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February 2024

Important Dates

Canning with a Twist: 5 Approaches to Food Preservation Classes
February 27, 2024 @ 2:00 PM Eastern

NEAFCS Leadership Book Club Session 1
February 27, 2024 @ 3:15 PM Eastern

NEAFCS Webinar: 1890 Institutions
February 29, 2024 @ 3:00 PM Eastern

NEAFCS Leadership Experience Application
Opens: January 15, 2024
Closes: March 1, 2024

NEAFCS 2024 Awards Deadline
March 15, 2024

NEAFCS Leadership Book Club Session 2
March 26, 2024 @ 3:00 PM Eastern

2024 JCEP Public Issues Leadership Development Conference
April 15-16, 2024
Arlington, VA

2024 Annual Session
September 16-19, 2024 - Tucson, Arizona

2025 Annual Session
October 20-23, 2025 - Grand Rapids, Michigan

Invitation to Participate: Strengthening Collaboration Between the National Aging Network  and Cooperative Extension

Hello. I am the Research Director of the National Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging, also known as the Nutrition and Aging Resource Center. The Nutrition and Aging Resource Center provides resources and services to Senior Nutrition Program providers, such as educational programming, marketing, technical assistance, and research. One of our goals is to strengthen the relationship between State Units on Aging and Cooperative Extension. We are conducting a study to better understand the current collaborative initiatives between Cooperative Extension and the National Aging Network and to identify future mutually beneficial partnership opportunities. As an Extension professional, we want to hear from you. If you are 18 years old and older and fluent in English please complete this 15-minute survey, https://go.iastate.edu/QJGMD0  by Friday, March 8th.

 Have Member News to share? Fill out the online form: 



President's Message: Shine Through Awards & Changes to the Hall of Fame
Rick Griffiths (NM), NEAFCS President

It's a busy time for the Association, with many deadlines having already come or quickly approaching. By the time you read this many of your state award deadlines will be fast approaching. I hope each of you will take the time to complete an awards application to be recognized for your outstanding work every day. Read More:

What YOU Need to Know NOW in NEAFCS!
National Office Staff

This feature of the newsletter highlights current reminders of member benefits, programs, and approaching deadlines to keep you in the know.  



                                                             Email Rick at [email protected].


Are You Attending the Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) Conference? 
Susan Routh (OK), PILD Conference Co-Chair

The Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) is pleased to announce that registration for the 2024 Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) conference is now open. PILD is scheduled for April 15 to 17, 2024, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Regan National Airport, Arlington, Virginia. The conference aims to:

  • Increase understanding of public policy issues.
  • Build support for Extension
  • Strengthen partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies

Read More:

2024 Annual Session Keynote Speaker Announced!
Katherine Speirs (AZ), Educational Offerings Subcommittee Chair,
2024 NEAFCS Annual Session Planning Committee

The Arizona Affiliate is excited to announce that the 2024 Annual Session keynote speaker will be Nia Imani Fields. Dr. Fields will present a talk titled “Grassroots Engagement and Social Justice through Cooperative Extension.” You can learn more about Dr. Fields and her work here: https://www.niaimanifields.com/.

Read More:

Start Planning for Living Well Month
Rosie Stewart, (AZ) Public Affairs Advocacy Committee Chair

As we approach Living Well Month in March, the Public Affairs Advocacy Committee has been hard at work reviewing materials and working with the National Office to update the calendar to assist in promoting this initiative. Living Well Month serves as a public awareness campaign by NEAFCS, aiming to spotlight the valuable services provided by Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Science (FCS) across the country. Read More:

NEAFCS Leadership Book Club
Jennifer Bridge (KY), President-Elect

Get ready for a new NEAFCS experience!  The virtual NEAFCS Leadership Book Club kicks off in February with a three session discussion series on the four pillars of leadership in Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts, Brene Brown, PhD, MSW.

The book club is open to all NEAFCS members and is a wonderful way to connect with colleagues and grow personally and professionally. To participate, register in advance for this meeting at the following link:


Read more: 

Celebrating Black History Month by Advancing Nutrition Security and Health Equity
Caree Jackson Cotwright, PhD, RDN, Director of Nutrition Security and Health Equity, USDA Food and Nutrition Service

Every February, the United States honors and celebrates the rich, cultural heritage of African Americans, including their triumphs and adversities that are integral to our nation’s history and success. To pay tribute to those who came before me and cultivate a better future for my three daughters, I share some of my journey to advance nutrition security and health equity through public service and highlight ways I hope each of you can join me in these efforts. Read More:

Western Region Update: Be Strategic in 2024
Dianne Christensen (NM), Western Region Director

The NEAFCS Board of Directors will be creating a new five-year strategic plan in May 2024 at their in person Board meetings. Your input is important and valuable to this process so please reach out to your Regional Director with input and ideas as you think about our organization in the next five years. NEAFCS Mission, Vision, and Values follow for your consideration as you form input. A copy of the current plan can be reviewed at NEAFCS 2021-2024 Strategic Plan FINAL.pdf (memberclicks.net).

Read More:

The Gift that Keeps on Giving
Michelle Wright (TX), Appointed VP Member Resources

Have you ever had a gift that keeps on giving? If not, do not worry because NEAFCS has one for you! When you are a member of NEAFCS, you can publish articles in a refereed publication. Publishing research in our peer-reviewed publication will give you a platform that offers:

  • Credibility
  • Peer validation
  • Networking opportunities
  • Enhanced visibility within Family and Consumer Sciences

Read More:

Professional Development Opportunities
Marcia Parcell (IN), VP Professional Development

Have you stopped to reflect on your professional development?  The professional development committee currently has three goals:

  1. Enhance growth opportunities for our members through professional development
  2. Program sharing
  3. Leadership/personal development

Enhance the profession through year-round opportunities for professional development that build core competencies in Extension Program areas and enhance opportunities for asset building for members.  My committees as well as other committees and officers are meeting these goals. Read More:

Editing and Proofreading Awards Applications
Natalie Snowden (TX), Awards & Recognition Committee Member

Editing and proofreading are critical steps in the writing process that are often rushed or overlooked. We have all done it; we worked so hard putting a presentation/packet/report together and then hit submit only to realize a typo after our finger left the button. We focus so much on getting the content together, that we neglect to devote the time necessary for proper editing and proofreading. When you are working on a report and spending hours mulling over the words and information, your brain starts to fill in the gaps between what you meant to say versus what you typed. This is why it is so important to have a second and even third set of eyes proofreading your award application. Read More:

Considering Running for National Office? Hear from the current outgoing officers!
Contact the officers with questions! Applications due to Past-President, Julie Garden-Robinson by May 1, 2024


Join One of the Public Affairs Committees - Advocacy, Education or Public Affairs
Chris Zellers (NJ), VP Public Affairs

A great way to kick off the New Year is to become involved with one of NEAFCS State or National Committees.  I recently received an email from a state Public Affairs Coordinator who was inquiring about what being on the National Public Affairs Committee entailed.  It can be as much or as little as you like. I remember when I joined the Public Affairs Advocacy Committee, I had just started my position as an FCS Educator, and it was April of 2020. Read More:

What is the Leadership Experience? Why Should I Care?
Joy West (AR), Mentoring and Leadership Committee Chair
Elizabeth Martin (LA), Mentoring and Leadership Committee Member

Of the many opportunities NEAFCS offers, participating in the Leadership Experience may be the most beneficial to you.  This program helps you develop the skills and confidence you need to improve your leadership skills or to impact the career of someone else.

The Mentoring and Leadership Committee mission is to address the need for more leaders in NEAFCS. Through interviews and research, the committee noticed a common problem, lack of confidence in leadership abilities.  As a result, the Leadership Experience program was developed to combat this issue and grow leaders from within the association. Read More:

What is the Deal with Pronouns?
Courtney Aldrich (MI), Diversity Committee Member

You may have been in a meeting or introduced to someone and they have shared the pronouns they identify with.  If you have ever wondered what this is all about, let me share an overview.

Pronouns are used as a substitute for someone’s name, and they are often based on assumptions about the person’s gender, appearance, or name.  When we use the pronouns a person identifies with, it shows respect and gives them dignity.  When we make pronoun or gender assumptions, it can feel disrespectful and alienating, especially when we don’t get it right.  Most importantly, using correct pronouns is about suicide prevention.  According to the Trevor project (https://www.thetrevorproject.org/), the attempted suicide rate is cut in half for transgender and non-binary youth who have their pronouns respected. Read More:

Creating Your Own Be NEAFCS Strong Giving Day
Theresa Mayhew, (NY) Endowment Committee Chair

February might be the shortest month (although we get an extra day this year) but it surely packs a lot of punch! In addition to well-known holidays like Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day, it also marks National Jello Week (12-18) and National Pastry Week which starts on the 27th. It’s also American Heart, Black History, Haiku and Library Lovers Month!

It seems like there’s a day, week, and month for nearly everything so why not pick one day this month to make it Be NEAFCS Strong Day? You can start your own personal observance day by contributing to the endowment after reading this article (but promise me you’ll go back and digest the rest of this issue!). Just visit https://neafcs.memberclicks.net/endowment to make a secure online donation now!  Read More:

Is it the 90th or 91st Anniversary?
Christine Kniep, (WI) NEAFCS Historian

One of the questions that has come my way this past year is…"if we organized in 1933, isn't celebrating our 90th Anniversary in 2024 a year late"? And yes, if you subtract 1933 from 2024 you do get 91…. trust me, this question has given me pause more than once and prompted me to do the math multiple times! Read More:

Additional News & Opportunities for NEAFCS Members 


 Obituary for Genevieve Harris

Genevieve Newsom Harris, age 97, passed away peacefully on February 12, 2024, at her farm home in Hazlehurst, MS. Genevieve was a Life Member and Past National President of NEAFCS. Click here to read the full obituary.

Future issues of the NEAFCS Network will include recognition of members who have passed. If you would like to report the death of a NEAFCS member, please click here.