Janice Parris YPA for Cass County

SPIN Club is a new term to our 4-H world.  It is a new kind of 4-H club.  With society changing with busy lives, the 4-H program has added components to efficiently and effectively try to meet the needs of our audiences.  So 4-H is implementing a new club model for families that may not be able to participate in a yearlong club. The SPIN Club model has the flexibility to provide positive youth development over a short period of time as 4-H members.

What is a 4-H SPIN Club?  SPIN stands for Special Interest. e.g. photography, rabbits, volleyball, aerospace, etc.  4-H SPIN clubs allow youth ages 5 to 18 with common interests or hobbies to meet as a club and share their special interest. Whatever their passion is, youth can gain knowledge and enhance their skills through a positive group experience. A 4-H SPIN club can be started with a minimum of one adult volunteer and five young people with an interest in a particular topic. While the adult provides expertise and guidance, club members take an active role in planning and running their own activities.  The SPIN Club meets over a short period of time, e.g. 6 – 8 weeks.

Cass County has successfully launched 3 SPIN Clubs and have plans to begin the fourth.  Youth attended the Dining Around the World 4-H SPIN Club where they learned about 6 different countries, prepared dishes and tasted the cuisine.  Youth also attended the Board Game 4-H SPIN Club where they used their problem solving skills, luck and had fun learning new games.  Youth actively participated in these clubs with a caring adult developing life skills.   An Outdoor Skills 4-H SPIN Club has just begun where youth are learning about land navigation, animal identification, safety and first aid.  Soon to follow, will be a Sand Volleyball SPIN Club and maybe more!

 SPIN clubs reach out to youth and families with common interests and brings them together.   If you have an interest and would like to lead a 4-H SPIN Club, contact Janice Parris at:  parrisja@missouri.edu

  Adapted from Texas A&M ; Texas 4-H




2019 Spring Gardening Class

Presented by the Cass County Master Gardeners

Classes will be held Tuesday at Memorial Station in Belton Memorial Part at 6:30 P.M..  Classes will last approximately 1 hour.  To register please contact the Cass County Extension Office at 816-380-8460





Showing Your Partner Love isn’t Breaking the Bank… it’s Saving for a Rainy Day

Kyleigh Sullivan, Field Specialist in Human Development & Family Science, University of Missouri Extension


Valentine’s Day is over and plenty of people never batted an eye, they feel it’s commercialized.  This may be true; however, have you ever considered that the money (and time) you may be spending is actually an investment in your relationship? 

Dr. John Gottman uses a bank account analogy called the “Emotional Bank Account” this wonderful and quick video explains the concept well.  But basically it’s the idea that your relationship has to have a stock pile of positives (deposits) for when conflicts arise or feelings get hurt (withdrawals) come        along so you don’t overdraft.  However, emotional bank accounts aren’t as equal as bank accounts.  If I spend $20, $20 comes out of my checking account.  If I deposit a $100, I add $100 to my checking account.  But, if my feelings get hurt in one instance it actually takes multiple good instances in the relationship to balance it out.  In fact, Dr. Gottman has determined that the “Magic Ratio” is 5:1.  So essentially our relationships shouldn’t be going bad half the time and well the other half.  There should be 5 times as many good instances in the relationship!

So even though Valentine’s is over, today and every day, is an opportunity to make a deposit into your relationship bank account.  It doesn’t have to cost you a lot- if any- actual money.  Make dinner for your partner, buy their favorite candy (even if the heart shaped boxes are gone for the year), watch a romantic movie on Netflix and cuddle up close on the couch.  Build up the bank account so when the inevitable rainy days (as in negative not boring) come along you have enough to pay your debt and you can go right back to building your relationship wealth.  

Image result for dr. john gottman Dr. John Gottman. 







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What is 4-H? 

Janice Parris, Cass County 4-H Youth Program Assistant

4-H is all about kids!  4-H is kids making friends and lasting relationships. 4-H is kids working together creating blankets to give to the homeless and singing Christmas carols to shut ins. 4-H is kids learning to build robotics or bird houses.  4-H is learning photography or cake decorating.  4-H is working with an animal whether it is a steer, rabbit or dog.  4-H is fair time and the excitement of entering exhibits, interviewing with a judge and receiving fair ribbons. 4-H is holding an office and running a club meeting developing leadership skills.  4-H is kids giving demonstrations enhancing their public speaking skills. 4-H is summer camp filled with activities, nature, friends and fun and learning to get along.  4-H is smiles and laughter, encouraging and bonding with one another.  4-H is kids working with caring adults to learn life skills.  4-H is kids reaching out to others. 4-H is all of this and so much more.  It is a community of youth and adults working together to make our world a better place.  4-H is our investment in the future. 4-H is what our kids and our world needs today!

The National 4-H Council states,” In 4-H we believe in the power of young people. We see that every child has valuable strengths and real influence to improve the world around us. 4-H is America’s largest youth development organization, empowering nearly six million young people with the skills to lead for a lifetime. 4-H is changing kids’ lives.”

Consider donating some time to the 4-H organization and help provide more kids the hands on experience, support and encouragement they need to thrive.  Let’s watch our kids make the world a better place for all of us. 

If you would like to volunteer time to 4-H, please contact me at parrisja@missouri.edu or call 816-380-8460



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February is American Heart Month

Melissa Cotton, County Engagement Specialist in Nutrition and Health Education, University of Missouri Extension


Promoting heart health is greatly important, as heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 1 in 4 deaths is a result of heart disease. Heart disease includes many conditions that affect the cardiovascular system. Three major risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking cigarettes. Developing cardiovascular disease is preventable if we take hold of the risk factors within our control. By adopting and maintaining certain lifestyle behaviors, we can lower our risk of developing heart disease. Here are a list of some of the healthy habits we should focus on.

Healthy Eating – choose more fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains. Limit fatty meats and select leaner options instead. Cut down on salt and added sugar. By preparing most meals at home, you are more likely to be successful meeting these goals. Many pre-packaged and restaurant foods are packed with extra sugar, sodium, fat, and calories.

Physical Activity – Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. That breaks down to about 30 minutes of activity on most days. Weight maintenance and lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels are all benefits of increased physical activity.

Stress Management – Keep stress in check by practicing relaxation and mindfulness techniques. Make sure to take time for socializing with friends and family. In addition, try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

Stop the Use of Tobacco Products – Cigarette smoke greatly increases your risk of heart disease and many other poor health outcomes. Ask your doctor about smoking cessation programs in your area.

Practice Moderation – Limit the use of alcohol and caffeine. Both can dehydrate the body, which is harmful to the heart. Men should limit alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day. Women should have only one.

Some risk factors like age, gender, ethnicity, and family history are outside of our control. You can better understand your risk by discussing these matters with your health care provider.

The good news is by following a healthy lifestyle you will also reduce your risk of developing other serious chronic conditions like diabetes. This February, identify a heart-healthy behavior that you could improve on. Even a small change can help you reduce your risk for heart disease or help you manage and existing condition.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 6 tips to keep your heart healthy.  Retrieved February 8, 2019, from    https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/pdf/HeartHealth-H.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Preventing heart disease: Healthy living habits. Retrieved on February 8, 2019, from         https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/healthy_living.htm

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2018). Heart Health Tips for Men. Retrieved on  February 8, 2019, from https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/heart-and-cardiovascular-health/heart-health-tips-for-men

Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Heart health. Retrieved on February 8, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/heart-health



Cattle Artificial Insemination (AI) Training School at Kingsville

Kingsville—A Cattle Artificial Insemination (AI) School will be held in Kingsville.  This AI School will be held at the Kingsville Livestock Auction on April 4-6, 2019.  The AI School is dedicated to teaching cattle producers the ability to artificially inseminate their cows.  This would allow producers to utilize genetics from proven, high-accuracy sires which will add value to their future calves at time of market.  On Thursday and Friday evening (April 4-5), the times will be 5:30 -8:30 p.m. and Saturday morning from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon.  The cost of the school is $450 and space is very limited.  Please register early in order to ensure a spot in the class.

Cattle producers that attend the school will have hands-on training on the proper technique to artificially inseminate a cow and semen handling.  Producers will be given information on herd health, nutrition, and genetics.  In addition, producers will be provided the latest information on the most current estrous synchronization protocols for heifers and cows.  The AI school will include classroom time and plenty of practice time.

The AI school is sponsored by University of Missouri Extension, Select Sires, and Kingsville Livestock Auction.  Dinner will be provided each evening.  Please register for the class before March 15th as the class fills up quickly.  Payment is required to reserve your spot in the class. 

For questions about registration or the AI school please contact MU Extension Livestock Specialist David Hoffman at the Cass County Extension Office (816) 380-8460.