Writer: Linda Anderson, (979) 862-1460,firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLEGE STATION - A 75-year-old Texas tradition will be celebrated this year at the annual state conference of Texas Extension Education Association Inc. The event, set for Sept. 11-13 at the Hilton Conference Center in College Station, will mark the milestone anniversary of a group founded to provide continuing education for women.
The conference will include tours of the Bush Library and Museum, Blue Bell Creamery, Antique Rose Emporium, Messina Hof Winery, Joy Pottery and the Texas A&M University campus.
Lorie K. Eckert, motivational speaker, will give a program during the Sept. 12 general session. Afterwards, educational seminars and options workshops will be available.
On Sept. 13, leadership lessons, general business session, and an installation banquet will complete the conference.
Although officially begun in August 1926 as the Texas Home Demonstration Association, TEEA’s roots go back farther than that. According to information from Kay Chastain of Emory, president of the organization, TEEA can be linked the work of Edna Trigg, who was appointed the first Texas home demonstration agent in 1912. Working with farm girls and their mothers, Mrs. Trigg taught the best methods of growing, preparing and canning tomatoes.
In the meantime, national legislation supporting Extension work in agriculture and home economics was before Congress. The Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service in 1914, was accepted by the Texas legislature in 1915. That year, Texas A&M College was authorized to administer Cooperative Extension Service in Texas, which was named Texas Agricultural Extension Service.
Maggie Wilkins Hill Barry was appointed Extension specialist in rural women’s organizations in 1918, and served as liaison between Extension and women’s groups in Texas. Recognizing the need for a countywide organization to meet the needs of home demonstration work, she organized a council in 1924, which led to the organization of a council in each of the nine Extension districts established at that time.
In 1926, state home demonstration agent Mildred Horton helped club members to found the Texas Home Demonstration Association when 399 women attended a Farmer’s Short Course at Texas A&M. The original purpose was to establish an annual scholarship for a 4-H girl and to learn the principles of parliamentary procedure.
The first scholarship for $200 was awarded in 1927. Since then the number of scholarships given annually has grown to nine, and the amount of each has grown to $1,000.
District meetings were organized in 1930, and in 1931, under Barry’s guidance, the Texas Home Demonstration Association was reorganized and adopted a new constitution and bylaws.
During the Depression years, members learned ways to save money for their families and gained some vital social contacts for themselves. With World War II rationing, members learned about recipes using available ingredients.
By the 1970s, new clubs in urban, as well as rural, communities were forming. In 1979, the state organization changed its name to Texas Extension Homemakers’ Association, with local clubs being called Extension Homemakers’ Clubs.
In 1993, members voted to change the name to Texas Association for Family and Community Education. This action was taken when the National Extension Homemakers Council Inc. changed its name to National Association for Family and Community Education.
Last year the Texas organization members voted to disaffiliate from the national association, and changed its name to Texas Extension Education Association Inc. Information from Mrs. Chastain states: “The mission of the Texas Extension Education Association Inc. is to work with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service to strengthen and enrich families through educational programs, leadership development and community service.”
TEEA is affiliated with Associated Country Women of the World and Country Women’s Council.
For information on how to register for the conference, contact local Extension offices.