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Douglas County

K-State Research and Extension Douglas County 
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Lawrence KS 66046

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Change is Afoot

by: Marlin Bates, 
County Extension Director/Agent,
Community Development

Change spelt out by beige blocks and the "G" in the word is transitioning to a "C". This image alludes to the fact that change can also a chance

The closing of the calendar year 2021 is adding up to more than the closing of a chapter here at K-State Research and Extension – Douglas County. We’re experiencing a great deal of change – some of it predicted, some of it not. Regardless of these changes, our staff and board are optimistic about our future and proud of our accomplishments. So as we approach our 2021 Annual Meeting, we are reflecting on our successes, thanking our volunteers and partners for helping us throughout the year, and recognizing that there is much yet to tend to. We are in the middle of a strategic planning process that will provide new energy for 2022 and allow for a greater level of creativity in how we achieve our mission.

As many of you know, Susan Farley recently announced her retirement effective January 31, 2022. We are fortunate to have had Susan lead the Family and Consumer Science program here in Douglas County. Her relentless pursuit of our mission through her innovative work has long inspired her colleagues and partners throughout the county. If you have not already, please extend your appreciation for Susan over the next couple of months before she sets her sights on life after a long and successful career.

Since her announcement, much has been discussed about how we will go about attempting to fill her role. I’m happy to let you know that at their regular board meeting in November, the Douglas County Extension Council Executive Board decided to officially extend an invitation to Kaitlyn Peine, our current 4-H Youth Development Agent, to serve as our Community Health and Wellness Agent. Kaitlyn has accepted this invitation and is excited to move into this new role and the important work that our community needs in this arena. Kaitlyn has also agreed to continue to ensure that elements of the 4-H Youth Development program are upheld and supported until a new 4-H Youth Development Agent can be identified and seated. Please help me in welcoming Kaitlyn to her new role as she works through this transition.

Also in November, Tom Buller announced that he would be leaving as our Horticulture Agent to become the new Executive Director of the Kansas Rural Center. Certainly, we’re proud of Tom and excited to see his leadership in this statewide organization, but we’re also saddened by his departure. Tom has been with us for four and a half years. In that time, he has excelled in his work throughout Douglas County, across NE Kansas, and at the state level. We have been blessed with Tom’s ability to tackle new projects, develop partnerships, and secure external support. Please join me in wishing Tom well on his next chapter.

These things in addition to the already vacant Agriculture Agent position add up to a great deal of change for us at the Extension Office. We’re working with our partners on campus to release these positions in a strategic, but urgent manner. In short, our Agriculture Agent and Horticulture Agent positions are open now and we’ll be opening our 4-H Youth Development Agent position soon. Please consider assisting us in finding quality candidates for these positions so that the next chapter of our story is compelling and must-read!