RIO GRANDE COUNTY — For the past month, Rio Grande County commissioners have been working with Larry Brown, the SLV Area Extension Director, to hire a new San Luis Valley Area Extension Program Coordinator for Rio Grande County to help with the 4-H program. According to Brown, the SLV Extension has been severely understaffed for several years and with the growth of the 4-H program, he proposed the new position.
In a meeting of the board on July 28, Brown introduced the idea to the Rio Grande County Commissioners and asked they consider funding the new position.
“Colorado State University, SLV Area Extension stands for the belief that any person, at any stage of life, who will continue to engage in the learning process, dramatically improves their chances of living a healthier, happier, more prosperous and more generous life. Everything we do fosters healthy youth and families, prosperous businesses, farms and ranches and strong, resilient, proud communities,” Brown said.
Brown explained further, “4-H, Extension’s flagship youth development organization, already has a multitude of existing programs which provide extraordinary opportunities for youth to learn life skills, leadership skills, socialization skills, and community contribution. The 4-H model incorporates two fundamental beliefs: First, the belief in the power of youth to be partners in developing their own potential and their own success; Secondly, the belief in mentoring youth as they develop by surrounding them with exceptional people, competent, well-prepared Extension staff and community volunteers.”
During the meeting on Aug. 25, Brown returned to clarify that should the county choose to fund this position, it would strictly be a person that served youth within the county. Brown recently gained approval for another similar position in Mineral County and shared this with the Rio Grande County Commissioners.
“If you fund this position, it will be strictly a Rio Grande County para-professional. All of the other counties have the same option to hire a program coordinator just like you and Mineral County has opted in at this point. I felt like you needed further explanation beyond what I provided you with on July 28,” Brown said.
The position would be part-time and would be funded on a short-term basis as a pilot program. Brown stated that for Rio Grande County he estimated the position to be for 20 to 40 hours a month and that he felt he would find someone with no problem.
“We only got one applicant for Mineral County, but we were blown away with her credentials. I think there are several people out there that want to give back and are not looking for anything full-time,” Brown said.
Commissioners agreed to a 30-hour position for three years.