Number CLII The Newsletter of Epsilon Sigma Phi November 2019

President's Update
Mike Knutz, National ESP President

Epsilon Sigma Phi National Conference has always been a source of encouragement and inspiration that energizes me in the important and demanding work of Extension. The Zeta Chapter of Colorado did a fantastic job hosting this year’s conference. I enjoyed the beautiful hike through Garden of the Gods with colleagues from around the country. The opening night at the Olympic Training Center complete with Gymnastic performances from Olympians was incredible. The line-up of conference speakers addressing the theme “Going for the Gold - Achieving Peak Performance” was highly motivating. Dr. Rick Perea, Sports Psychologist who has served as a life coach to sports teams and top athletes drilled home the message focusing on what we can control in striving for peak performance: Our Effort, Attitude and Energy. Everyone in the room was moved by Paralympic Silver Medalist John Register’s story of courage, resilience, and leadership as he rebounded from a devastating sports injury. The capstone speaker was one of our own, Chuck Hibberd, Dean and Director of Nebraska Extension. Chuck encouraged us as Extension Professionals to be relevant and innovative in our approach to emerging challenges.

There were over 230 members and 33 guests in attendance at this year’s conference making it one of the largest ones on record. I hope that this is the beginning of a trend and that even more can attend in Rochester, New York, October 5-8, 2020. The Lambda Chapter of New York is well on their way with help from other Northeast Region chapters to offer a premier professional development conference that promotes collegiality and growing your professional network. The call for proposals to present will be out soon, so don’t miss that opportunity to share your innovative ideas and strategies in Extension Work.

The Mission of Epsilon Sigma Phi is to foster standards of excellence through professional development. It’s a mission that we back with funds for our members to the tune of $36,000 annually. With the wisdom of a few members, ESP established a fund in 1985 and launched a campaign to raise ½ million dollars from member contributions. We are $4,570.30 short of reaching that goal. Please consider helping ESP reach the finish line and join us for a celebration in New York for this momentous achievement that distinguishes the level of commitment and generosity of our members. The 2019 conference pins can be purchased for a donation of $100 from the ESP Store.

I look forward to serving you this upcoming year as your President and I wish to acknowledge and thank Mark Blevins for his Energy, Attitude, and Effort this past year.

Colorado Springs Conference a Great Success

Attendance at the 2019 Colorado Springs Conference was the largest in recent history. 230 members and 33 guests attended the meeting. Thanks to the Colorado Zeta Chapter for hosting a great professional development conference. 

Pictures from the conference are available online at 2019 ESP Conference Pictures

The largest delegations to this year's conference included: Colorado Zeta, Kentucky Alpha Kappa, Ohio Alpha Eta, Georgia Alpha Beta, Florida Alpha Delta and Tennessee Omega Chapters.

We were able to live-stream Rick Perea, one of our conference speakers, and Patricia Dawson's Ruby Lecture. Recordings of these presentations are available on the front of the ESP Homepage.

If you are an ESP Conference Pin collector and you missed getting a pin this year, you can still purchase one with a $100 donation.  See the ESP Store to order.

Development Fund - The Road to $500,000 

In 1985 an endowed account was started under management of a national committee and by 2003 it had several thousand dollars in it. In 2003 the ESP Resource Development and Management Committee and National Board gave consideration to how to handle its endowed funds. Looking to the future, ESP planned for the current Development Fund, developed policies for its management and hired a professional management company. A goal was set to raise $500,000 in donations in this endowed account and to use the investment income to support professional development scholarships, grants, and other professional activities.

Now, after a management plan was put in place, the endowed Development Fund is budgeted to provide $36,000 in 2020 to support professional development programs for the members. This is a major and important part of our annual program budget.

At the beginning of this year's campaign we were short $15,847 of the $500,000 goal.

Donation Challenge – You Can Help to Reach the Goal!

Since June 1, 2019, 157 members have given $9,715 dollars in donations and the fundraising auction at the national conference has raised $1,561.70 (half the auction proceeds) to give a total of $11,276.70 so far for the 2020 campaign year.

We are short $4,570.30 of reaching our $500,000 goal.

Can you make a year-end tax deductible donation now to help put us over the top? Please join the 157 members (Active and Life) who have contributed this year. We want to reach the goal this year.

Please respond now with your donation online or by mail. Online, go to the ESP Development Page and log in with your ESP email (the address used in this email) to see the secure online donation site. While on the website scroll down through the 2019 Campaign Report to see how much your state has received and how much it has given to the Development Fund. Also, see the Key Level Recognition List and the list of donors for the 2019 Campaign Year.

Or make a donation by mail, send a check payable to ESP Development Fund to: ESP National Office, 55 Walton Place Dr., Newnan, GA 30263.

Thank you!

The Resource Development & Management Committee

Three ESP Scholarships increased to $1000

The 2019 delegates to the National ESP Council Meeting approved a 2020 budget allowing for an increase in the Angus, Redinger and Morrill scholarships due to the growth of the Development Fund. Each of these three scholarships increased from $500 to $1000 for next year.

Scholarships and Grants December 1 Deadline 

The following applications are due December 1. Do you have a program or professional development that needs funding? Do you need travel support to PILD or the 2020 ESP Conference in New York?  Don't let this opportunity pass by without your participation. Additional conference scholarships are also available in the spring. Please check the Awards section on the ESP Website for information on all scholarships and grants.

PILD Scholarship (Due December 1, 2019)

Epsilon Sigma Phi, through the ESP Development Fund, has established this scholarship for eligible members to attend the Public Issues Leadership Development National Conference in order to become informed about and develop skills in responding to public issues and legislative matters affecting Extension programs and personal needs. The scholarship is to be used to defray the cost of attending the Public Issues Leadership Development Conference. Four scholarships of $600.00 each will be awarded annually.

Angus Professional Development Scholarship (Due December 1, 2019)

Epsilon Sigma Phi, through the ESP Development Fund, provides $4,000 annually to fund scholarships not to exceed $1,000 per member to encourage, stimulate, and support professional development through participation in courses, seminars, conferences or workshops.

There is currently a proposal working through committee to raise the amount of this scholarship to $1000. The proposed 2020 budget would increase the overall funding to $4000.  Stay tuned for possible changes in this scholarship.

Professional Development Programming Grant (Due December 1, 2019)

The purpose of the Epsilon Sigma Phi Professional Development Grant is to stimulate development of Extension professionals. Grants will be awarded to interdisciplinary teams to plan and conduct a project with an appeal to a broad audience of Extension professionals. Through the ESP Development Fund, funding for at least four $1,000 grants is available annually and will be awarded through a competitive process.

Rita T Wood Grant (Due December 1, 2019)

The Rita T. Wood Grant is intended to provide funds for one or more grants per year to individual members or chapters of Epsilon Sigma Phi. Grants to a chapter may be for programs or activities supporting leadership development and chapter growth. Grants to individuals may be made for the leadership or professional development of others within ESP. Award amounts may vary. Current maximum annual grant award is $1250.00.

Visit the Award Section of the ESP Website for a list of all scholarships and grants.

Impact of ESP Scholarships / ESP Members share their ESP Scholarship Stories

Kelli Watcherson, OR / Gamma Chapter was awarded the Angus Professional Development Scholarship which she used to attend to Extension Leadership Conference (ELC) to San Antonio, Texas in February 2019. Kelli noted that, "The JCEP Conference was smaller compared to other conferences I've attended and that made it much easier to meet new colleagues, especially in the two-day time frame. I enjoyed some new connections and reconnected with others I'd spent time with in Kansas last fall."

Kelli expanded further, "The basic premise of my presentation "Working WITH Support Staff: Bridging the Divide" was to encourage program faculty to consider their support staff as colleagues and function with the guidelines of everyone's purpose being valued. I had the privilege of delivering the session to a full room and enjoyed the conversations with those present. I came away with a fresh appreciation of the history in and around San Antonio and with two new authors (John Maxwell and Ken Blanchard) to search out and read."

Peter Wulforst, PA / Alpha Omicron Chapter received the Angus Scholarship and shares his experience.

My Richard Angus scholarship assisted me in attending the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals conference in Asheville, NC. I attended several excellent sessions pertaining to urban food tours, sustainability education in Florida, developing inclusive community engagement for local government, facilitation skills for local government in North Carolina, conducting surveys of citizens & opportunity zones in Indiana. In addition, I presented at a session on the Penn State Extension land use webinars.

I also attended a mobile workshop at Lake Lure which has a flower bridge that attracts many tourists annually.

Shelly Barnes, TN / Omega Chapter received the Angus Scholarship and is happy to share her opportunity with you. 

It’s the professionals “on the ground” who must counsel homebuyers, coach individuals with limited budgets, preserve and redevelop communities and so much more. But they are only as effective as their expertise, energy and commitment. As the Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent in Wilson County, TN, this is part of my priority programming.

Homebuyer education is required for Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) and Rural Development customers. This partnership between THDA, Rural Development and Extension provides a trained homebuyer educator in Wilson County. I am the only certified homebuyer educator in Wilson county. I also partner with eHome America, the leading online based homebuyer education provider to provide required follow up sessions to clients. During the follow up session, I provide linkage to community based resources to clients. In 2018, I provided education to 72 clients resulting in 64 home loans being closed.

I am currently certified as a Neighborworks America Trainer for Homebuyer Education. Because of this opportunity from the Richard Angus Professional Development Scholarship Fund and the ESP National association, I will be able to continue providing this valuable education to first time home buyers for another year. I have completed all of the required hours to continue my certifications through NeighborWorks America.

I honed skills in Understanding Credit, Foreclosure Prevention and Saving Energy. I am now better equipped to provide real life solutions to first time home buyers in Tennessee. Thank you so much for this opportunity!


2020 Extension Leadership Conference - Call for proposals is open

The 2020 Extension Leadership Conference sponsored by JCEP will be held on February 12 - 13, 2020 at the Wyndham Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. This year's Conference Theme will be: 2020 a Vision for the Future.

The conference Capnote Speaker will Dr. Scott Reed who will be the Vice Provost for University Outreach and Engagement Emeritus of Oregon State University Extension. 

Our own Past President, Mark Blevins, is the conference chair for this event. He appreciates your support, attendance, and assistance at the conference, so let him know if you can spare a few minutes in San Antonio to help make the event even more incredible for other attendees.Conference Registration will open the first week of December.

Save the date for the 2020 Public Issues Leadership Development Conference (PILD)

The Public Issues Leadership Development Conference will be held April 5-8, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia. 

This year's conference theme: "Enhancing Leadership Capacity for Emerging Issues"

Deadline for proposals are due by November 15th. Please visit the Joint Council of Extension Professional website at to learn about submitting your presentation proposal.

Registration opens January 2, 2020

Your Marketing Committee Welcomes Your Ideas

Daphne Richards, Chair, Marketing Committee and Vice President, Southern Region (Member, Texas Alpha Zeta Chapter)

As the new Southern Region VP, I learned not long before the recent ESP national conference in Kansas that I had been assigned to chair the national marketing committee. I remembered meeting members of the marketing committee at the first national conference that I attended, in Idaho a few years ago, and thought to myself, “Yippee! I get to lead the committee in charge of having fun!” Of course, that’s not the exact focus of the committee, but, it is how I interpret part of my charge: to engage our current and potential members in a warm and welcoming way. I’d like to thank the prior two committee chairs, Mark Blevins and Rusty Collins, for their great work over the last few years. I have a great foundation to build from!

At our committee meeting in October at the national conference, we reviewed the Strategic Action Plan from 2018, and decided to continue with the broad-goals outlined there. Goal 1: Continue to market ESP to a broad, general audience, in order to increase awareness of ESP activities and to promote membership in our association. Goal 2: Continue to support the marketing of ESP by state chapters, by providing resources and assistance. Goal 3: Continue to support the efforts of the Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee in the ESP Mentoring Initiative and the development of the Latino and Urban Affinity Groups.

Have you or the members in your chapter had any marketing successes you’d like to share? Have you conducted any creative activities or implemented any innovative ways of marketing your chapter at the state or local level? Have you had any fun at an ESP event that you’d love to see replicated at the national level?! If so, or even if you haven’t acted on it and it’s just an idea at this point, your marketing committee would love to hear from you! Please drop me a line or give me a call. or 512.854.9615. Or you can submit your idea online here:


2020 International Calendars / Great holiday gift opportunity

Don't miss this opportunity to support the National Global Relations Committee by purchasing an international calendar, now available for $18.00 (includes shipping) from the ESP store.

The calendar is a production of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Madison Wisconsin. Peace Corps is a journey - a journey in the service of peace - to new places, new ideas, and new experiences. The International Calendar takes you on a journey, too. Featuring photos from host countries where Peace Corps Volunteers live and serve, the calendar is an important effort in carrying out the Third Goal of the Peace Corps, "to help Americans understand the peoples and cultures of other countries. Proceeds from your purchase will support the work of the ESP Global Relations Committee.


2020 Membership Campaign - Pay your dues by December 31

Greg and Becky Price, ESP National Office

Membership Dues Invoices were sent out on October 1st for the 2020 ESP Membership Campaign. A few chapters have special processes to collect dues centrally such as payroll deduction so your invoice may have come from your chapter.  

This invoice will cover your dues for the 2020 year. Dues should be paid by December 31, 2019. However, the final deadline to pay your 2020 dues without losing your active membership status is January 31, 2020.

If you are retiring and you would like to convert to Life Membership, just email or call the National Office and we will send you a Life Member invoice.

You can check your membership status and payment history by reviewing your online account. Just make sure you are logged on while visiting the ESP site and then click on your name in the upper right hand corner. 

If you did not receive a membership dues invoice, check your membership status as listed in the ESP Online Directory.  If your status is Annual, State Managed, or New, you are currently in good standing with ESP for the 2019 year and you should have receive an invoice.  If your status is Expired then you did not receive an invoice this year. You should call or email the National Office to reactivate your membership and get a 2020 membership invoice.  


This newsletter is a publication of Epsilon Sigma Phi, Inc. - The Extension Professionals' Organization

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