Letters to the editor (04/14/12)

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Extension volunteers make all the difference
Editor:
The week of April 16th is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and the faculty and staff of the Valencia County Extension Office would like to recognize the tremendous contribution volunteers make in our county through the various programs and services extension offers.
We would not be able to provide the current level of service without the many individuals, groups and businesses that volunteer their time and energy to one or several of our program areas.
There are also other volunteers that may not fit into a program area, but assist our office with the little things that make a difference in our community.
The 4-H program is fortunate to have strong volunteer support from club and project leaders, parents, junior leaders, businesses and various groups that share their time and expertise and give our youth an opportunity to master a task, compete or showcase their projects all while developing leadership and life skills that will benefit them throughout their lives. Volunteers make a huge difference in a child’s life and are the backbone of the 4-H program!
We are fortunate to have a variety of volunteers in the family and consumer sciences program area. The Valencia County Chapter of Extension Association of New Mexico is the formal volunteer program for Family and Nutrition Sciences.
Members of EANM, as well as other volunteers, contribute their time and expertise in a variety of ways, whether it is helping with a cooking class, or supporting parenting, family, or job-seeking programming efforts.
The horticulture program area has a formal volunteer program that serves a very important purpose to gardeners and home owners in the county.
The Valencia County Extension Master Gardener program provides research-based gardening advice at a variety of outlets, including plant clinics, demonstrations, school gardens and horticultural programs.
Master Gardeners volunteer more than 1,300 hours each year towards horticultural education in Valencia County.
Agriculture programs have their share of selfless volunteers and businesses that support the mission of raising agriculture appreciation in our non-agricultural communities, as well as promoting economically and environmentally sustainable practices that keep farmers productive and on their land.
Thank you volunteers for believing that education is a life-long practice that stimulates individual initiative, self determination, and leadership, all which make Valencia County a better place.

Kyle Tator
Program Director
Valencia County Extension Office