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Posts Tagged ‘exercising your brain’

centennial-logo-smith-leverWhen I started my “second career” as an Extension Educator I knew there were things I “knew” and things I did not “know” regarding Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS).  One learns that with age comes the reality that you don’t know everything nor do you need to – that’s why we have experts in their fields.  As a FCS Educator I knew there was one area that I lacked knowledge in but was to be a good part of the position in my county – Food Preservation.  Okay, growing up my mother was known to can food from time to time but I really do not recall much about it.  So when I was preparing to interview for the position I asked my mother if she could share with me what she knew about canning.  Her response “What kind of job teaches canning?”  Thank you mom!

Well, Extension and the position of a FCS Educator do teach about food preservation.  I was worried that people would call with food preservation questions and I could not provide them with a timely answer (let’s face it – people often call when they are in the middle of canning).  Or worse – look incompetent!

 So I, along with fellow FCS Educators who knew little about pressure and water bath canning (and uncertain whether or not we wanted to learn), set about increasing my canning knowledge.  At times I read science-based information and recipes, went to pressure and water bath canning in-services taught by OSU Extension Food Preservation Team, I asked questions, and did some practicing.  When I had food presnew-educator-canning-class-2016ervation classes I would bring along an OSU Extension Food Preservation “guru” when possible (after all my county deserves the best).  But what actually happened is that people from my county and surrounding counties contacted me again and again and again and I became immersed in food preservation.  Much of the time I told them I needed to consult the “Food Preservation Gurus” and get back with them.  Then, guess what?  I learned more and more, year after year.

Three years later I feel confident and capable to share the knowledge I have gained in food preservation with consumers who call needing information.  In fact, I now look forward to these food preservation questions.  With each call I no longer tremble and hide under my desk but instead say “bring it on” and “I can assist you!”

As humans we are lifelong learners which in part make our lives meaningful.  New brain cells can grow even in late adulthood and exercising your brain with new challenges will help to keep it healthy.  This can be done through a traditional academic course, by learning a new skill or improving on current ones.  If you would like to learn in a non-formal setting connect with Cooperative Extension.   There is an Extension office in every county in the United States that provides university-based research and learning opportunities to the peopleSo not only do I enjoy a position in which I get to share knowledge with people, families, and communities through Extension…I get to learn along with everyone else.  So check back with me in a few years because you might find I have been invited to join the OSU Extension Food Preservation Team as a “guru.”

 

WRITTEN BY: Candace J. Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, heer.7@osu.edu

REVIEWED BY:  Kate Shumaker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Holmes County, shumaker.68@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/learn-something-new-every-day.html

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/learning-new-skill-can-slow-cognitive-aging-201604279502

https://livesmartohio.osu.edu/food/extensionauthors/celebrating-a-century-of-lifelong-learning-for-families-consumers/

https://nifa.usda.gov/partners-and-extension-map?state=All&type=All&order=field_filter&sort=desc

https://nifa.usda.gov/extension

Photo Sources:

http://www.extension100years.net/

OSU Extension New Educator Canning Class – 2016

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