When I spoke with 4-H member, Sidonna, on the phone, I was blown away by our conversation. She shared with me the story of her most recent Public Presentation, which she did on the wild horses of the Outer Banks and the growing problem of the tourism industry. In that half hour that we spoke, I was impressed by the level of insight that she had on this issue and inspired by her words and the work she did/continues to do.
If you do a quick Google Image search of “outer banks wild horses,” it is easy to see why people are so drawn to them: they are absolutely majestic and beautiful. Their wild essence contrasts with our familiar understanding of horses as trained animals, and the notion of seeing them in their natural wild habitat is very alluring. However, the ease with which we are captivated by the wild horses has led to a very profitable and problematic industry of tourism in the area.
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I received an email from Vaughn’s 4-H Club leader, who thought his work coaching robotics would be a good story to share with other 4-H members. When I contacted Vaughn, he was very willing to share his story but, as is the case with many 4-H members, he had a very busy schedule! Luckily, we were able to communicate through email and I learned a great amount about his interesting project.
Vaughn’s story is about after-school robotics groups that are part of the First Lego League. The First Lego League, or FLL, is a robotics program with a presence in sixty countries around the world. There are various competition regions and teams work on building robots to perform certain challenges. According to the FLL website, it is “designed to get children excited about science and technology — and teach them valuable employment and life skills.”
It seems that it certainly did that for Vaughn– he once participated in the program as a competitor, from 2006-2009, and has recently decided to continue with robotics, but in the ever important role as coach. When the 4-H robotics team began and was in need of a coach, he figured he had past experience with FLL and volunteered to assume that role.
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While most of the area schools were on Spring Break, CCE Clinton and Essex Counties had our first ever Archery Camp. Thirteen 4-H members spent their week off from school learning archery and environmental science at Gander Mountain.
Each morning, the group started with a team-building activity. After that, they split up into two groups: one headed to the archery range and the other did an environmental activity in the Gander Mountain classroom.
At the archery range, Mr. Lance and Ms. Debbie taught the members all things archery: the parts of the bow, proper handling and form, how to gear up, technique, aiming, safety and even the commands to follow. The 4-Hers learned important terminology and phrases, like nock your arrows. One day, the club members made a human bow, using their bodies to create a bow together. While they practiced shooting with real bows and arrows, they were able to try at different distances and even played some fun games, like tic-tac-toe and trying to pop balloons!
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Interviewed by Kim La Reau, AmeriCorps Member
Meet Helena, an active young person, with a busy schedule that goes beyond the borders of 4-H. I met with her last weekend to talk about her upcoming Public Presentation, which will be the 6th one she has given. The topic she has chosen for this year is a unique and interesting one: Vaulting, or gymnastics on horseback, as she helps me understand it as a non-horse person.
When she describes it this way, I am so immediately enthralled that I think I ask a million different questions– each of which she fields without hesitation. It seems she knows everything about vaulting and in our short interview, she covers an impressive amount: from the history, to safety, equipment, pricing, types of horses, horse training, practicing, skills, teams, competitions, and more.
Clearly, Helena has already done a great deal of research. And she’s so wonderful at relaying these facts to me, I could tell you all of these things I learned– but I’ll leave that fun for Helena. (You can hear about it next month at Public Presentations!) The story I have to tell you is about the accomplishments she has had in doing her project, rather than the information in her project. It is one that describes the spirit of 4-H club members and the self-discovery they often come across in their 4-H experiences.
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This past fall there has been talk about building a 4-H milk stand.
4-H Leaders, Julie & Steve Ives and Linda Gillilland have graciously agreed to host a clinic on how to build a goat / sheep stand on March 2 at 1 pm here at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Westport. I have a set of directions in the office if you would like one beforehand. RSVP before Feb 28th, a must in case of bad weather, & if no one RSVP’s this event will be cancelled.
For additional information please contact Linda Gillilland, 4-H Resource Educator.
phone: 518.962.4810 ext. 416
December 26 and 29: Extra Meeting Days. FLL team meet both days to work on robot design. We are trying to make a stable robot with working sensors. There was also horse bowl practice these two days.
December 20: Some of the group met at the Third Age Day Care in the morning to perform a Christmas Cantata for the senior citizens. Several of the students also performed music on the piano, violin and guitar. Tow of the members sang solos. At the regular meeting time, Alexa handed out awards for last year’s work. Congratulations to all the Chipmunks. Everyone did a wonderful job. Exploring Our World- We learned about healthy breakfasts. We made smoothies, raisin bran muffins, banana wraps, and wraps with eggs and veggies. (Anthony Y) Robotics- We continued working on improving our robot design. (Trent Y) Theater- We practiced the play.
December 13: Exploring Our World- We continued our cooking class. We learned about healthy snacks. We made healthier brownies, pumpkin squares and scones. (Anthony Y) Robotics- We worked on redesigning our robot. We formed two groups and each group designed a robot. We were planning on doing a race to see which was better but one robot was too wide. We continued to design our robot. (Trent Y) Theater- We practiced the play.
December 6: We had Holiday Gift Day. We made different presents. Some of the older kids made live wreaths, fabric tie wreaths, cloth shopping bags with french seams and canned dessert topping. Other members also made decorated handkerchiefs, pomander balls, and origami star ornaments. The youngest members made seasonal wall hangings, canned dessert topping, bookmarks, dip mix, hot cocoa mix and decorated handkerchiefs.
December 1: Northern New York FLL Robotics Challenge. Our team won 1st place overall – The Grand Championship award! We have been invited to The World Festival in St. Lois, MO. The team was really, really surprised!
7 December: Noah called the meeting of the Flocking Together Sheep Group to order. Hannah made a healthy homemade chicken soup and talked about the benefits of a homemade soup versus a store bought soup. We talked about the service projects we wanted to do. We planned to sing a Horace Nye nursing home but it was canceled due to weather and illness. During the teaching time we talked about parasites management.
We made changes to our leadership team:
President- Noah I.
Vice President- Liam S.
Secretary/Reporter- Grace S.
Healthy Living Coordinator- Hannah I.
Photographer- Daniel I.
Healthy Living Assistants: Hazel I. and Miriam S.
Photography Assistant: Gideon S.
Attendance Secretary: Zadoc I.
Vice President Katie L. opened the December monthly business meeting as President Johnna M. wasn’t present.
We voted on a club name and decided on ‘Rodeo Rednecks’
We discussed more on what we’re doing for a public presentation.
The helmet safety video has been watched by one of the two members who need to watch it and it will be passed on soon to the other member.
Two of our members – Maddy L. and Rose T.- will be going to the Horsebowl and Hippology event at Miner Institute.
The meeting was closed by the Vice President.
19 November: Flocking Together Sheep Group had their first meeting of the year in Lewis. The group decided to charter and become an official group, but need to figure out how that will work because of the members being enrolled in two counties– Clinton and Essex. The group had their first bushiness meeting. They reviewed the basic rules of order and making motions and decided what topics they want to cover and how often they wanted to meet. They decided to meet 2 times a month on Friday afternoons. They will meet in Lewis and Peaseleville. The December craft project will be a felted nativity book. The group choose the following officers:
President: Noah I.
Vice President: Grace S.
Secretary: Daniel I.
Treasurer: Elijah I.
Reporter: Liam S.
Choose Health: Hannah I.
Choose Health- Hazel I. and Miriam S.
After their business meeting, the JR and SRs went out side and learned to sheer a sheep using electric clippers with the sheep in a stand. Ewe lamb Essie got her first “haircut.” As they worked, together they figured out how to make the job more efficient with better results.