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The State of the Speakers’ Bureau Beginning 2023

After Covid and being locked out of the OSU campus and the shutdown of most other places for many months, the JCMGA Speakers’ Bureau is working to rebuild.  We lost several speakers for various reasons and decided that they needed to step back. We greatly appreciate their past service, excellent performance, and support. If at some point they ever feel like they would like to return, they would be warmly welcomed.

I think the saddest thing about the loss of these speakers is that in some cases the JCMGA lost the knowledge that these individuals possess. We did not have a format where we captured their presentations.  I have talked to a couple who left for health reasons, and we have tried to figure out a way to get their knowledge transferred to someone else who might want to take up where they left off. But so far, we have not found anyone who might want to do that or a way to get this information back. If we have someone who would want to work with them to make a presentation and learn while doing it, please let me know. It would accomplish a couple of organizational goals by helping to revitalize the JCMGA Speakers’ Bureau, provide a learning experience and gaining knowledge.  The participating individual would accumulate recertification hours for time spent on this project. This effort would help to regain lost knowledge and build the JCMGA Speakers’ Bureau offerings. More offerings increase the ability of the JCMGA to accomplish our mission of education out in the community. I am not suggesting it would be an easy task but a very rewarding one.

Once Covid released its grip on us, we had 4-veteran speakers (very hardy souls and dedicated to JCMGA’s Mission) who soldered on and kept the JCMGA Speakers’ Bureau on life support. We are so grateful for their effort to keep the Speakers’ Bureau alive and moving forward. They know who they are, and I thank them with all my heart. We have also had at least four more who have come back and have expanded our offerings by two or three new presentations each. Our presentation inventory is expanding. We still have several gaps in our offering, but slowly we are building back and hoping to add more presentations during 2023 by reaching out to other organizations who might be interested in the programming we have to offer. Any Ideas that you have about groups who might be interested in what we do please let me know.

Also, our JCMGA Speakers’ Bureau webpage is grossly out of date and the plan to update it is in the works for this winter.  Ronnie Burge and I have reviewed it and will make a final plan when we can go over our plan later this winter.

The JCMGA Speakers’ Bureau did help to get the word out in 2022 and continue JCMGA’s mission of educating. We had 9 presentations, reestablished relationships with the Medford Library with booked three- series for the 2023 winter.  A fall series as well as a winter series for 2023 are in the works.  In addition to the Medford Library we booked three presentations with Jacksonville Garden Club, from which we received a wonderful letter about Susan’s excellent presentations on soils.  I hope to start inviting regional garden clubs to visit our beautiful Demonstration Gardens at the Extension in late Spring through early fall this year. More information will be forthcoming in future Beet Articles on this outreach effort.

The good news is we just added another Speaker in the last couple of weeks.  I am grateful to Bonni Engelhardt who has agreed to be one of our speakers and will put us in her very busy schedule as time permits.  She brings some excellent expertise with a list of presentations what will expand our offerings. She is an excellent presenter, enthusiastic about her subject and makes the time spent with her fun and well as informative.  I welcome Bonni and look forward to working with her.