Number CLXVI The Newsletter of Epsilon Sigma PhiJanuary 2023

 President's Message

Daphne Richards, National ESP President

Hello ESP friends! And welcome to a new year. I hope that you were all able to enjoy some well-deserved downtime over the festive period, surrounded by family and friends, doing whatever brings you joy and personal fulfillment. And I hope that you were able to get some rest and refresh your spirit. I will freely admit that after a very busy year, overflowing with overcommitment, I was desperately in need of some cognitive rest. So, my priority over the holiday break was to limit my screen time, and to spend as much time as possible in nature and with my two pups; activities that always rejuvenate me! 

Like me, many of you, I know, also just wrapped up a very busy 2022. How do I know that? Because you are extension professionals! And we are not known for saying no or for setting firm boundaries between our work and home lives. Another thing that we all have in common is the mad dash at the end of each year to complete our various end-of-year reporting documents. Is it any wonder that many of us find ourselves in an extreme rest deficit at the end of every year?! 

If you attended the ESP sessions at the Extension Leadership Conference in Kansas City last year, you would’ve participated in our presentation on the importance of rest, and you would’ve learned that, according to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, the author of Sacred Rest (on which our presentation was based), there are seven types of rest. If you aren’t familiar with this concept, I urge you to watch Dr. Dalton-Smith’s TED Talk on the topic, and to take the author’s rest deficit assessment (available in her book and on her website). We’d also be happy to provide you with the modified Rest Deficit Assessment quiz that our team put together for the ELC, and our presentation materials—just send me a note to let me know you’d like to have them, and I’ll share a link with you. Each year your national board members prepare a different timely topic to share with ESP attendees at the Leadership conference, so I urge you to register and attend! You’ll find the details on how to do so later in this newsletter. 

And while I’m on the topic of encouraging you to ponder new ideas…have you ever considered applying for a spot on an ESP national committee, or maybe even… a national board position?! The opportunity to do so is fast approaching. Each year we have openings on most of our six standing committees, so check out the national website (under National Committees) to learn more about each of them and consider applying (application timeline is May for national committees, and April for the national board). Each year we also have three positions open on the national board, two regional VPs and the 2nd Vice President position, which rotate among the regions. For the 2023 application cycle, the two Regional VP positions, which each serve a two-year term, will be opening up from the Northeast and Western Regions; and the 2nd Vice President position, which serves a four-year term, rotating through the national president’s role, will be opening up from the Northeast Region. Terms of service, for both committee and national board positions, start at the end of our national conference each year. If you’d like to know more of if you have any questions at all about serving on either a committee or the national board, I would love to visit with you! So please, don’t hesitate to reach out.

And thank you for your continued membership in Epsilon Sigma Phi! I appreciate each and every one of you.


ESP Brand Kit Is LIVE

Check it out! We now have a toolkit for all your ESP branding needs. On the “Branding and Logos” page you can easily download ESP logos, letterheads, PowerPoint templates, and Zoom backgrounds (four to choose from!). Download now to show your ESP spirit!

Apply now to showcase your “Treasure” program to your ESP colleagues in Billings

Travis West, Chair of the Professional Development Committee  

Don’t keep those innovative, impactful and creative programs and tools a secret from the rest of us! Extension professionals are always looking for ideas that fill a need in our community, state, or program and where better to share those “gems” than in Billings, Montana, September 23-25, 2023. We are coming back to Montana where ESP began in 1927, revisiting our roots and sharing our “treasures” with extension professionals and extension retirees from across the nation. 

Presentations will be accepted in four categories – Concurrent, Ignite, Research and Poster Sessions.

    • Concurrent Session – May be a presentation, panel discussion, round table discussion, hands-on demonstration or any other methodology. These sessions will be 50-60 minutes in length.
    • Ignite Session - A method of sharing an exciting, educational message on a specific topic utilizing 20 slides that advance every 15 seconds.
    • Research Session - Provide an opportunity to share information about a research project and will be 15 minutes in length.
    • Poster Session - A visual presentation on a specific educational program or a research study. Presenters will be available to discuss poster content during the conference.

Why consider presenting at an ESP National Meeting?

    • Stipends and Awards for those selected.
    • Presentations and posters go through a rigorous review process.
    • Strengthens your promotion and tenure documents.
    • It’s great to share our programs with others nationwide in all program areas.

The process is easy, and we all have programs that need to be highlighted for others to see. Apply today here. I look forward to your submissions and joining you in September in Billings “A Treasure State of Mind”. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Travis West, Professional Development Committee Chair at .


Public Issues Committee: It's a Wrap!

Submitted by Peggy Damann, 2021-2022 Past National President and Public Issues Committee Chair

The National ESP Public Issues Committee had its final meeting at our 2022 National Conference in Branson, MO. Following extensive discussions over the past 3+ years regarding the ESP National Board and Committees' structure, the Board voted at the Mid-year meeting (3/24/2022) to sunset the Public Issues Committee, effective following the 2022 National Conference.

Historically, the Chair of the Public Issues Committee (a National Board Member) and one additional member of the committee have represented ESP on the planning committee for the Public Issues Leadership Development Conference (PILD), sponsored by JCEP (Joint Council of Extension Professionals.) Rest assured, ESP will still be involved in planning the PILD conference, represented by one board member (currently Peggy Damann) and one member-at-large (currently Jen Shukaitis) each serving a two-year term on the conference planning committee.

The decision to dissolve the Public Issues Committee is not a reflection of the importance of public issues as a topic or as an area of professional development for our members, but rather a reflection of a move towards national committees that more directly align with and support the core work of the organization. These committees: Professional Development; Scholarships, Grants and Recognition; Resource Development and Management; Marketing; Membership Recruitment and Retention - each are absolutely essential to the core functions of our organization- around membership, professional development, finances - serving members and moving our mission forward.

But wait! There’s one more committee that I haven’t mentioned yet. The Global Relations Committee, in many ways is similar to the Public Issues Committee, in that it is a topical area of importance to our members but not essential to our association’s core mission. The National Board and Global Relations Committee have explored the possibility of the Global Relations Committee transitioning to our “Affinity Group” structure which provides purposeful space for ESP members to network and learn together around topics of interest without the formal structure of the standing committees. However, at this time, Global Relations remains a National ESP Committee.

Development Fund – How Funds were spent in 2021 and Your Opportunities

Submitted by David Ross, Resource Development Management - Affiliate Member 

The chart below shows how Development Fund monies were spent in 2021 as members were getting back to programs after Covid-19.  Some payments had been delayed until 2021 by members.  You should consider opportunities to advance your programs using grants and scholarships, to attend professional development training, and to attend ESP conferences using stipends and grants.  Go to the ESP website at, log in and look under the heading link “National”, then under “Awards” for all the details on “Scholarships”, “Grants”, and “Stipends”.  See the descriptions, deadlines and requirements.  Apply!!

While budgets will vary year to year, over $43,000 is available annually to members.  Please review your opportunities to utilize funds for your professional growth/advancement.

The following programs are supported by the Development Fund annually:

    • 4- $600 PILD Scholarships - $2,400
    • 2- $1,000 Redinger Administrator/Leader Scholarships - $2,000
    • 4- $1,000 Professional Development Grants - $4,000
    • 4- $1,000 Richard R Angus Professional Development Scholarships - $4,000
    • 1- $1250 Rita T Wood Grant for chapter development
    • Varies- Chapter Representative stipends to Extension Leadership Conference - $10,000
    • Regional & National Recognition Program
    • National Poster Program Recognition
    • Support for Conference Workshop Presenters
    • Assist ESP Member Participation on Committees and Representation on National Council at National ESP Conferences
    • Assist ESP Life Member Participation on Committees and in the National ESP Conferences

Watch the ESP Calendar for application/abstract deadlines and instructions.  Take advantage of these opportunities to support and build your program.  Details are on the website.


STORYTELLING leads to Awards and Recognition

Submitted by Scholarships Grants and Recognition Committee 

Epsilon Sigma Phi membership is strengthened when members share their stories of program impact and success! These stories can lead to AWARD Applications! For example, in 2022 the Iota Chapter in Utah was recognized as a Distinguished Team – for their work in Mental Health Literacy and Awareness for Rural Agriculture Youth Organizations.

“With increased attempted suicide and the prevalence of mental illness in rural and agricultural communities, our team created and delivered a 50-minute mental health curriculum for youth agricultural organizations. UTAC- Utah Talks, Answers, Connects- "Maintaining Fences" curriculum. As a result, youth gained a better understanding of mental health, discussed ways of changing the stigma, and what resources are available for help.”

As a chapter, reach out to your membership and encourage one another to apply for award recognition. Tell us the story of how your Extension work is making a difference in the life of individuals where you work! 

See the National ESP Awards website to learn more! March 1 is the national DUE DATE, and most awards require two years of ESP membership for eligibility. Check with your state recognition chair if you have eligibility questions.


Membership Chair Virtual Open Houses

Submitted by Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee 

Are you the membership committee chair for your chapter? Your National Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee members are offering three open house virtual events to answer your questions about membership recruitment, ESP website etc. Join the last opportunity on January 25th at 11 am PST at  (be sure to save this link into your calendar, it directly opens the meeting).


Expand Your World

Submitted by The Global Relations Committee 

In 1973, 4-H changed their pledge to include the words “and my world.”  Today’s Extension programs have connections that reach far beyond our clubs, communities and country and across multi-disciplinary programs. Many professionals have an interest in learning ways to enhance those connections and build bridges towards a more global community. Over one hundred ESP members have shown an interest with international program connections through the membership process; you will be receiving an email invitation to the survey, but the survey is open to all ESP members with international interest at the link below.

The ESP Global Relations Committee seeks to encourage ESP members to increase cultural competencies and global connections in Extension International programming. We support participation in international opportunities for professionals, and we promote collaborations with ESP and International organizations. 

If you have an interest in learning about what is happening globally, have previous experiences or are seeking ways to become more involved, please take a moment and complete our short two minute survey. The survey can be found here or by using your smart device to scan the QR code. 

JCEP Extension Leadership Conference: Engage, Inspire, Achieve

Sponsored by Joint Council of Extension Professionals­ 

Registration is open! Reserve your room today, rooms are filling quickly!


Save the Date

Membership Chair Open House January 25

2022 ESP Webinar Series

2023 National Conference Proposals Due by February 15

National Award Applications Due March 1 

Intent to bid for the 2025 National ESP Conference Due March 1

JCEP Extension Leadership Conference February 7-9, 2023, Kansas City, Missouri 

JCEP Public Issues Leadership Development Conference April 16-19, 2023 Washington D.C.

2023 ESP National Conference September 24-28 Billings, Montana

2024 ESP National Conference October 27-31 Virginia Beach, Virginia

This newsletter is a publication of Epsilon Sigma Phi, Inc. - The Extension Professionals' Organization

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