NMSU Chaves County Extension Clubs are hosting Christmas showcase
By Christina Stock
The New Mexico State University Chaves County Extension Clubs invite the public to their Christmas showcase, Nov. 13 at the Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds, 2500 SE Main St., in the new building. There will be two shows, one at 1:30 p.m. and the other at 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Chaves County Extension office, 200 E. Chisum, Ste. 4.
“NMSU Chaves County Extension Clubs have presented a Christmas showcase since 2011 and are excited about this year’s theme, ‘I’m dreaming of a farmhouse Christmas,’” Shannon Wooton said. Wooton is the family consumer science agent of NMSU CCEC.
Wooton, together with two members of local extension clubs — Peggy Seskey with Zia Extension Club and Sherrie Hargrove with Make It Take It Extension Club — sat down with the Vision editor to talk about the upcoming event.
Seskey had joined an extension club in 1966 in Dexter before moving away from New Mexico. “I went where I think extension started, Virginia, to Virginia Tech and I joined there,” she said. She has been with the Zia Extension Club for 12 years.
“Make It Take It has started three years ago,” Hargrove said. “We started as a group of four friends that just got together to do crafts for Christmas and it blossomed into its own extension club idea. We got with Shannon and we started.
“Ours closes the gap between generations,” Hargrove said. “No one our age was joining, so we really wanted to bridge that gap. It’s a lot of young women, moms and our moms are part of the group as well. That is what makes our club fun and unique. We have all different ages that are involved.”
Asked what the core of the organization is, Wooton said, “We are a community development type organization. We also teach leadership, finance, nutrition and health. That’s what we promote. Relationships are built within, you have the younger women and the ladies who have been here a long time.”
These goals have not changed. “That’s like in 1966, when I started,” Seskey said. “I was just married and we had everybody in Dexter and Hagerman: farmer’s wives and all that wisdom. It was the experience. You had always somebody to call. How do you this? It was mixed back then.”
Asked how long the clubs have been working in Chaves County, Wooton laughed and said, “Since the beginning of time. We started with the land-grant universities and all the Acts that brought education to the people. A lot happened during that time, from the 4H clubs to AG (agricultural) research.”
The Smith-Lever Act formalized extension in 1914, but its roots go back to agricultural clubs and societies of the early 1800s. The act expanded USDA’s partnership with land-grant universities to apply research and provide education in agriculture.
“All the extension clubs are under the New Mexico State University umbrella and extension offices where we bring research-based information back to the clients,” Wooton said.
“We are able to educate each of the extension groups to where it serves best for their group or lifestyle or anything that is going on,” Hargrove said.
The shows feature easy sewing projects, gift giving ideas, wood projects, Christmas décor and gifts from the kitchen. There will be door prizes and refreshments as well as a program booklet to take home with detailed directions and recipes.
“This is a great time to come to the shows, get ready for the holidays and hopefully make it a little less stressful,” Wooton said. “It will give you some neat little ways to save money, maybe in that you can make the projects that we show, or the foods might be easier to prepare having the recipes and taste testing right there.
“We feature this year foods that are easy to take to other places. I know we are going to have some specialties like different types of tortilla roll-ups. We have a punch recipe that we feature. One of our areas is featuring coffee. From recipes to scrubs to lip balms,” Wooton said.
Quilt raffle tickets will also be available to purchase at the shows. Proceeds of the raffle benefit two Chaves County high school seniors attending college in New Mexico. This year’s recipients for the Jewell Limacher Scholarship and the Alameda Goolsby Scholarship are Eden Wiggins of Roswell, Ana Solis and Raquel Trevizo of Dexter.
Other community service outreach projects that the Chaves County Extension Clubs are involved in are Books for Newborns, where mothers of newborns upon leaving the hospital receive a packet with information on feeding their baby, car seat safety, immunizations, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), shaken baby syndrome, NMSU-Baby’s First Wish Newsletter and sign-up card, as well as a book to encourage reading to the child. Twelve hundred packets are distributed yearly to the two area hospitals. Extension club members also sew nursing cover-ups to encourage new mothers to breastfeed.
The Extension Club council also sponsors 4-H awards at its annual 4-H awards programs and helps monetarily with 4-H’ers who have competed on the national level.
Asked how to become a member in any of the extension clubs in Chaves County, Wooton said, “They can come to the Chaves County Extension Office, 200 E. Chisum St., Ste. 4, or call 575-622-3210 and visit with me, and I can give them the flyer and start visiting the clubs, or find one that fits into their schedule. There are five clubs right now with different days and times.”