This June, the Mud Hole Education Program embarked on a journey to the rolling hillsides, and lush forestland of Wisconsin. The purpose of this outing was to attend the 2023 WAAE (Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators) Professional Development Convention. This year the convention was held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, nestled between the vibrant flowing Fox River and perch filled Lake Winnebago. Even though the surrounding environment was begging the team to hit the water and start fishing, there was work to be done.
This year’s convention was the perfect opportunity for the Education Team to meet with current and new teachers that are utilizing the program or are interested in jumping into the world of rod building. It was great to see so many enthusiastic teachers who are committed to Agricultural Education. With most of the vendors being from the Wisconsin area, it was a great honor to have the ability to showcase our program that started all the way from The Sunshine State. We consider ourselves extremely lucky to work with so many educators across the state of Wisconsin and look forward to what the future holds!
Aside from the convention, there was another purpose to the trip and that was to be part of the 2023 WAAE Awards Banquet. The Education Program has never attended the banquet before and when the opportunity presented itself, our team did not hesitate. This award ceremony takes a moment to acknowledge teachers and companies that have worked hard to bring agriculture education to students in the state of Wisconsin. The Mud Hole Education Program was nominated for two awards at the banquet, the Outstanding Service Citation and Outstanding Cooperation Award. These awards are given to companies and individuals that go above and beyond in the support of Agricultural Education in Wisconsin.
Our Director Anthony Youmans has worked tirelessly to bring rod building to the classroom so that students can dive into the craft of rod building, a skill that they can positively utilize for the rest of their lives. Anthony has attended numerous shows and facilitated countless workshops to further display rod building for interested teachers. During the 2022 Professional Development Convention, Anthony put on a rod building seminar that had a record breaking attendance for the convention! This showed that there is a strong interest and impact with custom rod building for education. It was due to Anthony’s dedication that the Mud Hole Education Program was nominated for these awards. It is with great honor that we can announce that the Education Program has accepted both awards and took home two plaques to represent these achievements!
With these two WAAE awards, our program is now in the running for Regional and National Awards. These next rounds of ceremonies will take place later on this summer and regardless of the result, the feeling of accomplishment is enough to motivate us to even further heights. The Mud Hole Education Program has reached a huge milestone and would not be where it is today if it was not for the continued support of teachers, students, and agricultural education as a whole. We would like to say thank you to the WAAE organization for this chance to develop our program and promote custom rod building for the future of our country’s youth.