to be here,” Grimes said. Everyone agreed quitting at 9 p.m. proved difficult.

Nally and McGowan’s stretch goal intends to create 100 resourceful leaders for the community from a diverse pool of applicants. The only prerequisite is a commitment to Sussex County. The inaugural class will act as mentors and provide additional resources for future sessions.

As the last session came to a close, a class that began as 10 strangers left as a tightly knit unit that did not want to quit. Instead of goodbyes the new Resourceful Leaders were making plans to meet regularly and continue the process of support, partnership, and economic growth.

As a token of their commencement, McGowan and Nally presented each with a potted Bonsai tree accented with a “Be, Do, Cause” touchstone – a reminder of their purpose. McGowan reminded the group that Bonsai trees were beautiful to look at but tricky to grow, requiring a commitment of time and personal attention. If the Bonsai was a fitting symbol, then Maurer’s reaction to it might symbolize the leaders and their chances for success. Maurer took her Bonsai home, examined several websites on how to care for them, and shared the best instructions with the group in an email the next day. It wasn’t her Bonsai she was concerned about – it was everyone’s Bonsai that mattered.

Article and photo: Michele Walfred     Click here for additional photos

Sussex Cooperative Extension announce Sept. Food Safety Classes

The University of Delaware Sussex County Cooperative Extension office will hold two levels of food safety courses this September, ServSafe® and Dine Safe, at the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center, 16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown.

Food safety in a food service establishment is non-negotiable; each year, an estimated 6 to 12 million Americans contract a food-borne illness as a result of micro-organism contamination.  These illnesses are preventable.  Proper training is the key to preparing food in a safe environment.

Dr. Anne Camasso, family and consumer science educator for Sussex Cooperative Extension teaches the ServSafe® and Dine Safe classes at the Carvel facility. Camasso said employee instruction in food safety practices is not only vital, but makes good business sense.

“With all the information about food borne illnesses in the news today people want to make sure they get the best for their money, restaurants who can demonstrate that they have done all in their power to provide safe, as well as tasty food, have a better chance of bringing in the business.” Camasso said.  “If someone from your restaurant takes either of these classes, post a copy of their certificate in your facility so show your patrons that you care.”

The ServSafe® program is the premiere food safety certification offered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). The program is designed for the food-service professional.

A ServSafe® certificate from the NRAEF will be awarded to individuals who complete the course and receive a passing grade on the exam.  Instructors are registered ServSafe® instructors with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.  The cost of $145 for the course covers the training, textbook, lunch, and certification examination from the NRAEF.  A reduced course fee of $125 is available for three or more registrants from one establishment.

Dine Safe is a three hour session designed to focus on the basic principles of food safety and handling. Each participant receives a training guide with the information covered in the program. The instructor will use presentations and hands-on activities to reinforce the lessons taught. All participants will receive a certificate of participation.

The Dine Safe training concentrates on five food service topics: Food Safety; Ensuring Proper Personal Hygiene; Purchasing, Receiving and Storing Foods; Preparing Cooking and Serving Food; and Cleaning and Sanitizing. The Dine Safe short course is $25.  Dine Safe can be scheduled at a business location provided there are at least 10 employees enrolled.

It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age or national origin. If you have special needs, please advise the office upon registering.

Below is the course schedule and contact numbers: The deadline to register for either session is Friday, August 27, 2010.

ServSafe® will be taught on Thursday, Sept.16, 2010.  The class is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dine Safe is offered on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. The class runs from 6-9 p.m.  Registration forms for both classes are available by visiting: and selecting either program for the full brochure. For more information contact Michele Walfred at 302-856-2585 ext 544.