WVU Extension Interim Program Director – Families and Health
Gina Taylor, as West Virginia University Extension Service’s Jackson County Families and Health and 4-H Youth Development agent, balances two key programs to help keep West Virginia families healthy, and youths educated while having fun participating in 4-H activities and summer camps.
With more than 1,200 youths participating in her county’s 4-H youth development program, Taylor says there are a lot of chances for WVU Extension Service to make a positive impact.
“We have multiple opportunities in Jackson County to educate community members about healthy living and how to keep an active lifestylewhether they are a 4-H’er at camp or an adult looking for new ways to improve their health,” said Taylor.
One of the programs, called Moovin’ and Groovin’, is a partnership between WVU Extension and the local Health Department, and encourages community members to get active using a variety of means. Some activities it uses to motivate West Virginians towards an active lifestyle include daily summer recreational activities and educational classes like Stress Less with Mindfulness and Dining with Diabetes.
After the 16-week program, awards are given to those who achieved their goals or performed well.
But wellness education and healthy living doesn’t stop there. Taylor explains the use of new ways to get Jackson county residents excited about how to live well and to get an active lifestyle.
“We’re using technology, like mobile apps, to encourage members of the community to get active,” remarked Taylor.
Apps, like Everybody Walks, puts a technological twist on the local community’s nature trail. The app allows users to track their progress while walking the trail. Taylor says that an interactive map with activities at specific points along the trail is in the works.
“This program is just one way we’re working with local organizations to offer community members new ways of living a healthier, more active lifestyle,” said Taylor.
Taylor has worked for WVU Extension since 2000 where she began as a 4-H youth development agent in Wood County. She also held positions at West Virginia State University as a specialist and a program leader in 4-H youth development.
She is currently a doctoral candidate in Higher Education Administration at Marshall University, earned a master’s degree in Education and bachelor’s degree in Economics from Mary Baldwin College in Virginia.
Taylor has a husband, Matt, and one son, Carter.
To contact Taylor, e-mail Gina.Taylor@mail.wvu.edu or call 304-372-8199.