Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, the County Association, a 501c3 legal entity by state statute, celebrates 100 years of existence this year.
I used to think 100 years was an eternity. Now that I have passed the 50 year mark (and then some!) I recognize I have lived through a good portion of those years of change. And change it has been. County agents, home dem agents, and 4-H agents that have contributed so much to the citizens of the county. Now we call the staff “Educators” in tune with the work they do. And agriculture encompasses so much from traditional dairy cow farms to non-dairy livestock, all sorts of plantings, rural economic development to agritourism. 4-H still works in the wide arena of youth development. The 4-H Club is still very strong and a mainstay of CCE youth development education; however, afterschool and specialty projects like shooting sports and robotics are growing in interest and numbers.
Some of the readers will remember with fondness the Home Demonstration clubs that were led by women agents to teach homemaking skills for better rural living. Today Family and Consumer Science professionals teach food nutrition, safety, and budgeting and life skills. And sometimes “what goes around, comes around” as in the case of food preservation which is increasingly a sought after program. In the area of food safety, a lot has been learned and preserving one’s produce has changed significantly.
Many great individuals have worked out of the Franklin County CCE office over the years. All were consummate professionals who “walked the talk” and devoted their lives to bring research based education from the land grant system at Cornell University to the people. Dairy agents who helped grow the dairy industry in the county. 4-H agents who live in the minds of hundreds of adults today, that were the 4-Hers of yesterday. Devoted individuals, who had a vision of a residential youth summer camp, and literally built and ran 4-H Camp Overlook.