PILD Conference Recap

Debby Mathews (AL), VP for Public Affairs

With 50 NEAFCS members registered for PILD, we edged out all the other associations for most members present for the 2013 JCEP Public issues Leadership Development Conference. Kudos to NEAFCS! Of those present, eighteen were NEAFCS scholarship recipients. As a scholarship requirement, these members have written brief reports about their PILD experience. You may read the reports in their entirety on our website under the Public Affairs tab.

Here are some excerpts from the PILD “paragraphs”:

      “I have worked in Extension for 15 years, but had never really(before PILD) thought about how important it was to let our elected officials know what we do in Extension daily, and how we should thank them often for all the support…”

      One of our speakers, Laura Kalambokidis, “helped me to understand the public value of what we do. We KNOW that we are making an impact on the lives of those who participate in our programs. Our programs also have value to those who do not directly benefit”…Extension programs can foster changes that lead to  improved water quality, reduced public health costs, lower crime rates….”Being able to talk about the public value of our programs is most important when interpreting our programs to stakeholders  and funders.”

      “The idea of looking at Cooperative Extension programs as a proactive approach in reducing spending elsewhere is exciting.”

      “We need to show impact, not just numbers. It is important to have a ‘what happened because I attended an Extension event’ story…it needs to be a true story told in detail.”

      “I am looking forward to the Galaxy Conference in September to continue conversations with my colleagues catalyzed by PILD.”

These are insightful comments by NEAFCS members who were provoked through the PILD conference to think deeply about the value of our work. That value is great, but it must be voiced. Please take time to read all the PILD paragraphs by our colleagues. You’ll be glad you did! Perhaps they will help you find “your voice”.

My special thanks to all 39 NEAFCS members at our association meeting at PILD for engaging in the process of examining our 2013 Impact reports. Input from all these members greatly strengthened the reports which will be posted to our website soon.

After all that intense work during our meeting we adjourned to enjoy an evening on the town in Washington where we were thrilled to see Hello Dolly at Ford’s Theater. Seeing the costumes alone was worth the price of admission! Thanks to our management company, The Association Source, we had second and third row seats which made close examination of costumes possible. Great job, TAS!