Staffing changes at UW Extension, Lincoln County
The University of Wisconsin Extension, Lincoln County educator staffing has recently undergone some changes. As always, local educators will continue to address the needs of Lincoln County communities. These changes will help improve the ability of the Extension office to design and conduct programs, often in partnership with local organizations, that enhance residents’ lives.
As part of these changes, Extension is pleased to announce that Holly Luerssen joined the staff as the new half-time 4-H Program Coordinator beginning Sept. 1. Holly also serves Langlade County in the same capacity.
With nearly 400 4-H youth and 160 4-H adult volunteers, the Lincoln County 4-H program continues to flourish. Holly will be helping to maintain and develop 4-H programs in for instance arts and crafts, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and the animal sciences. She will focus on growing 4-H’s membership base, including the retention and growth of teen membership, assisting the 4-H community clubs and after school clubs throughout the county, and recruiting and coordinating volunteers.
Holly comes to the Extension office with a wealth of knowledge about 4-H. For many years, she has worked with 4-H youth and volunteers as a volunteer leader herself with for example rabbit and archery projects. Back in 2011-2012, she also served for a time as Langlade County Extension’s interim 4-H Youth Development Educator. In addition to being highly familiar with 4-H, Holly brings to the coordinator position 24 years of working with youth as a teacher. She has also been a Wisconsin County Fair judge.
As part of the Lincoln County office changes, long-time 4-H Youth Development Educator Debbie Moellendorf has also as of Sept. 1 moved into a new role where she is half-time Positive Youth Development educator and half-time Health & Well Being Educator (formally titled Family Living educator). Although Debbie will help coach Holly as she begins her Lincoln County role, she will no longer be responsible for 4-H program administration.
During her long tenure in Lincoln County, Debbie took an active leadership role in helping to build the county’s 4-H program into one of the most viable rural county programs in the state. She also developed “After the Bell,” a program that for the last 14 years has provided hands on educational experiences to youth who needed a place to interact after school. 4-H and “After the Bell” both continue to grow in large part due to her efforts and the community support for both that she has cultivated.
Despite turning over the 4-H administration role to Holly, Debbie will, however, continue youth development educational programming. She also intends to expand her role in health educational programming in partnership with the Lincoln County Health Department and health care organizations throughout the county.
With 30 years of Extension experience, Debbie will remain dedicated to serving Lincoln County communities. Additional programs that she has already begun such as “Taking Care of You,” (stress reduction program), and the Social Norms project (including the marketing of positive youth behaviors) will continue. Debbie will also oversee the popular Strong Bodies exercise program for the aging in both Merrill and Tomahawk. Her work with the county Health Department on the “Healthy Minds for Lincoln County” coalition (formally the Lincoln County Drug Free and Mental Health Coalitions) will likely increase.
Both Holly and Debbie will continue to work with an already strong group of other Lincoln County Extension professionals including Agriculture educator Dan Marzu, FoodWise (nutrition education) coordinator Tammy Hansen, FoodWise Nutrition Educator Melissa Yates, and office program assistant Cherie Hafeman.
Referring to the staffing changes in Lincoln County, Art Lersch, Area Extension Director for Langlade, Lincoln, Price and Taylor counties stated, “Lincoln County is very fortunate to have these two highly experienced professionals in the Extension office. I expect both will use their ample knowledge and experience in many different ways to help create positive change throughout the county.”
Please feel free to welcome both to their new roles by calling the UW Extension, Lincoln County office at 715-539-1072 or by emailing them at either Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.