Last week was a whirlwind week, from which I think my body is still attempting to recover.
I headed out on Monday to make it to Omaha in time for a quick adjustment and some dry needling, followed by a dinner meeting. Spent the following morning with my adorable niece and nephew for a quick visit before I headed to the airport.
The mission was a quick trip to Washington to lobby on behalf for Nebraska Humanities. I’ve served on the Nebraska Humanities Council for a year, and so I was pleasantly surprised when I was asked to join our Executive Director and the Nebraska Humanities Foundation Chair for the Humanities on the Hill.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) was founded in 1965. Every state has a Humanities Council, and a large percentage of the states were represented in Washington, D.C. Out of the (NEH) budget, around $54 million is sent to the state councils to be used for administration costs, programming, grants, etc.
Nebraska Humanities receives a portion of that, which they use along with funds that have been raised by fundraising efforts, and a couple other sources of income, to provide grants to nonprofits organization conducting humanities programs, a Speakers Bureau with nearly 300 programs available, Chautauqua, Capitol Forum, Prime Time Family Reading Time, Nebraska Warrior Writers, Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities and many other programs.
The great thing about Nebraska Humanities is that the programming is spread all over the state, with the western part (and I mean the actual western part, not Grand Island) having significant programs and grants comparable to those of the eastern part.
Along with spending a full day Wednesday on the “Hill” visiting with all of the delegation and attending my ever-favorite Nebraska Breakfast, we were able to interact with other state humanities councils.
One of my favorite discussion was with the executive director of the Alaska Humanities Forum, where they face challenges of large mass with few population, half of which lives within Anchorage. Bush pilots and transportation cost by ferry and airplane are a norm as the staff and speakers transverse the state. Some interesting facts that I was unaware of is that there are 227 federally-recognized tribes that live in Alaska, and in Anchorage alone, there are over 100 languages spoken in the Anchorage School District.
The Nebraska delegation has been a strong supporter of Nebraska Humanities and the programs that we support, so our job was mostly to just say thank you, give an update on what’s been going on this last year, and a quick plug for budget appropriations for 2021.
It’s always great to see our representation in D.C., and for them to take out time of their incredibly busy schedules to sit down and converse with us is something I’m always grateful for.
Thursday morning I flew back to Omaha. If anyone was in eastern Nebraska last Thursday, there was a little … bit … of … wind. Eppley Airfield was a dust whiteout, and our flight came in resembling a paper airplane.
With the weather and mechanical issues, I was running behind and made it from the plane to the Union Pacific building in right at 20 minutes. There was a long afternoon of meetings in Omaha, and the following morning, I ventured home before dawn to try and catch back up on all that occurred during my time being gone after a very successful and worthwhile trip.
Over a month ago, I talked about the struggles of mental health and mental health issues for those in rural areas. With the economy taking a nosedive these last couple weeks, this will continue to become a greater topic for all of us.
On March 17 at noon CST, the Nebraska Cattlemen in conjunction with UNL Extension is hosting a webinar that is open to all. The webinar will focus on recognizing symptoms in ourselves and others, understanding how chronic stress affects us and learning coping strategies, how to talk to someone experience chronic stress, how to approach a conversation if you feel someone is suicidal, and where to turn for help.
Considering that ranchers and farmers are a tough bunch, sometimes we don’t want others to know what we may be experiencing, and this is the opportunity to find some guidance in a topic that is still seen as taboo by many.
To participate, the link is: zoom.us/j/283190186.
Like always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or if you or someone you know would like to seek help confidentially, call the Rural Response Hotline at 800-464-0258.
Jaclyn Wilson is more than a rancher, raising Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Nebraska. She’s an artist with a welder’s torch. She holds leadership positions with several agriculture organizations. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.