65 Fun Ways to Celebrate the Centennial and Social Media Ideas

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65 Fun Ways to Celebrate the Centennial and Social Media Ideas

In 2014, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service. The primary focus of the centennial celebrations will be on contemporary efforts and MU Extension’s next 100 years of educational programming that improves the lives of individuals, families, youth, farmers, communities and businesses.

May 8 is the anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act, and there are national and state events planned for that day.

We need your help at the county level to show how extension was relevant in the past and how we can stay relevant over the next 100 years.

Here are 65 ideas to help you organize centennial celebrations in your county and raise awareness of the centennial in your programs:

  1. Add the 100th anniversary logo to websites, social media, email, brochures, newsletters, etc. The logos are available at http://extension.missouri.edu/staff/communications/100.aspx

  2. Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. A sample letter is available in the toolkit.

  3. Interview a local farmer about their farm, what they grow and how extension has helped them. Publish in local newspaper or post on social media.

  4. Create a short video for YouTube or your website, Facebook, blog, or social media. Ask local residents what they love about extension, and what they want from extension.

  5. Think about the major contributions that extension has made in your program area. Write an article or press release about what the world would be like without Extension. Work with your local media outlets to feature at least one of these stories.

  6. Host a 4-H camp alumni reunion for your county or district.

  7. List 100 things that extension has brought to the people of Missouri (products, technology, practices, etc.). Post on your website, Facebook, blog, etc.

  8. Set up an extension table at local farmers markets with giveaways and information about the centennial celebration.

  9. Food truck event with a theme of supporting local farmers.

  10. Movie night: Project a movie outside on a barn showing a fun film related to agriculture or other extension work in your area.

  11. Oral history project: Counties can write an article about extension comparing how it used to be with how it is now. Consider interviewing retired and current agents and include historical photos in the article. Share video clips on the web and with social media.

  12. Flyers/bulletin board: Increase awareness of the centennial by creating flyers about extension’s history in your county. Collect old and current photos of extension events and activities, and create a bulletin board display for the lobby of your office, featuring extension then and now.

  13. MU Extension hall of fame: Highlight the accomplishments of past agents and county community members.

  14. County extension timeline: Significant events from extension programs over past 100 years with photos. Events that influenced agriculture, community development, nutrition, etc. Present these events on a timeline and display it at local libraries, schools or community centers.

  15. Select a program that your county faculty are already planning on doing (preferably with a large projected attendance) and make that event your signature Extension Centennial Celebration Event. Have a birthday cake, hand out promotional items and include a short presentation about the history of extension and why we are celebrating. Invite stakeholders to attend the meeting.

  16. Dig up local then-and-now factoids to feature in communications with the press and on your social media. Post these stories or short blurbs every Friday for “flashback Friday.”

  17. Stage centennial presentations for extension committees and county boards.

  18. Ask advisory members and local advocates to communicate with state legislators in your county or district about centennial events.

  19. Invite state legislators to centennial events. Get pictures with them at these events and share on websites, in newsletters, etc.

  20. Work with your local chamber of commerce to host a meeting or speak at one of their meetings to talk about the effects extension has had on your county’s industry and economy.

  21. Hold a scrapbook contest or photo memory page as part of your centennial celebration, or a special contest for your local fair.

  22. Hold an “Oldest Living 4-H Alumni” or “Oldest Living Retired Extension Agent” contest in your county.

  23. Honor current extension volunteers, 4-H leaders, Master Gardners, Master Naturalists, program assistants who have the most continuous years of service. National Volunteer Appreciation Week is April 6-13 this year.

  24. Recognize the oldest 4-H or HCE club in the county. Organize a reunion for all the members of the club with a simple punch and cookies reception.

  25. Plant trees in honor of the Smith-Lever Act centennial.

  26. Display a sign or banner at your town’s entrance or other highly visible area to let people know extension is 100 years old.

  27. Have an ice cream social at the local courthouse and invite the county to celebrate extension’s 100th birthday.

  28. Develop weekly “100 seconds of 100 years of extension” radio spots for your local station.

  29. Host an old-fashioned Extension Field Day.

  30. Consider sponsoring an extension scavenger hunt through the barns and buildings during the local county fair. Activity or information stations can be set up around the buildings and fairgrounds. When they have competed the treasure hunt, participants could turn in their maps or answers for prizes.

  31. Have your advisory committees create a list of 100 ways extension has positively influenced lives.

  32. Challenge volunteers to give 100 hours of service to community to celebrate the 100 years of extension.

  33. Honor families with two or more generations who have been active in 4-H or extension.

  34. Place a geocache with Smith-Lever Act anniversary items or bury a time capsule in your county.

  35. Give out items with the extension anniversary logo to advocates and stakeholders and ask them to share with others about extension’s rich history.

  36. Create an “advocacy card” — a business-card-size handout with three simple facts about how extension has affected your county in a positive way on one side, and the extension anniversary logo and your office contact info on the other side. Advocates can use these cards when meeting with stakeholders, promoting your programs or recruiting volunteers.

  37. Host a contest for high school students to create a short video about the past, present and future of extension and 4-H.

  38. Host an essay contest for middle or high school youth about what life will be like 100 years from today and how extension can help solve future problems.

  39. When staging educational programs and field days, begin with information on how extension use to deliver programs and then show how technology has changed how extension provides information currently.

  40. Ask clientele to donate $100 to extension in honor of the centennial. Use the funds to establish a new annual award to honor an outstanding farmer, volunteer or youth.

  41. Create a time capsule. Include information about the history of extension in your county, as well as predictions for extension over the next 100 years.

  42. Create a living history exhibit to demonstrate home and farm practices of the past, such as canning or constructing an iceless refrigerator.

  43. Perform a skit or short play depicting a scene from local, state or national extension history.

  44. Plant a centennial garden.

  45. Create a centennial Christmas tree with 1913-era decorations.

  46. Host a centennial tea party with authentic snacks and stories from the past.

  47. Create a centennial calendar and plan one activity each month that celebrates the 100 years of extension.

  48. Partner with local museums to create a centennial display.

  49. Host a centennial booth at local farmers markets.

  50. Create a centennial scrapbook.

  51. Sponsor a membership drive to ensure extension’s existence in the next 100 years.

  52. Rent a billboard to advertise extension’s 100th birthday.

  53. Create a digital slideshow to illustrate extension’s history and effects on the county.

  54. Sponsor a centennial float in local parades and invite alumni to ride.

  55. Encourage a day of service for all extension volunteers in honor of the 100th anniversary.

  56. Find local people with a history of working with cooperative extension and see if the newspaper is willing to do a feature story about through the years.

  57. Invite extension alumni to speak at open houses, field days, etc.

  58. Share extension trivia at the start of each major event. Provide fun prizes.

  59. Encourage 4-H’ers to save 100 pennies per month for the county charity.

  60. Add a centennial message to staff email signatures.

  61. Work with local newspapers to showcase a historic photo of the week featuring extension staff at work.

  62. Include centennial information and fun facts in newsletters, on county websites and on social media.

  63. Have a gala event to celebrate the centennial. Invite key supporters, staff, alumni, and current and former volunteers.

  64. Honor “Friends of Extension” at a reception.

  65. Raise funds for a county endowment with $100 scholarships.

Social media notes:

The Smith-Lever Act anniversary is a great opportunity to tell Extension’s story and raise awareness about how extension improves the lives of millions of Missourians.

Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram can be powerful tools to help spread the word about the past, present and future of extension.

Facebook and Twitter cover graphics

  1. Use a Centennial Celebration banner template on your Facebook or Twitter pages. A social media cover photo is available in the Extension Centennial toolkit located here: http://extension.missouri.edu/staff/communications/100.aspx

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