After a one-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky Extension Homemakers Association held the organization’s 87th annual State Meeting June 22-23, 2021, at the Sloan Convention Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky. More than 300 attendees from across the state, including 44 first-time attendees, took part in an agenda amended in the interest of health and safety. The “Adventure Awaits” theme was most fitting given that plans had been on-hold for more than a year. 

Karen Hill, KEHA President shared, “After not being able to see our KEHA friends for over a year, the halls and rooms were filled with laughter and smiling faces all day and night.” A positive energy and genuine excitement could be felt throughout the venue.

The shortened agenda included a reduced number of seminar sessions, the annual business meeting, officer and chairman training sessions, and the annual cultural arts contest. Because time and space limitations meant judging only for cultural arts, a video was prepared to provide an opportunity to view entries and it is accessible at this link.

A sense of celebration was felt throughout the meeting, but most definitely during the opening banquet and closing luncheon. Christie Thomas McGuire, Taylor County native and sports broadcaster with the UK Network, shared entertaining, thoughtful, and inspiring stories of her career journey in a male predominant industry during the opening banquet. At the closing luncheon, Dr. Laura Stephenson, Associate Dean and Director, UK Cooperative Extension, thanked KEHA members for their support of Extension, continued positive impacts in communities across Kentucky, and exceptional response to calls to service during the pandemic.

Two fundraising activities conducted as part of the meeting yielded more than $5,100 to support designated projects. Through a silent auction, $2,454 was raised to aide in hosting the National Volunteer Outreach Network Conference this year. The area theme-basket raffle generated $2,736 to add to the contributions to the UK Ovarian Cancer Research and Screening Program. Dr. Edward Pavlik, Ovarian Cancer Screening Research Director, attended the opening banquet and was presented with a check for $27,227. This year’s check raised KEHA’s lifetime contribution to UK’s Ovarian Cancer Program to more than $1.5 million.

The 88th KEHA State Meeting will be held May 3-5, 2022, at the Owensboro Convention Center. The organization looks forward to returning to a three-day schedule and open attendance opportunity next year. In the words of Karen Hill, KEHA President, “If you were not able to be there this year, we are planning an even bigger and better State Meeting for 2022. We hope to see everyone then!”