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David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807

February 23, 2018

Local Seventh Graders Experience "Life"
While Learning About University of Missouri Extension

MOUNTAIN GROVE, Mo. - On Tuesday, February 13, seventh graders from the Ava and Mountain Grove schools had the opportunity to live in the "real world" and work as University of Missouri Extension employees at the Mountain Grove YMCA. The event was part of the Seventh Grade Nontraditional Career Event sponsored by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) designed to expose Missouri seventh graders to nontraditional careers.

DESE considers programs such as agricultural education for females, family consumer sciences education for males, health sciences education for males, trade, industrial technology and engineering for females nontraditional career paths. With those concepts in mind, the southwest region's Agency for Teaching, Leading, and Learning contacted the University of Missouri Extension in the southwest region to create such an event.


Regional 4-H Youth Development Specialists Janice Weddle and Dr. Krista Tate decided to model their event after the board game Life. In Life, players draw careers, receive salaries and then have to make decisions based on money, family, and the career path selected for them.

"We thought it would be a great opportunity for students to practice budgeting skills in a fun way," said Tate. "Also, we wanted to educate students on what MU Extension is and how it works to make counties stronger."

With that in mind, the youth specialists gave students jobs within the University of Missouri Extension system.

Tate and Weddle invited the following MU Extension employees to participate: Livestock Specialist Dr. Randy Wiedmeier; Agronomy Specialist Jamie Gundel; Nutrition Specialist Stephanie Johnson; Youth Development Specialist Dr. Willa Williams; Horticulture Educator Kelly McGowan; Youth Educator Jennifer Hancock; Nutrition Assistants Anita Collins and Christi Crisp; Youth Program Assistants Misty Hitch, Elaine Davis and Jeannie Moreno; and Office Support Staff Teresa Uminn.

"We hope the students enjoyed it and that those involved will look to MU Extension as a resource in the future," Weddle said.


Upon arrival, students randomly drew a job held by one of the presenters. Students then went to that presenter and learned all about their new job, education required of the job, along with general information about MU Extension.

Once the presentation ended, students received individualized folders. These folders gave students a profile as to the life they had within that career including if they had a spouse, the career their spouse had, and if they had children.

With this information in hand, students set out to create a monthly budget based on the information obtained in their envelope. Material regarding housing, automobile purchases, and food costs gave students the opportunity to make selections based on their new life as an MU Extension employee.

"The goal for the students was to stay within their budget. The students went through the process twice," said Tate.

She noted that doing the game twice exposed students to a different job that had been arranged prior with either higher or lower education levels. This way they could see the value in education and the difference in lifestyle it can provide.

"It also gave students the chance to practice their budgeting skills for the second time and gave them the fun of playing the game of Life as they received different identities each round," said Tate.

Students could then compare after each round and compare budgeting, lifestyles, and had a have a more broad exposure to the variety MU Extension offers.

"I learned that real life is really hard!" explained an Ava seventh grader. "And I want to go home and hug my parents."

Two hundred seventh graders from the two school districts participated. The goal for the day was to teach seventh graders about life and budgets along with introducing them to how the University of Missouri works for their county and the state of Missouri.

"I think this extension program made a positive impact on the seventh graders," said Davis. "The program gave them a good outlook on career opportunities well as life skills including planning, personal choice, budgeting and so much more. The youth were great and very engaged in learning."

For more information on the University of Missouri Extension, contact Wright County Youth Development Specialist Janice Weddle at 417-967-4545 or Douglas County Youth Development Specialist Dr. Krista Tate at 417-683-4409.

Photo available for following caption Photo credit: MU Extension


Photo available for following caption Photo credit: MU Extension


Source: Dr. Krista Tate, (417) 256-2391

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