On Tuesday this week I had the opportunity to share the 4-H Thriving Model with our 4-H educators in Nebraska via a Zoom webinar. I have been teaching via webinars for quite some time now, and over the years I have worked out most of the basic kinks. I have also developed loads of strategies for handling all the technological curveballs that invariably happen when trying to teach from a distance. At this point I feel pretty comfortable with all that. What I remain very much uncomfortable with is the feeling that I am talking to a blank wall. Continue reading

On the Process of Thriving

Most of my serious writing is done in my branch office at Starbucks; I find the steady drum of conversation and the occasional hiss of an espresso machine to be just the right background noise for transferring my thoughts to paper. Most of my serious thinking, however, is done in my mobile office, on the back of my horse where my mind is calm and clarity and connections come more easily. We just had one of those glorious autumn weekends in Oregon, with cool nights and sunny warm days- perfect for a lot of riding and a lot of thinking.

I especially welcomed the chance to be outside after spending seven full days in Ohio at the NAE4-HA conference. While this conference is always busy, I found it especially so this year as considerable buzz about the 4-H Thriving Model begins to makes its way around the Continue reading

Not sunflowers trying to thrive in the Ohio autumn heat.

On Creating a Place to Thrive

As I write this I am at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) conference in Columbus, Ohio. The day outside is hot and humid, very different from the cool rainy weather that I left last Friday in Oregon. Right before I left I was tending my garden, getting it ready for winter, and I was struck by the beauty of the now-drooping sunflowers I worked so hard to grow. Continue reading

On the Power of Prediction

When everything goes right, I can make it from my home to my office in about 15 minutes. Over the years I have learned the best way to make this happen, and if I do what I know works, I can be certain to find a spot in my favorite parking lot near my campus building. I know, for example, that I have to leave at a certain time to be behind the bulk of the traffic heading west on highway 20, and I have to hit a sweet spot between numerous school buses (with numerous stops each), and perhaps most importantly, I have to time things right so I am not driving up Monroe street right as all the university students are making their way to their first class. Continue reading