Extension clubs going strong after 8 decades

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Roosevelt County has had a long tradition of active extension clubs and while they may have fallen out of style in some communities, they’ve survived and thrived on the eastern plains of New Mexico, according to county extension officials.

Sharing in friendship and fellowship, ladies from the Roosevelt County Extension Association came together to celebrate the holiday season at a luncheon and installation of officers on Saturday at Central Christian Church.

Started in the early 1920’s, the organization has a rich history of helping each other and the community, said Connie Moyers, Roosevelt County Home Economist.

The Roosevelt County clubs meet monthly as individual organizations where they have programs and tackle various projects. The association brings the clubs together for bigger projects and fellowship opportunities.

At the start of the organization, many of the members were young women with families. The clubs gave them a chance to learn skills, such as cooking and canning. Today the clubs, have changed to meet the needs of the members, said Moyers.

Involved in the community, members of the Bethel club, have turned their attention to the needs of college students. According to long-time club member Joyce Welch, the club began a scholarship fund to help students at Eastern New Mexico University. Started approximately 20 years ago, the ladies have worked hard to raise the money for the scholarship. Through quilt raffles, bake sales, and chili sales, the club was able to raise the money for the scholarship fund, said Welch.

“We worked for three or four years on it, to raise the money,” said Welch.
Not only do the members participate at the club level, they also participate in all levels of the organization statewide and nationally.

Andrea Cox, Pep club member, is one such lady. Starting in her club, she has worked her way through the ranks, she said. Over the years, she has held various positions in all levels of the club. Cox is the type of person, who at one time preferred to be behind the scenes, not out in front, she said.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” said Cox. “I was just amazed when I got in and saw the things that are done.”

Through her journey with the National Association for Family and Community Education, the national arm of home extension, Cox has had the opportunity to participate in some groundbreaking moves. With her involvement, she has learned to lobby for many things, such as hot lunches for schools, TV ratings and seatbelt enforcement. Cox has also learned about public policy and what it takes to change things in he community and her life, she said.

“I would not have done any of those things, if I had not started out in the county,” said Cox.

Today, Roosevelt County has four clubs that are still going strong. The opportunity is there for others groups to form that will meet the interested parties needs or to join an existing group, said Moyers.

“It would be really neat if we could start some new clubs to go along with the others,” said Moyers.

By joining a club, members have a chance to learn and a place where they feel comfortable. With a mix of ages and professions, members are able to learn from one another and mentor each other, said Moyers.

“There is always a need for education and community support,” said Moyers.