Betsy Crisp is named southern regional award winner
By B.C. Manion
One day, she might be helping a group of nurses learn how to balance the demands of their work and daily home life.
On another day, she’s teaching a class on cooking with herbs and spices.
On other days, she’s checking in with the sewing club, helping people learn ways to stretch their food dollar, or providing pointers on energy conservation.
Betsy Crisp has worked for 23 years for the University of Florida’s Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences – Pasco Cooperative Extension.
During those years, she has dedicated herself to using the power of education to help improve the lives of individuals and families in Pasco County.
The National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences honored Crisp for her work during the organization’s national meeting in Albuquerque, N.M., where Crisp was named the Southern Region Extension award winner.
The honor comes on top of the Florida Educator of the Year award that Crisp received from Extensions Professionals Associations of Florida in Lake Buena Vista in August.
Both awards recognize the Land O’ Lakes woman’s contributions during her diverse career with the Florida Cooperative Extension Service.
For more than two decades, Crisp has been involved in a diverse range of activities. She delivers lectures and has face-to-face interactions with thousands of people each year.
She’s played a significant role in food and nutrition programs, has been heavily involved in recycling programs and has taught scores of courses aimed at improving the life of those she’s teaching.
BJ Jarvis, director of the Pasco Cooperative Extension, wrote a letter supporting Crisp’s nomination for the award. She cited Crisp’s educational efforts in three key areas: nutrition and food safety; sustainability; and employee development.
“Under Ms. Crisp’s direction, Pasco adults and youth are making great strides toward healthier lifestyles in part due to a Food and Nutrition Program – USDA grant program.
Betsy’s well-designed and executed programs are making a real impact in Pasco County,” Jarvis wrote.
Julie B. England, a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent 1 in Lake County, also offered glowing remarks about Crisp in a nomination letter.
“Betsy regularly presents at state events, but where she really shines is at a personal level. She is a natural leader and willing to take the time to assist other agents, especially newer agents,” England wrote.
The accolades are gratifying, Crisp said, but she’s most interested in getting the word out about the programs offered through Florida Cooperative Extension.
The organization has a long name, but a clear mission, Crisp said.
“We help people help themselves through education. We don’t regulate. We educate. Our focus is on education.”
When she got her job, her children didn’t understand what she did, Crisp said. So, she thought of a simple way to explain it to them.
“I’m a teacher,” she told her children.
“Where is your classroom?” they asked.
“All of Pasco County,” Crisp responded.
Her organization offers an immense source of help for people as they navigate their daily lives, Crisp said. But it doesn’t have a particularly high profile, she acknowledged.
“Extension is the best-kept secret there is,” Crisp said.
Crisp said there’s no such thing as a typical day in her work life.
Generally, she’s in her office from about 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. After that, she’s all over Pasco County.
“My schedule fluctuates so much because I’m out in the community,” said Crisp, who believes that her desire to serve the public stems from the influence of her parents, who were both directors of public health.
Over the years, Crisp has turned to her husband, Paul and their two children, Megan and Michael, to help with various community activities in the county.
It’s a busy life, but a life she seems to love.
To find out more about programs and activities offered by UF/IFAS-Pasco County Extension, call Crisp at (813) 996-2411, Ext. 2456; (352) 523-2411, Ext. 2456, or check out the organization’s website at http://pasco.ifas.ufl.edu/
/Stretching food dollars
–Check to see what you have on hand at home before you shop. This helps with stock rotation and helps you determine what you need to buy with the money you have to spend.
–Check grocery store advertisements, clip coupons, and check couponing websites to get the best deals. Buy fresh fruits and veggies when they are in season.
–Plan your meals for at least one week, or even up to a month. Be sure to make a shopping list and don’t forget to plan for healthy snacks, too.
–Shop when the stores aren’t as crowded and alone, if possible. This will save time and by shopping alone can reduce impulse buying often prompted by children or spouses.
–Avoid shopping when you are tired or hungry. That will help you stick to your priorities and will give you more energy and will power to stick to your shopping list.
–Be sure to compare prices.
–Give store brand products a try. Some of them are better than name brands.
–Try the store brand products. Some are better than name brands.
Source: Betsy Crisp, of the Extension Family & Consumer Faculty of Pasco County