Susie Jones

Starlight OHCE member Susie Jones with her state award from Oklahoma Home and Community Education for conducting a successful leadership training workshop in Wagoner County.

CHRISTY WHEELAND/AMERICAN-TRIBUNE

Susie Jones, a member of the Starlight Oklahoma Home and Community Education (OHCE) group in Wagoner, has been recognized at the state level with an honor applauding her leadership.

In July, she received 2nd Place County Leadership Development honors during the 84th OHCE Annual Conference held in Oklahoma City.

Jones is Wagoner County OHCE’s leadership chairman. She conducted a seminar for 24 incoming officers on how to serve in a leadership role with their respective OHCE groups. The session was attended by those serving as presidents, vice presidents, secretaries and treasurers.

Also attending was an individual elected as president of a local non-affiliated organization who wanted to benefit from the session.

“Some were new at their jobs and others were experienced,” Jones explained. “I asked them all something new they had learned, and that was put into my presentation. It helped to have outside people attend.”

Jones has served as the county’s leadership chair for five or six years now. During her first stint, she earned state recognition for a project that addressed voter participation in a presidential election.

“We were trying to determine the difference in voting between the general population of Wagoner County and the percentage of voting OHCE members,” she explained. “Forty-three (43) percent of county residents voted, while 85 percent of our membership voted.

“I always promote the importance for everyone to vote every time we have an election.”

Participating in OHCE is something Jones’ family has always done. Her grandmother was a member of Wagoner’s West Side Club while her mother was a charter member of the Lelietta Club. Jones herself became involved in home extension back in 1972.

With the Starlight Club, Jones has fulfilled leadership roles as president (four times), secretary (once) and as current treasurer. She has also served on all of the club’s various committees.

On a county level, she has served as community development chairman, as county treasurer and as coordinator of a Mend-a-Doll project where OHCE members refurbished dolls and gave them to children living in orphanages.

Jones said today, Wagoner County’s five OHCE clubs have a combined membership of 68 people. There are the Starlight and In Towners OHCE groups in Wagoner, the Shahan OHCE group in Coweta, the Okay Kickers in Okay and the Hidden Valley OHCE group in Broken Arrow.

Nineteen of those folks are with Starlight, which meets on the first Thursday of each month in a designated member’s home.

“The reason for diminishing participation is we have so many young women who are working outside the home — even farm wives,” Jones noted. “Our club meets at night, so we have gained some new young members who are still working.”

She reminded that with each OHCE meeting, an educational program is presented, making attendance a true learning experience for all.

For more information about Wagoner County OHCE, contact Janis Risley at 9187-486-4589.

Christy has been covering news and sports in Wagoner County since 1988. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in Public Relations/Journalism.