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Class XIII Curriculum

"The Launch of the OALP Class XIII Experience"

 Seminar I


August 16, 2006
Scribe: Mary Chris Barth

On a cool August morning in Stillwater Dr. Joe Williams welcomed 30 members of Class XIII of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program. Class members who have recently traveled overseas were highlighted: Gaylnn Beer - Belize, Bill Ferris - England. It was noted that Mr. Ferris has a knack for traveling just after intense international events. The group is not sure if this is a good sign or not.

Dr. Linda Martin, Assistant Dean, CASNR, spoke to the group about introductions. A lively exercise followed in which class members worked in groups to create a memorable word play to help remember each other's names.

We adjourned for a luncheon held in the Wes Watkins Center.

Dr. Williams then gave an overview of the OALP program, along with expectations of member participation and behavior.

Following this, OALP Alumni Clay Burtrum (Class XI), Rick Kochenower (Class XI) and Bryan Wiles (class XII) shared some of their class experiences. The group also fielded questions from the floor concerning the OALP experience.

ALO sponsored the evening meal. Several OALP alums, Advisory Council members and DASNR administrators attended the meal. Pat Regier and Brenda Neufeld were selected to do a repeat of their introductions.


August 17, 2006
Scribe: Tim Bartram

On Thursday August 17th, Class XIII started the second day of a long journey. We met in the lobby of the hotel before heading to Camp Redlands and a day of stretching. We started the day by stretching our bodies. I think some of us found muscles that we had forgotten about.

We then began to stretch our team work. Brenda Neufeld started us out in a crazy game of tag. Thad Doye was the first tagged. After this we had perhaps the hardest event of the day; we had to lower a helium filled pole to the ground, as a group, using only two fingers under the pole. After several false starts in which the pole wanted to rise up, we finally got together and managed to get it to the ground. The next event was an obstacle course which we had to navigate blindfolded. Each person had a partner who could see and they guided us verbally through the course. The staff of Camp Redlands had to make the course harder as we went but they still had trouble tripping us up.

We then divided into two groups. One group had to solve two problems. The first problem was getting a tire over a six foot pole without touching the tire with our hands or the tire touching the pole. We were provided bandanas. We tied them around the tire on four sides and used them to handle the tire. Four of the group handled the tire while several others watched to make sure the tire didn’t touch the pole. We accomplished this rather easily, but the next problem was much harder. However, “cowboy engineering” took over. This problem was how to get the same tire over a ten foot tall poll. Again, we could not use our hands and the tire could not touch the poll. Most groups solved this problem by lifting people. Our group discarded this idea because we had no cheerleaders or front end loaders to use. This also looked like too much work. Edmond Bonjour (our resident bug expert) asked if the use of tree limbs was legal. We were told it was. So we scoured the woods for proper lifting tools. The idea was brought up to use additional branches to provide guides for the tire and was properly adopted. We were very successful in our attempt even though some of the group did not think it would work. Then we were told no group had ever solved the problem that way.

The other group’s activities are reported by Hope Pjesky. Fifteen OALP members participated in the “mountaineering” exercise at the challenge course. During this exercise eight people were on one platform or “mountain” and seven people were on another platform. These platforms were barely large enough to hold this number of people. A smaller platform, large enough to hold only two people, is at a right angle from the other two platforms forming a triangle. Three boards are available, two short ones and one longer one, none of the boards are long enough to reach from the small platform to either of the larger platforms. The object of the exercise is to move all of the people to the opposite platform without any part of anyone’s body touching the ground. The boards also may not touch the ground.

Doug Ritter suggested that we position the short boards like diving boards and use the longer board to lay on top of them connecting to the small platform. This would require the long board to be moved each time two people crossed. It would also require several people on each platform to stand on the diving boards so they didn’t tip. We agreed that this plan could work. The first two people crossed to the small platform. They picked up the longer board moved it to the diving board on the other platform and one of them crossed to the other platform. Then one person from that platform crossed to the small platform and the other person from the first group crossed to the second platform. This continued until everyone had switched over.

Our instructor told us that we were the first group she had ever had that successfully got everyone to the opposite platform without anyone or any of the boards touching the ground. She then challenged us to try it again, but this time we could not talk. Once again we were successful.

After the two groups had finished, Dr Williams came with lunch. I don’t know which tasted better - the sandwiches or the water.

After a too short lunch break, we started to stretch as individuals. The high ropes course was next. Kevin Long was the brave soul who led us off. You are 30 feet in the air with only a thin rope to walk or having to jump across a ten foot gap. At least it seemed that high and far to some of the group! You push yourself to succeed. The support from your partner on the ground, along with the rest of the group cheering you on, provided the stimulus to reach deep within your soul to succeed. This support is especially helpful when you are deathly afraid of heights. A couple of the telephone poles were almost bear-hugged in half, and even few bumps and bruise were received. But the entire group grew both together and individually. Lee Ann, we really didn’t hear what you said but your knees did turn a lovely shade of blue.

After dinner on our own, we journeyed to Dr Williams’ house for wonderful home made pie and great conversation. Dr Williams’ Wonderful Wife’ Dr. Sue Williams baked the pies which provided a terrific topping to the day’s activities.


Friday, August 18, 2006
Scribe: Rob Bauter

Day 3 started with a morning hike across campus from the Wes Watkins Center to the Public Information Office for a group photograph and individual photos. After the photo session we walked to the Food and Agriculture Products Research Center for the morning seminar.

Dr. James Trapp, Associate Director, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Services, gave the first presentation. Dr. Trapp talked about his personal and educational background and then his professional experience at Oklahoma State University from assistant professor to administration. He next touched briefly on the land grant college system and Morrill Act of 1862. Dr. Trapp then gave a detailed explanation of the history and formation of the extension service through the Smith-Lever Act of 1914. He subsequently gave a detailed breakdown of the OSU Cooperative Extension Service explaining the structure and the roles of on campus researchers, educators and administration, as well as that of the off campus county educators. Dr. Trapp also explained how extension is funded at the federal, state and county levels. He stressed the importance of communication between all the different levels and functions of extension. Dr. Trapp concluded his presentation with a discussion of how the Extension Service is having to adapt and change to meet the changing needs of the people they serve. When the extension service was formed in 1914, 80% of the U.S. population was rural. Today the majority of our population is urban, and the number of small farming/ranching operations is growing at a fast pace, as well the number of very large farm and ranch operations.

Our second presentation was by Dr. Clarence Watson, Associate Director, Oklahoma Agriculture Experiment Station. Dr. Watson started with an in depth explanation of the land grant college system and the Morrill Act of 1862, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. The intent of the land grant system was to make education available to “the common man.” A second Morrill Act was signed in 1890 and provided for minority access to higher education. Oklahoma has an 1890 institution in Langston University. In 1994 legislation was enacted providing for tribal land grant colleges. Dr. Watson’s discussion also included an explanation of the triangle symbol commonly seen in conjunction with land grant institutions. The three sides of the triangle stand for Instruction, Research and Education. Dr. Watson next moved into a discussion of the creation of Agriculture Experiment Stations (AES) with the enactment of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which also provided for the formation of the Cooperative Extension Service. Currently, Oklahoma State University has 17 AES’s around the state and funding has been approved for the 18th such station. Areas of research at OSU’s AES locations include water resources, turf grass, wheat improvement team, precision sensor technology, and food and agriculture products research (value added products.) Research is also being done on pecan improvement, biomass-based energy (bio fuels), beef cattle nutrition/management, range management, drought management, agriculture economics and governmental policy, microbial forensics, Oklahoma Mesonet, swine research, stored products research and education center, and the OSU new product development center.

Dr. Penny Pennington, Assistant Professor, Agriculture Education, provided the third presentation entitled ‘Understanding and Defining Leadership.’ One point that Dr. Pennington made was that “leadership is learned.” Throughout the course of Dr. Pennington’s presentation, we discussed how to define a leader and the qualities people look for in a leader, as well as a definition of leadership. A leader can be defined as ‘someone people willingly follow.’ Leadership is a process of influencing a group of people towards a common goal. This concluded the morning session. We were dismissed to Meditations for lunch.

Lunch at Meditations was not only a delicious meal, but also an exceptional learning experience. Debby Strickland, Alpha Gamma Rho housemother, was on hand to give us an extensive lesson on ‘Reception and Dining Etiquette.’ Throughout the entire meal Ms. Strickland gave detailed information on proper etiquette from pre-meal receptions thru desert. Following lunch, Dr. Williams dismissed the class until our next meeting – October 4 – 6, 2006.