This week I facilitated a conversation for some of the most influential leaders of the American Cooperative Extension System. You may not know who they are or what they do, but these individuals lead some of the largest land-grant university systems in the country. Collectively, they have the power to transform our nation.When I was first introduced to the Cooperative Extension System, I must admit that I had to look it up. I’d never heard of this group. Their name, alone, was mysterious.

After a few minutes of research I stumbled on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and this explanation:

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][ut_highlight color=”#1e73be”] The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), part of the executive branch of the Federal Government. Congress created NIFA through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. NIFA replaced the former Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), which had been in existence since 1994. [/ut_highlight]

NIFA reaches into every state and every community. My job was to engage a dozen or so of the senior-most leaders of this large and complex system in a one-day conversation. The agenda was wide open. How could they work together collectively to form a multi-sector partnership that would meet the needs of a new and more diverse generation of American youth.

I can’t share the details of the conversation here, but I can say that there is a growing number of people in the country who believe the time has come to create a multi-sector movement to bring high-quality positive youth development programs to millions of youth who are un-noticed and un-served.

I look forward to working with them to make history.





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