Hi, I’m Molly Taylor, and I’m finishing up my last two weeks as an Extension intern in Hood River and Wasco counties, working in the Family and Community Health Program. Over the course of my internship, I’ve had many opportunities that have helped me develop skills for my future career, no matter what path I decide to take.  

A woman in a black Food Hero apron stands at a table filled with trail mix ingredients.
Molly Taylor providing DIY trail mix at a day camp in Hood River.

Some of my favorite experiences have been assisting and carrying out a 4-H cooking camp – where I got to do food demonstrations and teach kitchen skills and safety – providing snacks for local day camps and putting together recipe books for the SNAP-Ed program using Food Hero recipes. Throughout all of these experiences I’ve been able to build communication and teaching skills, planning strategies, and problem-solving methods that will benefit me in my future endeavors. 

Over the summer, I’ve enjoyed working with different programs like Family and Community Health, 4-H and Open Campus/Juntos. I’ve been able to see all that Extension does in the community and how it truly makes a difference by getting people involved and excited about learning how to better themselves and the area they live in. Throughout all of these programs, I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot with kids and it’s been especially fun to see their excitement to learn and to then take their new knowledge home to their families. This showed that not only do Extension teaching programs support adults who are trying to make a difference, but also has that impact on younger generations which makes a lasting difference.  

With my internship coming to a close, for the last two weeks I will be finishing up the recipe books that will be handed out at local schools in the fall by the SNAP-Ed program in Wasco County and potentially doing something at the Wasco County Fair. I look forward to taking all the things I’ve learned from Extension and applying them to the rest of my schooling and future jobs and leave having an extra appreciation for the work and impact that Extension has on communities like mine.  

Hi, my name is Anahi (she/her/hers) and I am working for OSU Extension in Washington County this summer. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be heading back to college to start my sophomore year. I feel nostalgic for my time working with the team in the Washington County Extension Office, as time has flown by. Every event I attended provided me with new learning opportunities, from the work of our community leaders to the curiosity of the youth I mentored.  

I could not have asked for a better team, one full of compassionate and dedicated individuals who work to have an impact on the people in the county. As I reflect on my final weeks, I can only acknowledge how fortunate I was to have the privilege of joining the team.   As an Extension intern, I had the opportunity to be part of various community events. I was at free lunch sites throughout summer with a community organization, Operation H.O.P.E., to hand out science-activity bags. My days were filled with joy when I would softly hear “thank you” from every kid while they hurried to open up those bags.  

Brown gift bags with papers inside that say Bees of Oregon
Science activity bags ready for Operation H.O.P.E.

On the days I spent with the 4-H Youth Environmental Educators (YEE)  I mostly sat back and observed their work to learn as much as I could from them, their maturity, and their commitment to their projects. I would like to give a special thank you to the YEEs! All 10 kids brought fun to everything we did and being there to assist their adventures was a privilege. To have been part of their impact at Blue Lake Regional Park in Fairview and their community garden is beyond rewarding. Their dedication is something I will always admire. I spent days at the park with them and supported their planning days, learning and being mesmerized by their passion for everything they did.  

I also worked with Juntos, an Extension Open Campus program that quickly became incredibly significant to me. Juntos allowed me to share my experiences as a first-generation Latina student in a foreign country. I saw myself in every student I met, and I felt my family’s presence through every parent attending the meetings. Not only did I have the gift to share my story in order to inspire, but I did so alongside a hardworking leader and role model, my internship supervisor Ezequiel Lopez-Reyes. I can only hope that this summer is just the beginning of my time with Juntos. 

Extension expanded my passion for serving the community. It has been an experience that taught me the importance of curiosity, how much knowledge you can be gifted with by serving others, and that the resources available to us can always be shared to uplift others. To OSU Extension, thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to read about my personal Extension internship experience.

Hi, I am Perla Gutierrez, and I am on my last two weeks of my summer internship in Tillamook County. I have been a part of a lot of different projects with Open Campus/Juntos throughout this summer, including June Dairy Parade, Family Nights and Juntos Afuera. The whole summer I was working closely with high school Spanish-speaking students and their families, providing a safe environment with activities across Tillamook County.  

Perla Gutierrez (standing) leads an activity with students.

 The Juntos Afuera summer program for high school students included teaching them how to garden, go hiking on several trails, exploring sea life, learning about ancient plants, and kayaking, which was all the students’ favorite, including mine. Each week was focused on something different so I had a different activity that I had to lead, including painting, nature journaling and games to get to know everyone. On the days in which there was no camp, I was preparing for the following week with all the activities and creating the lesson plan for how the day would go. Sometimes that included buying some things at the store to be ready or planning our lesson plans several times until they were perfect. While leading each day in camp I got to know each student and create a bond with all of them.  

We also created events for the whole family to enjoy a day of learning and having fun with other families in the county. One was at Hydrangea Ranch in Tillamook County, where everyone was welcome. We had live music, food, games and some activities involving what we have done in Juntos Afuera this summer. In about a week, we have our second Family Day on the beach. There will be live music and entertainment, with the main event being an Ocean Blessing Ceremony. The planning behind each Family Night/Day is hard because we try to provide helpful resources for the families but also have to accommodate everyone involved in these events. We are about a week away from our event and we are still figuring out some logistics for this day to be perfect. Family Nights are created to show families that there are resources and people that want to help each student reach their goals, and that they can still celebrate and be proud of their culture. 

A group of 13 people hold potted plants
Showing off healthy plants and decorated pots at Juntos Afuera.

With my internship coming to an end, I have my final projects I am helping with, one of those is a STEM Camp. This camp is for incoming eighth-graders, in which will be working in an area I am not familiar with so it will be a learning experience. This internship has been an amazing and challenging opportunity, working with students close to my age, learning how to create a fun environment for them but also remember what we want them to get out of the whole program. I know I have had to think about certain topics in a different mindset which I know will influence my decisions in the future and I am grateful for everything this experience has taught me.

 

Perla Gutierrez

Hello! I am Perla Gutierrez and I am so excited to have this opportunity for the summer. I just finished my first year at University of Idaho, but I am originally from Tillamook County where I am interning this summer. I am a first-generation Latina college student, so getting this internship with Nat Macías, Open Campus and Juntos coordinator, is a huge opportunity for me to help me achieve my goals. I am working with the Juntos Afuera program this summer. I started participating in the Juntos program when I was in the sixth grade, and now I am back as a student leader.

I am almost halfway through the internship, and my main project has been planning and leading activities in Juntos Afuera. Juntos Afuera is an outdoor program for Spanish-speaking high school students to learn about and celebrate Latinx culture, while providing leadership development skills that grow an active group of Latinx explorers and stewards. The program starts by participating in the June Dairy parade. This was the second year we participated. Last year I was a student and this year I got to see a different perspective as a leader. It was strange because there is so much hard work put into one single event that I did not see as a student.

Juntos Afuera participated in the 2022 June Dairy Parade in Tillamook.

At the same time, we were doing the last small details for the summer program. There were a lot of challenges where we had to come up with a quick solution and make it happen in time. That showed me the stressful side of leading a program but then seeing the final results and seeing how the students react makes it all worth it.

Within this program, high school students get a chance to do outdoor activities. So far, we have been planting in school gardens, going on hikes around the county, and next we will be kayaking. It has been so much fun, and I am getting to know new places and new experiences.

I have also been able to know what happens behind closed doors … having all the permits, food, transportation, and so much more. I am majoring in interior architecture so a lot of what I am doing does not specifically relate to my major, but I am learning a lot of life skills. In this internship my main responsibilities are leading activities throughout the week such as nature journaling, taking pictures and videos and composing social media posts, and keeping all registration forms up to date. I have also had the opportunity to do things like writing a set of interview questions we will ask students when we film them or deciding the best art supplies that will help them be successful throughout the summer. I am sure there will be more surprises as the summer continues to unfold.

So far, I have had amazing time and am excited for the rest of summer.

Hi again! As my summer internship at the OSU Extension office in Tillamook County comes to an end, I’ve had time to learn and grow. Getting to experience a job working for Extension has shown me how broad the areas that Extension covers are. Working to serve the community also taught me different skills and helped me meet my summer learning objectives. 

My two biggest objectives were to improve my communication skills and increase my career awareness. With the different assignments I had – writing social media blurbs, sending emails, speaking with families at community events, and leading activities for the Juntos Afuera camp – I have been able to improve my communication skills in multiple ways. By observing different members of the office and meeting health workers in the community I was also able to get career awareness and learn the importance of the roles in extension.  

Kilchis Point Reserve in Tillamook County. Photo by Crystal Hernandez.
Kilchis Point Reserve in Tillamook County. Photo by Crystal Hernandez.

A different skill that I wasn’t expecting to learn was the ability to adapt. Having so many factors that could change made it important to be flexible in order to get tasks done. During my internship, this came into play with our second planned family night for Juntos Afuera. It was created with the help of the Tillamook County Community Health Center to create a space where Spanish-speaking families could come together to enjoy food and music with the option to get a COVID-19 vaccine. With cases rising due to the delta variant, the event had to be changed to a drive-through where families still got to enjoy food, music and have the opportunity to get vaccinated from the comfort of their cars. We decided to adapt instead of canceling because providing families with information and vaccines is important. 

Extension serves its community and this internship taught me the value of connecting with people. The events that were created were possible because of the collective help of multiple people, not just the work of one.  

 

Hueca Omeyocan, a group that performs traditional Aztec dances.
Hueca Omeyocan, a group that performs traditional Aztec dances.

Hi there, Crystal Hernandez here with an update from the Tillamook County Extension office. As I progress further into my summer internship, I’ve had an eventful first seven weeks. With Juntos Afuera, family nights, and my career exploration opportunities I have been able to see just how much Extension impacts our community.  

Extension seeks to inform, educate and connect individuals, and that is exactly what I have been able to do as a part of Juntos. We started the Juntos program this summer with Juntos Afuera, a camp that introduces Latinx high school students to recreational activities and informs them about the Latinx culture. So far, we have been kayaking and bird-watching, and we were part of the annual Tillamook County June Dairy Parade the first week of my internship. Apart from that we also had our first in-person family night at Hydrangea Ranch where Hueca Omeyocan, a group that performs traditional Aztec dances taught the families the historical importance that these dances hold in their culture. During this family night I was also able to speak with different families where they shared their interest in the Juntos program.  

Crystal Hernandez shows Juntos Afuera campers how to make a nutritional trail mix.
Crystal Hernandez shows Juntos Afuera campers how to make a nutritional trail mix.

During Juntos Afuera I’ve had a leading role where I taught the campers about xempasuchil flowers, Aztec deities and got to explore my interest in health by introducing them to a first aid and showing them how to make a nutritional trail mix. Leading these activities was a challenge but as I kept doing them, I slowly got more comfortable speaking to the group of campers and noticed how they are all slowly opening up to each other as well. 

I was once a member of Juntos but now that I am at the other side of it, I get to see how much effort and logistics an event like family night requires. Having to look for food, location, entertainment, preparing decorations and advertising is not as easy as it sounds. Making all of the pieces come together has required organizational skills and communication between everyone in the team. 

Part of my internship also gave me the opportunity to explore different careers in the health field. I was able to interview different people in the health field that have been helpful as I get closer to my start date at OSU.  

As I am quickly getting through my summer internship, I am looking forward to the next family night that is currently being planned and getting to help the campers with their Latinx identity projects that they will present to the Tillamook County Commissioners.  

Hello! 

My name is Crystal Hernandez, and I am a student intern for the OSU Extension office in Tillamook County. I am from Tillamook, where I spend my free time jogging around town, playing soccer, or getting ready for college. I recently graduated from Tillamook High School and will be enrolled in both Oregon State University and Linn-Benton Community College this fall. I am undecided as to what I want to pursue but I have always been interested in the medical field.  

I love spending time with my family but getting our schedules to line up has become a challenge because of our jobs. My parents have taught me the value of working for what you have and are a great example of it by working long hours, five to six days a week. Seeing how they work to provide a better opportunity for my brother and I has made me appreciate the position that I am in and motivated me to work harder.  

I am excited for this internship position especially because OSU Extension Service has already had an impact in my life. I was part of the Juntos program in sixth grade, and my brother was in high school, when my parents were able to become informed about the process of going to a university. I remember visiting the OSU campus in Corvallis where I got to learn about student life and thought about how far away I was from the day I’d go to college. I then joined Juntos once again my senior year of high school and was able to fully grasp the purpose of the club. Our main focus was our identity project that we then presented to the Tillamook County commissioners. I thought about what being Latina meant to me for the first time and continued to learn about my culture. 

Now as an intern I get to work under the supervision of Megan Deane McKenna, Dusti Linnell, and work closely with Juntos coordinator Natalie Macias. I will help prepare for the Juntos Afuera camp and plan family nights for Spanish speakers in the county. I will lead activities in the camp as well as create social media posts. During my internship I will also explore different career opportunities and join Dusti in health-related meetings. I am excited to learn how extension has impacted our communities and have the opportunity to plan activities in the Juntos Afuera camp.