The West Virginia Community Educational Outreach Service organization is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its beginning in 1914.
In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act created federal, state and county funding for the advancement of agriculture and a Division of Home Economics within the United States Department of Agriculture through the state land-grant university - WVU.
Congressman Lever felt they had focused efforts on the farm man and his animals, and they should now give attention to the wives and daughters. This 1914 bill's purpose was to bring the female members of the household the principles of homemaking and management.
West Virginia's first home demonstration agent - or home advisor - was Miss A.J. Kersey.
Kersey helped organize the first documented Farm Women's Club in West Virginia on Dec. 14, 1914, in Ohio County. This Valley Grove Farm Women's Club started with 12 members and still is an active club today.
There have been name changes of the organization through its history, but the mission has remained the same: "The mission of the West Virginia Community Educational Outreach Service is to strengthen individuals and families through continuing education, leadership development and community involvement for the betterment of all."
The organization partners with West Virginia University to strengthen, develop, coordinate and extend adult education to everyone, and membership is open to all.
CEOS welcomes new clubs and new members. The 255 clubs in the state are located across 45 counties. There are extension offices in each county where individuals can locate the closest club to their vicinity.
A state conference is hosted yearly at Jackson's Mill in Weston. The 2014 date is Oct. 7-9. There are educational classes and guest speakers during the event.
For more CEOS information, visit ceos.ext.wvu.edu or ext.wvu.edu.
WVCEOS vice president