Professional Communities, Opportunities and Train Whistles
Not long into my first assignment as an Extension professional, I was ‘elected’ by my peers to the role of ‘president’ of CD. Looking back, I should have been listening more closely for the train whistle in the distance. Little did I realize the opportunities it would bring and prepare me to serve again in different roles for different organizations (Ohio Epsilon Sigma Phi – ESP and the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals – NACDEP). One thing about Extension work, there’s never a shortage of acronyms or opportunities to serve and grow.
President of CD sounds like a powerful position, but I later learned this role was charged primarily with coordinating Extension CD awards. It didn’t matter, I was new and I was excited to get involved in the community of professionals to learn more. The role was part of the board of what was then referred to as the Ohio Extension Agents’ Association (OEAA). OEAA was the predecessor to the Ohio Joint Council of Extension Professionals (OJCEP).
We’ve come a long way since then. And we have been able to do so because of the way we have worked together. OEAA didn’t have a place for Extension support staff or ‘administration’ but today OJCEP is a community that welcomes all Extension professionals. This professional community represents organizations that exist to serve every type of Extension focus (e.g. ANREP, ESP, NACAA, NACDEP, NAEPSDP, NAE-4HA, NEAFCS, and TERSSA.)
OJCEP is organized, supports professional development and provides ongoing support for all of us in Ohio much in the same way as the national JCEP organization exists for all Extension professionals across the U.S. Through your involvement you have opportunities to grow personally and professionally. There are countless opportunities to lead and learn how to lead. You can submit your best work to be judged by peers via formal recognition and awards opportunities. Conference and professional development opportunities are also available as well as scholarships to help defray their costs and other similar activities you may pursue.
We realize the return on investments we make in our professional communities (whether we decide to engage by program area or Extension overall, and at state or national levels) much in the same way we realize our investments in our personal relationships and communities. In short, we get what we give.
Now is the time to renew or join the membership (see Sabrina’s email sent Oct 1). You also have a chance to join the community on October 12 at the next regularly scheduled OJCEP meeting to be held via Zoom at https://osu.zoom.us/j/94361085213?pwd=dGlaSWxvS2pCeGRPN2VLM21xeGNHZz09 Meeting ID: 943 6108 5213 and Password: 489924
And don’t be afraid of the train whistles in the distance.