RAISING EXTENSION AWARENESS VIA MEET AND GREET OPEN HOUSE
J.E. Davis, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County, Bushnell, Florida, K. Taylor, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County, Bushnell, N. Samuel, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County, Bushnell, M. Smith, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County, Bushnell, L. Duncan, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County, Bushnell, L. Sanderson, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County, Bushnell
Situation: Extension is always called the “Best Kept Secret.” The objective of the Meet and Greet Open House was to introduce new members of the community to Extension services and to introduce those familiar with Extension to new programming that they may not be aware of in a non-formal social atmosphere.
Methods: This event was advertised via local news media, newsletters, and social media. We also promoted the event using flyers distributed at Farm City and other Extension events. The entire faculty and staff were involved with creating interactive displays for clientele. Program areas involved Natural Resources, Sustainable Agriculture/Food Systems, Master Gardener, Horticulture, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, Family and Consumer Sciences, and 4-H Youth Development. Faculty also utilized several hands-on exhibits.
Results: 19 participants completed a survey. After attending our Meet and Greet Open House, 74% (n=19) stated that this was their first experience with UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County.74% (n=19) stated that they have used Extension services outside of Florida. 74% (n=19) stated that were not aware of all the Extension programs in the County. 100% (n=19) stated that they will use one or more Extension services. 84% (n=19) stated that they have become aware of three or more Extension services.
Conclusion: Extension Meet and Greet Open House offers a unique opportunity to reach new clientele and introduce familiar clientele with new programing that they are not familiar with. The event was successful as evidenced by the survey results, positive media coverage, and one State Senator in attendance.