By: Taylor Demski
Students enrolled in ALED 344, Leadership of Volunteers, and ALED 439, Agricultural Extension Philosophy and the Land-Grant Mission, applied their classroom knowledge in a real world environment when they participated in group learning at the Madison County Extension Office on July 13, 2012.
Senior Lecturer and Academic Advisor, Landry Lockett, Ed.D., teaches both courses and brought students to Madisonville, Texas, to serve the community while obtaining firsthand group volunteering experience. The extension office sponsors Fun Friday, a program that incorporates children from the community who come from low income families to be a part of 4-H programs. By participating in this program, these children are able to learn about leadership, citizenship and life skills.
Around 60 Aggies volunteered and accomplished a variety of tasks. Some students taught lessons on personal safety while others read a story and worked with the kids to complete an activity that fostered individuality. Several volunteers helped build an arbor in the office’s garden, while a handful of others labored in flower beds and vegetable gardens, weeding and planting.
The group consisted of several Aggie athletes, including university studies-leadership major Ryan Swope, a senior wide receiver, who passed the football around with kids while on breaks from volunteering. “They didn’t know who he was and I said ‘He’s on the A&M team and you’ll hear his name on TV’ they got so excited and he did a great job of making them feel special,” Lockett says.
Senior agricultural leadership and development major Jason Haas says, “Whenever you get a group of people together it’s easier to accomplish larger tasks. You learn about the volunteering experience in the classroom and then get to go on the field trips to apply it to real time and apply everything you’ve learned.”
This was a unique opportunity for Aggies to step out of the classroom and into the community to serve others. “It made me happy to see all these students go out and experience the things we learn and have conversations about in the classroom,” Lockett says. “On top of that, the experience was one in which there was fun involved, bonding between the students and then the fact that we had instant results. We left there knowing we had made a positive impact.”