What I Do in the Spring
Here's a glimpse into some of my springtime Extension activities (there's never a dull moment).
I took these incredible teen leaders to the Utah State Capitol to experience the legislative process for an event called 4-H Mock Legislature. Having worked many hours with each of them, I am deeply proud of the presentation and debate skills they have all developed over the years.
Presented to full rooms (twice) with colleagues at the Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) Public Issues Leadership (PILD) Conference in Washington DC. The first presentation was on social media strategy and the second was about eXtension's nationwide Educational Technology Learning Network #EdTechLN that I helped create.
Accompanied one of my most accomplished 4-H members to the U.S. Capitol to meet with our legislators and educate them about USU Extension's impacts across the state.
Convinced my office to host a "May The 4th" (unofficial) Star Wars Day celebration. Over 500 people from Washington County attended. We had Jedi activities, Jabba the Hutt dogs, Yoda Soda and a live band. We also organized a Jr. FIRST LEGO League event for 36 kids (ages 6-9), it was a spectacular day!
My Extension colleagues and I organized and facilitated the 37th Annual UT/AZ Range Livestock Workshop at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Over 150 Farmers, Ranchers and Agency personnel attended. This is still a FREE workshop after all these years, I'm very thankful to generous sponsors that make it happen. I don't understand much of what is taught, but all the farmers say they learn new information that they will use to run their operations.
The Dixie Junior Livestock Show is always a success because of the selfless volunteers that make it all happen. We served 283 exhibitors and gave them an experience they will always remember. We also fed nearly a thousand people at the awards banquet. I love this show! Seeing youth successfully complete their livestock projects after months of diligent work is so rewarding.
When I first heard that a Startup Weekend was happening in St. George, I just had to get involved. Even though this 3-day event overlapped with the Dixie Junior Livestock Show I still made time to attend (there's a lot you can accomplish when you don't sleep). I volunteered to document the event by creating a video we can use to showcase the event next year. I'm looking forward to being involved again next year.
Amid the emotional labor and demanding work that seems to consume my life, I've found that it is important to make time to ride and enjoy nature. This photo is from my ride on the JEM Trail in Hurricane, Utah.
For the past several years I've been canyoneering on a regular basis. This picture was taken from the last rappel in Boltergeist Canyon near Leeds, Utah. I love canyoneering and have made it part of my job as a 4-H Adventure Leadership Program. On this particular expedition I guided 3 adult leaders and 1 youth. Nothing beats talking 4-H and leadership while hanging off a cliff.
I went jeepin' for the first time in my life. It was part of an activity in the Leadership Dixie program that recently completed in May. A unique experience to say the least! I learned that driving up vertical rocks and speeding at 65mph on sand is not my thing, but I'm grateful I had the experience.
I wrote a grant that was funded by Cognizant, a global IT company. This grant funds "Maker" projects for my 4-H program and part of the deal was that I got to attend the Bay Area Maker Faire with some of my top 4-H members. We taught a workshop on how to soldering a circuit board. We also had time to explore the Faire along with the other 150,000 people that attended (I ran into one of the co-founders of Google and thanked him for changing the world).
Being at Maker Faire was like seeing a vision of the future. The people there use technology to make the world a better place, they embrace it rather than shy away from it. The day we flew out to San Francisco we left St. George at 3:30am, everyone was so tired but we still managed to walk 13 miles all over the city, including a trip to Alcatraz! Definitely the best 4-H trip I have ever been on.
Education is always a priority for me. I believe if I'm not learning then I'm falling behind. At any given time I will have a list of articles I'm curating, several books I'm reading, a MOOC I'm taking, and an article I'm writing for publication. Currently, I'm taking a business course from my favorite author, Seth Godin.
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Paul Hill, Ph.D.
I design, plan, and evaluate economic development programs for Utah State University.
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