July 27, 2021
Retreat “WHY” Exercise
Last week the Extension Administration Team (EAT) held a retreat at the K-State Research and Extension Wyandotte County office. It was the first time EAT had met face-to-face since the spring of 2020. From that perspective, it felt like a family reunion.
During the second morning of the retreat, we invited our Wyandotte County colleagues to join us for our kick-off exercise. The kick-off exercise was for each person to write their “WHY” for extension on the whiteboard. Their responses are listed below. The first should look familiar to you, but I encourage you to read and think about the rest. All are gems.
“Helping people to improve their lives, livelihoods, and communities.”
“Help people to help themselves.”
“Bettering people to better communities.”
“Bridging theory and practice.”
“Science to practice.”
“Learning and sharing.”
“Bringing the university to the people.”
“Improving lives and communities.”
“Giving people confidence to make educated decisions.”
“Help people make better, smarter decisions.”
“Impact lives positively.”
“Making a difference for the better in my community.”
“Improving the quality of life.”
“Knowledge that impacts lives.”
“Bringing people to K-State.”
“Improving the wellbeing of low resource families in Wyandotte County.”
“To better serve the underserved in the community.”
“Promote lifelong learning: healthier lives.”
Understanding your “WHY” is important. It helps to focus us on the importance of our work. It keeps us from being distracted by the mundane tasks and other “tyrannies of the urgent.” It helps reaffirm the importance of our vision, mission, how we do things, and what we do to ourselves and better explains our role in society to the people we serve.
What is your “WHY” for extension? I encourage you to write it down, share it with your colleagues, and talk about it and their own versions of their “WHY” for extension. Better still, post your “WHY” on our Difference Makers Facebook page so your colleagues across the state can appreciate them, too.
By the way, when I first read the last “WHY” on the list above, “promote lifelong learning: healthier lives,” I read it as “promote lifelong learning: heal their lives,” which is pretty darn good and accurate, too!