Number CLI The Newsletter of Epsilon Sigma Phi September 2019

President's Update
Mark Blevins, National ESP President

I'm really looking forward to seeing so many of you at the National Conference! The Colorado Chapter has done a great job with planning and logistics for such an educational experience. The parts I'm looking forward to the most are the opening ceremony at the Olympic Training Center, the top caliber speakers, the magnificent surroundings, the auction where you don't have to be present to win (or submit an item), and ESPecially hearing from you about your work and research. Colorado Springs is a great place and you're great people, so it's going to be amazing.

Our organization has some deadlines coming up near the end of the year, so get those Scholarship and Grant applications submitted before December 1st. There's a full committee that reviews those and other applications in addition to a host of committees that do some heavy lifting around here. I encourage you to get involved with fellow members from across the country in a committee that fits your interests, skills, and maybe even fills a slot on your Vita. Contact a National Board member for information on how to get started.

Perhaps like you, I learn something every time I'm around my colleagues and friends in ESP, and the same is true for the Connections newsletter. This time I learned about the amazing things members did with the scholarships that come out of our Development Fund (not dues, ever). Those experiences are making them even better Extension professionals and that's why we're here. I hope you'll apply for a scholarship so that my donation has a chance to go to a very worthy cause - you.

By the time the next newsletter hits the presses, Mike Knutz will be our National President. We'll be in very capable hands; he's a great Extension professional from Oregon and he has some great ideas for us. It has and continues to be an incredible pleasure to serve you and our members on the National Board and in this role. Thank you for the opportunity and I hope you, too, share your talents with ESP on a national level.

Membership At-a-Glance

Annual Members: 1910

New Members: 331

Life Members: 2841

Total Membership: 5082

National ESP Conference Locations:

Colorado Springs, CO October 14-17, 2019

Rochester, NY October 5-8, 2020

Savannah, GA  October 25-28, 2021

Donate to the 2019 ESP Online Auction

2019 ESP National Conference Online Auction in Colorado Springs

Dear ESP Members,

Welcome to the preparations for our very first National ESP online fundraising auction. Not only will this new platform let you post and then see/bid on items before the conference begins, it will also allow participation from all our members.

The funds from the auction are split 50/50 between the National Operating Fund and the Development Fund, which supports professional development scholarships and stipends for all members.

Before we can have an auction, we need items to bid on! We are asking everyone to consider contributing an item similar to what you would have brought in person to the auction in prior years.

If you have a Google or Gmail Account, you can add your donated item(s) by filling out the Online Consignment Google Form at and fill in the requested information. Take 1-4 great pictures of your item and upload to the form so people will see what you have. We will take care of posting it on the auction website. You will notice when you go to the Google form that you need to have a google or gmail account in order to upload pictures.

If you do not have a Google or Gmail account, please complete this Online Consignment PDF Form. You can put your information in this form and attach it along with a picture or two in an email to or .

If all else fails, just bring your item to the conference registration area before noon on Tuesday morning and we will upload it for you.

Since you don’t have to be at the conference to submit or purchase an item, we have decided that it is easiest for the donor to be responsible for getting the donated item to the buyer. So, you might consider the size or weight of your contribution. For those of you attending the conference, this will save you the hassle of having to find room in your luggage.

Online bidding will open on October 1 and we’ll be sending out another message with all the details on bidding. In the meantime, thank you for supporting ESP and being willing to try something new.

The 2019 National Conference Auction Committee

Live Auction Items Needed for National Conference

The 2019 Live Auction benefiting the ESP Development Fund is scheduled for Tuesday, October 15, during the ESP National Conference in Colorado Springs, CO.   The Online Auction begins October 1, be sure to donate items as mentioned above.

The ESP Auction is always an important part of annual conference.  In addition to the fun of being involved in the auction, the funds are critical for providing recognition awards and the scholarship and grants that are given to our members annually.  

Live Auction Needs: These items are suggested to be of high value and may include state chapter baskets, vacation getaway rentals, handcrafted items, wine or wine tours, fun items, sporting event tickets, unique state products, celebrity autographed items and more. 

Items should be carried to the Registration Area of the conference hotel on Monday, October 14, or Tuesday, October 15, 2019, during registration times where the Auction Committee members will receive them. Complete the ESP Live Auction Consignment Form in advance or onsite with a description and the estimated value of your item. A receipt will be provided.

If you would like to ship your donation ahead of time to the conference, please send them to: ESP Live Auction, c/o Mark Platten, Teller County Extension, 800 Research Drive, Suite 224, Woodland Park, CO 80863. Ship to arrive no later than Friday, October 11, 2019. Remember to include the ESP Live Auction Consignment Form in your shipment.

Important Reminder: Make sure the item description is very detailed so that the auctioneer has good information to tell folks and we can get the most value possible.

Questions before you travel? Contact Mark Platten at, 719-686-7961. Don't forget to participate in the online auction beginning on October 1, 2019. 

Look forward to seeing you in October!

The 2019 National Conference Auction Committee

Be a Participating Non-Committee Member
Susan Pickle, Alpha Iota Chapter, Arkansas

I have been a member of ESP for several years, however, last year was the first time I attended the national meeting. I wanted to be more involved and gain a better understanding of the organization. I learned that anyone could attend the committee meetings not just members. I attended the membership recruitment and retention committee meeting and learned a lot about how the committee works. I was invited to participate with the committee on their Zoom meetings and have participated in most of the meetings this year. I also applied for membership in this committee and was selected as a new member starting in October. As a non-member, I have been able to share ideas, contribute information about membership needs in our state, to learn about club awards and the committee’s goals and work. I look forward to serving on the committee during the next two years.

Membership Recruitment & Retention Committee Chair Note: ESP members can participate in any committee meeting via our zoom network. Susan has been an active non-member of our MRR Committee. This is a great way to learn more about committees, take information back to your local chapters and gain experience at the national level. Thanks to Susan for sharing her experience! See you all at the two committee meetings happening at the national meeting – check out the agenda! Beth Claypoole


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

Dennis Kaan, Zeta Chapter / Colorado attended the 2019 PILD Conference. Here's what Dennis had to say.

I felt the PILD Conference was beneficial to put more tools in my toolbox to help communities address local issues. The conference started off with lessons in adversity with the electrical power to the hotel and surrounding neighborhood going out. A situation like that does not happen often, but it served as a reminder that preparation and duplication of material to various devices is always good habit. The content of the keynote speakers was presented in such a manner that I can use the ideas presented as I go forward in time with program efforts. The breakout sessions and NPL Panel Sessions I attended fit nicely with keynote themes and further enhanced implementation ideas. Dr. Doug Steele closed the conference with a great talk to tie the themes and ideas of the conference together to energize attendees as they return home and implement new ideas and programs.

I know the logistics and planning would increase but I would recommend adapting the conference dates to coincide with the congressional schedule and Easter recess. That way attendees would have a greater chance to meet with their senators and congressional representatives. Meeting with staff members can be beneficial, but the level of detail in discussions can be lacking at times. Our group did have good conversations with staffers regarding local issues.

Jennifer Wilson, Alpha Rho / Kansas also attended the 2019 PILD Conference and offers her thoughts.

The PILD conference was a great opportunity to connect with leaders from across the country and learn about how to advocate for the important work we do. It is always great to have conversations with Extension professionals from other states, and I thank ESP for giving opportunities to connect across disciplines. Innovation has been a buzzword in our Kansas system recently so I appreciated learning from Paul Hill and others who are advocates for taking risks to advance our work. Our Kansas delegation had a great visit to Capitol Hill where we had positive discussions with legislative staffers. Thanks for the opportunity and the scholarship!

Jeff Myers, Tau / Maryland received the Angus Professional Development Scholarship.

I appreciate ESP and the Angus Scholarship which supported my attending the World Community Development Conference in Dundee, Scotland where I helped facilitate an LBGTQ Global Roundtable session. It was a rich experience with session attendees from Kenya (where gay sex is still criminalized), India, Israel, England, Canada, USA, and four youth from Dundee’s Scotland LGBTQ Youth. The issues surrounding the transgender community seemed universal, the Dundee youth spoke to their feelings of societal place and safety, and success stories where shared. One that comes to mind was from Coventry, England where LGBTQ training in senior/assisted living settings resulted in multiple Pride Events held by those centers. The conference was sponsored by the International Association for Community Development (IACD). Our session also helped to show IACD’s support for LGBTQ community development work, as well as support to their LGBTQ members.

It was exciting to participate in the conference which also created an opportunity to expand my personal growth when exposed to new philosophical concepts and being amongst people from across the world united in community development. It was also a source of pride as one of our own, Paul Lachapelle, Montana State University, carried out his role as President of this International organization. Once again thank you to ESP and the Scholarship, Grants, and Recognition Committee for supporting my efforts to continue to create acceptance and understanding for LGBTQ issues.


Scholarships and Grants December Deadline 

Have you applied for an ESP scholarship or grant lately? 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 $2,000 annually to fund scholarships not to exceed $500 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.

Tips for Serving Diverse Audiences
Izette McNealy, Member - Public Issues Committee 

“Seek First to understand, then seek to be understood”. These are very instructive words given to us by Stephen Covey author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey’s fifth rule is invaluable to communication, reminding us of the pitfalls of egocentrism (egocentrism is the inability to differentiate between self and other, a person who is egocentric believes they are the center of attention) that can adversely impact our ability to reach out to others.

When we attempt to have a conversation in a crowded room it can be difficult due to the ambient noise present often times resulting in relocating to a quieter space. When we consider this example through the lens of diversity in presentations the “noise” reveals itself to be various cultural barriers that can inhibit the clear transference of an intended message. Without intending to, it is easy to offend or lose members of an audience with cultural insensitivity. It is best to give thought to the potential recipient of an intended message while developing it for consumption.

Egocentrism while not malicious can be a serious roadblock to effective conversations. Consider the myriad types of people that make up our ever more increasingly diverse population. Differences in people can be found in religion, language, age, national origin, gender, race and educational background.

Best Practice tip is to focus on those around you and the principles that you want to live by. In essence, treat people the way you want to be treated!


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. 

RFP's for Leadership Development Concurrent Sessions are due October 18, 2019. See the JCEP website for the most up-to-date information.

Our own 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"

Registration opens January 2, 2020.

Your JCEP Leadership requested we make you aware of the following professional development opportunity.

Partnerships Playbook Webinars

Coming this fall - please help get the word about about a free webinar series co-hosted by Jim Woodell, along with his colleague, Dorothy Air. They have launched a suite of professional development and consulting services called Partnerships Playbook. To learn more, click the link below.

Sign Up for a Webinar to Learn More.pdf

Attention all ESP Life Members and those about to retire! 

Nancy Crago - Member, Professional Development Committee

If you are looking for a fall getaway, there is still time to register for the 2019 ESP National Conference, being held October 14-17, 2019, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Did you know that Life Members may qualify to receive a $200 stipend for conference registration? Visit the Conference Stipends page for more information. 

Stay in a historic hotel in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs, an area rich in history and culture. As a conference participant, you will visit the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center and experience the lighting of the ESP Conference Flame. During the special Life Members Tour, you will enrich your knowledge of the culture and history of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. While there, you will learn how one woman peacefully influenced integration in Colorado Springs. The tour continues to Monument Valley Park and the Van Briggle Pottery Company.

Another highlight of the conference are the concurrent sessions. One of the sessions is “Investigating the RE in REtirement”, being held on Wednesday, Session 3. During this session, you will learn from a Life Member the latest in retirement research and explore useful tools and resources for success.

Do you like sugar in your coffee? Then catch Wednesday’s five-minute Lightning Session to learn about the history and source of sugar in your coffee.

For more information about the conference speakers, additional tours, and registration, go to the Conference Home Page

And to get a head start on next year’s conference in Rochester, New York, circle the dates of October 5-8, 2020, on your calendar now.


International Items Needed for Global Relations Auction Basket

Christy Fitzpatrick, CSU Extension retired - Member, Global Relations Committee

The Global Relations Committee is preparing an “International Basket” for the Live Auction at the 2019 National ESP Conference in Colorado Springs and we need YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS to ensure its success! Auction proceeds support the ESP Endowment Fund that provides member scholarships and stipends.

Consider contributing an item from your travels or something purchased at a World Market or an online Fair Trade site. Things like table runners and place mats, wall hangings and art, carvings, baskets, cups, special foods all are good options, but please nothing too huge.

Wondering how to get your item to Colorado Springs? If you or someone from your chapter is attending the National Conference (and we really hope you are!), just bring your item with you and drop it off to me at the conference registration desk anytime on Monday. If you are not coming to the conference you can mail the item to me at this address:

Christy Fitzpatrick

ESP Global Relations

P.O. Box 616

Poncha Springs, CO 81242

Please send to arrive between Oct 1 and 10. Also note that I live in the middle of nowhere in the Rocky Mountains so packages can take up to 5 days to get here.

If you send a package, please send me a quick email at to let me know to keep an eye out for your contribution.

If you have any questions or need to send something outside those dates, please give me a call at 207-532-1739 and I will have some other options for you.

Thanks for your support of ESP’s Global Relations work!


2020 Membership Campaign Begins Soon

Greg Price, ESP National Office

October 1 starts the beginning of the 2020 ESP Membership Campaign. A few chapters may start a little earlier than this date and a few states have special processes to collect dues centrally such as payroll deduction. But for the vast majority of members, you will be receiving your 2020 ESP Dues Invoice in your email box on October 1, 2019.

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.

You will be able to pay your dues online with a credit card or by sending a check. The 2020 National Dues are $55. Chapter Dues are added to this amount and will be reflected in your invoice. 

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.  Your membership status is also 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.  If your status is Expired then we did not receive your 2019 dues this year. Expired Members will not automatically receive an invoice for 2020 on October 1.  If your status is Expired you should call or email the National Office for a membership invoice.  Please note that renewing members must have an active membership status for two consecutive years to be eligible for scholarships, grants and awards.


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

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