4-H Fix

April 21st, 2017 7:00 AM
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Where Are They Now: Kathy Watier

By Ron Drum, Statewide 4-H Program Professional/Associate Director 4-H Resource Development

As I am able to collect the information, I will, upon occasion, post additions to a series I’m calling “Where are they now?” This post is the first of what I hope will be many such posts and tells the story about Maine 4‑H alum Katherine Watier Ong.

What a way to start! So let’s get started.

Katherine Watier Ong

Katherine Watier Ong

Kathy Watier was, and still is, one of the strongest leaders I know. In 1995, when she was graduating from 4-H at age 19, I wrote:

I believe her strongest talent is her Leadership ability. I call this a “talent” as leadership comes so naturally to her that I believe she is one of the few “born” leaders. Give her a cause and she will strive to carry it as far as it can go. Tell her it can’t be done, and she will work all that much harder to prove otherwise.

Oh, and I wasn’t alone in my evaluation of Kathy! Her County 4-H Agent, Carney McRae, once said, “Kathy is a gifted student and capable of accomplishing any goals or dreams that she has. … Kathy exhibits outstanding leadership skills. She is not afraid to tackle any project.”

Ronald Dolloff, her high school Principal, wrote of her, “She is an outstanding student leader, a thinker, an innovator, an organizer, a doer. … In my twenty-three years as principal, I have found it unusual to have a young person manifest the keen perceptiveness, the ability, and the desire to undertake the ‘impossible.’ Her determination is unmatched. … Once given the green light, she’s off! Great things happen!”

Her high school English teacher, Jean Lawrence, wrote, “Kathy is one of the most ambitious young women I have taught over the past twenty-seven years. She constantly sets goals and moves with dispatch and a methodical approach to achieve them. … She is a very strong leader, a plus for most situations …. She is one of a kind and very special.”

Her high school math teacher, H. Paul Forrest, added, “The staff at Medomak Valley feels that when a woman is finally elected president, it will be Katherine Watier.”

I told you I wasn’t alone in my evaluation! Kathy was a 4-H Member who was fun to work with and got things done. Someone once asked me how I found it possible to put my career so often into the hands of teens! Read on and you’ll see that with teens like Kathy, the odds were in my favor!

I think I first connected with Kathy when she was 17. She interviewed for, and then was chosen to attend, the 1993 National 4-H Conference, a delegation I chaperoned. On the way home from Washington, D.C., she mentioned her desire for a statewide 4-H Teen Conference. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard such a request. I hadn’t been in Maine “the first time” very long, in fact, before I began to hear about teens wanting to have a state 4-H leadership discovery/learning event, better known as a Teen Conference.

The Maine delegates that attended National 4-H Congress in 1992, the first Maine 4-H delegation I chaperoned, were the first to suggest a state 4-H Teen Conference on the trip home from Chicago and I had only been on the job for a little more than a month at that time! Then I heard it again from the teens that attended the National 4‑H Conference in April 1993, specifically, from Kathy. “We want a Leadership event for teens, where we can sleep overnight, attend workshops, and have a dance and a banquet, and get to know each other,” she told me. She said it was one of her goals for Maine to have such an event. I soon learned, as noted above, that when this individual says something is one of her goals, it will happen!

As it turned out, Kathy was already part of a team in Knox-Lincoln County that had been planning and implementing a teen conference since 1989, which they called “The Mid-Coast 4-H Teen Conference.”

Experience counts! So, the first thing I did was to meet with Kathy to hear more of her thoughts about this idea and to develop a plan for making it happen. Based on that discussion, I promised to get the 4‑H system excited about a state 4-H Teen Conference and she agreed to help find a group of teens to be on the planning committee. It snowballed from there.

Primarily due to, and through her leadership, Maine held the first statewide 4-H Teen Conference that had been held in Maine since 1982 on June 23-26, 1994; the first ever, BTW, to be planned and implemented by a committee of teens. Not only that, but these teens planned it using online meeting technology, which was new to Maine at that time, allowing the committee to bounce its ideas off teens from across Maine, both to build a stronger conference and to build excitement for participation. To my knowledge, it was the first time something like this was ever attempted, especially by teens, in Maine or elsewhere!

After conducting a highly successful conference, the planning committee organized itself into a State 4-H Teen Council, which planned and implemented wonderfully successful, annual conferences into the 2000’s. Since I left Maine in 1999, I’m uncertain how long this program continued but in the five years I worked with it, the teens, following the model established during Kathy’s tenure, included something special each year. During the 1994 conference, for example, and due largely to Kathy’s leadership, the teens held an international meeting about 4-H via a US Aid Satellite connection with representatives from Costa-Rica and Thailand (we wanted Botswana to join the meeting as well, but they were unable to do so due to technical difficulties).

In the “post-Kathy” years, the teens made US Representative John Baldacci, who later served as Governor of Maine, an honorary Maine 4‑H Member; listened to, learned from, performed with, and enjoyed the music and stories offered by Abu the Flute Maker, an African-American artist from Baltimore, Maryland, who uses discarded items, such as bottles, cans and boxes, even bedposts and porch columns, to make musical instruments — the ultimate reuse, recycle lesson; and spread throughout Orono and Bangor to perform community service projects. All this was in addition to sleeping in the dorms, attending learning sessions, having banquets, and holding dances — just like the original concept first proposed by Kathy Watier back in 1993.

Katherine Watier Ong as a young 4-Her

See? She was making bread even back THEN! Bad pun. Sorry.

Kathy joined 4-H in 1983, when she was just 7. Her aunt, and babysitter, organized a 4-H Club that year whose members included, in addition to Kathy, her brother Matt and four cousins. They called their club the Pine Needles 4-H Club of Union, Maine. She was the club secretary that first year and then served as Club President the following year, when she was EIGHT. When asked recently what 4-H projects she took as a 4-H member, she responded, “I had a variety of traditional 4-H projects (sheep, baking, sewing, pigs, chickens, ducks, gardening, woodworking, etc). But when I turned 13 I got involved in different 4-H projects.”

Hmm, she apparently is also a master of understatement.

When she was 13, in 1989, she got involved with the planning and implementation of the Mid-Coast 4-H Teen Conference and stayed with that until we organized the state 4-H Teen Conference in 1994. When she learned that the world was losing its rainforests — thousands of acres of forests being cut down and burned to make land available for cattle farming — she made it a goal to put a stop to it … or, at least, slow it down! And remember what I said about what happens when she says something is a goal!

First, she learned all she could about the rainforests and their plight and then, now armed with this knowledge, started to educate her friends and classmates about the issue and its global consequences. Then at age 16, she started what she refers to as her “4-H project,” a nonprofit called “The Rainforest Challenge.” Through this organization, she educated more young people about the plight of the rainforests and motivated them to take action, to purchase acres of the tropical rainforest through “The Children’s Rainforest” in Costa Rica and the “Rainforest Preservation Fund” in Brazil, to help save the forests.

In fact, it had always been a dream (should I say “goal”?) of hers to travel to Costa-Rica to see the rainforest and, over Valentine’s Day, 2009, she and her brother, Matt, did just that. In fact, he met his future bride, they since married, on that trip.

You would think that with such deep involvement and success in saving our environment someone would have taken notice! Well, actually, they did. Maine 4-H sent her to National 4-H Congress in 1993 as its State Citizenship Winner and of the County 4-H Awards 4-H Members in Knox-Lincoln County can hope to earn, one is called the “Katherine Watier GREEN Award.”

If you are interested in winning the Katherine Watier Green Award, according to the Knox-Lincoln County 4-H Office, in addition to being a 4-H Member, here is the skinny:

Katherine Watier Green Award: This is an individual or group award chosen from project records, 4-H Resume, Portfolio, and 4-H volunteer recommendation. This individual promotes sound environmental practices and serves as a role model to others. Each applicant shall present in their project record or in 4-H story form, how they use the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” practice or other sound environmental practices in their project. This can include photos, drawings, videos, public speaking, etc.

Hmm, I wonder why no one has ever named an award after me!

So, did she leave 4-H behind after “graduating” from 4-H membership? Not likely! In addition to serving on the planning committees for both National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Conference (not sure about Congress but she was certainly the first Maine teen to serve on the Conference Planning Committee), she made 4-H part of her undergraduate studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts! Knowing that 4-H, nationally, has traditionally struggled with keeping teenagers involved, she researched the problem for her social psychology bachelor’s degree thesis. After being awarded her B.S., another goal reached, she moved to Washington, D.C. to work on a National 4-H Council Internship followed by a yearlong assignment as a member of Council’s staff.

“I then started (and completed) a graduate program [Master’s Degree] at Georgetown University focused on tech marketing and business.” Did I mention that thing about Kathy being a master of understatement? You see, her Master’s Thesis, and this was LONG before stuff like Google Glass came along, was looking at consumer adoption of wearable computers! Oh, and BTW, this appears to have been the first consumer study ever done of individual interest in wearable computers. She continues:

I did my graduate program while working and transitioned to solely focusing on digital marketing — initially for non-profits here in DC (where I spent 10 years of my career) and then as the VP of Online Strategy and Market Insights at Ketchum — running their digital marketing and analytics practice to service their clients globally. For the last almost two years I’ve been running my own business, Watier Ong Strategies where I provide digital marketing strategy, coaching, and training to clients looking to increase their organic search exposure. Some of my clients have included cancer.gov, rollcall.com, wattagnet.com, Razoo.com, and Motory.com.

Harry and Kathy on their wedding day

Harry and Kathy

Did I mention she got married at some point along the way? No? Well, she did. That happened on August 10, 2012, when she married Harry Ong, who, she says, “Isn’t a slouch either.” Kathy explains,

Harry is a professional clarinetist playing with the President’s Own Marine Band. Its primary mission is to provide music to the White House and the Commandant of the Marine Corp. There were about 150 professional clarinetists who auditioned when he won his spot with the band. You’ll see them providing music for the inauguration or state arrivals.

Did I mention they have children? No? Yup, that too! Katherine and Harry are the proud parents of 2 1/2-year-old future 4-H’er, Abigail, a real cutie for sure!

Oh, the terrible twos. I remember them well. Not mine! My son’s! But I digress.

AND just in February this year, this little family went from three to FOUR! Another little girl, future 4‑H’er Annabelle Veronica, joined the bunch at 10:47 p.m. on February 5th, weighing 6 pounds and 10 ounces!

She’s a little cutie, too!

So when Kathy is NOT working, caring for her family, or reminiscing about 4-H, what keeps her busy? Well, in between pregnancies, she dances! “My ultimate passion is dancing. I started dancing at age 4, and spent years dancing with People to People in Maine,” she says. In DC she hung out at Joy of Motion studios until this latest pregnancy, and some ankle issues, slowed her down. “I hope to get back into it after I get (yet more) physical therapy. Luckily my physical therapist is a former professional dancer, so I’m in good hands.”

I’m afraid my pregnant life, with a toddler, and running a business is quite boring. :-) However, we are taking Abbey to dance lessons (she loves dancing and music — I wonder where she gets that from?) and we take family walks with our 8-year-old mixed Lab Sammy. Most of our free time now is attempting to catch up with our friends and family. We travel somewhat regularly to see our in-laws in Maine and Seattle, and we yearly make a trip to LA to see our “extended family” where the family (and Abbey) gets to experience the joy of Disney and I get my beach time.

BTW, when I used the words “future 4-H’er” a few paragraphs ago, I wasn’t kidding! Kathy promises that when Abbey and Annabelle reach “4-H Age,” 4-H will be one of their “out-of-school-time” activities, for sure! Why? Because Kathy says that she wants Abbey and Annabelle to experience what she experienced!

For her, 4‑H “was critical to my development and granted me travel opportunities and experiences that I would not have had otherwise coming from a rural area.” Furthermore, she says that, “4-H taught me leadership and public speaking skills, organizational skills, how to create a strategic plan, apply for grant funding, pitch the press, package and promote a program — along with basic life skills related to farming and Home Ec, etc.

And then she adds, “I credit 4-H for who I am today.

Which means that 4-H can be VERY proud of itself!

Next month, on May 12, Where are they now? will reintroduce you to Maine 4-H Alum Sarah Stoodley!

Were you a 4-H Member?

4-H emblemUMaine 4-H wants to hear your story. Please take a moment to fill out our short form and Tell Us Your Story! And don’t forget! Go to 4-H.org/RaiseYourHand to vote for MAINE and show your pride as a MAINE 4-H alum!

Click here to learn how to support UMaine 4-H.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension conducts the state’s most successful out-of-school youth educational program through 4-H, a positive youth development program that has been empowering young people in Maine to reach their full potential since 1913.

4-H Fix

April 7th, 2017 7:00 AM
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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

By Ron Drum, Statewide 4-H Program Professional/Associate Director 4-H Resource Development

Were you a 4-H Member? UMaine 4-H wants to hear your story. Please take a moment to fill out our short form and Tell Us Your Story!

No, this blog post isn’t done, but you are correct that this is how I usually end my 4-H Fix posts! BTW, thanks for knowing that! It means you’ve been reading them all the way through to the end! :-)

So whatsup with that question?

In an effort to be totally transparent, I’ll tell you! Obviously, we want to hear from former 4-H’ers, YOU, our 4‑H ALUMNI.

OK, wait a moment. I don’t know about you but, frankly, this whole business about what version of this word to use and when to use it is, for me at least, a tad overwhelming; confusing to say the least. Is it alum, alums, alumni, alumnae, you say po-TA-to, I’ll say po-TAH-to; yikes, just what IS right? Latin. SMH.

So I looked up “alumni” in the online Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary. Here is what I found:

Full Definition of alumnus

plural alumni

1: a person who has attended or has graduated from a particular school, college, or university

2: a person who is a former member, employee, contributor, or inmate

“INMATE”!? Even so, I guess former 4-H’ers fall under #2. Then it goes on to say:

Many people are comfortable using the word alumni to refer to someone who was a student of a particular school. However, others feel quite strongly that this is an error and that the following forms should be used: alumnus (for one male), alumni (for multiple males, or for a mix of males and females), alumna (for one female), and alumnae (for multiple females). The shortened form alum and its plural form alums began to be used in the 19th Century. Initially, alum was widely viewed as highly colloquial or informal, but is increasing in use as a gender-neutral alternative.

Ahhh. “Gender neutral alternative.” I like that. That means I don’t have to remember which version to use, -ni or -na or ‑nae or -nus. Just “alum” or, if there are many, “alums.” Simple. Yes. I like that. Besides, it’s been used since the 19th Century and I had ancestors in the 19th Century and who wants to argue with ANCESTORS? Not ME! Alum(s) it is!

So back to the question at hand. We (4-H) really haven’t done a very good job over the years of keeping track of our (Ready?) ALUMS! — that is, our 4-H members after they left 4‑H. Reality is that a very few, but only a few, states have! But we’ve seen the error of our ways. We want to reconnect with our ALUMS. There is even a national push to reconnect with former 4-H’ers. It started last year with a national web page where you can register as a 4-H Alum and there is even a national spokesperson to encourage you to do so (Former Georgia 4-H Member and now Country Music Icon Jennifer Nettles)

We (UMaine 4-H) do also, well, at least we have the place to register! (Tell Us Your Story!)

And if you were a 4-H Member in a state other than Maine, I bet that state has a place where you can register because they want to hear from you as well!

NOW there is even a NATIONAL CONTEST you can “enter” that will help you identify yourself as a 4-H alum! Here is how it works:

4-H alums from across the nation are being asked to raise their hands to support the next generation of true leaders. Every alum’s raised hand is a vote towards a $20,000 award for the 4-H state with the most alum hands raised. So if Maine gets enough hands raised, Maine 4-H will get the 20 grand!

Want to “Raise Your Hand” for Maine? Here is what to do:

  1. Raise Your Hand: Go to 4-H.org/RaiseYourHand to show your pride as a 4-H alum and vote for MAINE!
  1. It’s all about MAINE: Raising your hand is a vote towards a $20,000 award for the state with the most alums’ hands raised, which, in this case, will be MAINE! Second place gets $10,000 and third place gets $5,000.
  1. Pay it Forward: Tweet, post and share your #4HGrown experience or support and tag fellow alums asking them to raise their hands for MAINE (or, in a show of good sportsmanship, for their state if not MAINE :-) ) at 4-H.org/RaiseYourHand.

So why? What’s all the ruckus about?

Well, three things actually. Money is one of them. Truth be told, if you tell us you were once a 4-H member, someone, like me, is probably going to ask you to donate money to help support the 4-H program of today. If you went to the National 4-H Alumni web page noted earlier, you probably noticed a large, orange “flag” in the upper right corner of the page that included one word: DONATE.

screen shot of National 4-H Alumni website

The theory is that someone who falls into the “Alum” category, probably has a job or perhaps has reached the age of retirement, so, the theory continues, has the ability to offer financial support to the program that helped shape his or her life. And, knowing what it has done for you, who wouldn’t want to support it so it (4-H, that is) can do for the young people of today the same as it did for you “back in the day”? Right?

And, BTW, if you want to do that, to donate to UMaine 4-H, here is how: Support UMaine 4-H.

The second reason we are seeking to reconnect is potential growth of the volunteer work-force. Yes, “Hands to Larger Service” lives on past your 4-H Membership years! The 4-H Program exists because so many good people step forward, volunteering to “make the best better.” I’ve often said that of all the elements that are in place that allow us to implement 4-H (4-H Curriculum, County 4-H Staff, State 4-H Staff, National 4-H Staff, etc), there is only one that, if removed, would cause 4-H to cease to be, almost instantly — the Volunteers.

It is how many ALUMS “donate” to the program. Who better than someone who has been through the program to show the members of today “the ropes”? You know what 4-H did for you and how it was done. You care deeply for the children of today and the future they will make. So you ensure that 4-H will be there to help shape that future in a positive way by giving your time and energy to 4-H for the sake of the young people of your community! Thank you.

However, sometimes people don’t volunteer until they are asked, even former 4-H’ers, and we can’t ask you if we don’t know where you are.

Well, that makes two reasons for all the “alum ruckus,” but I said “three.” I believe there is a third one and I believe it is critical to the future of 4-H; if not more so than the others, certainly at least as much. In a word: credibility.

You may have noticed that 4-H gets questioned a lot these days. There are a number of high-quality youth serving programs now in existence so the question is often asked, especially since 4-H receives some of its support from public sources (NIFA, USDA; state and local governments), isn’t 4‑H just a duplication of services?

Well, anyone who has experienced 4-H knows that 4-H is not the same as any of the privately supported youth organizations. The 4-H program is an educational experience provided by each state’s Land-grant University; indeed, often called “your first LGU course!” Research has even shown that 4‑H programs offer the best means through which to teach positive youth development (PYD).

But it is the same old story. You can have all the research that is possible to have but until a person actually sees real life results, it’s all just words. In the early days, Extension needed to create demonstration farms to prove the new, research-based farming methods actually worked so, likewise, 4-H needs to demonstrate that what it says about its ability to teach PYD is true, too!

And how do you do that? Well, it certainly shows in the program’s products: 4-H ALUMS! In an odd way of looking at it, 4-H Alums are 4-H’s demonstration farms!

4-H needs YOU to show the world what 4-H did for you so they can see what 4-H can do for the world! You give 4-H its credibility!

Judy Smith sorts through card catalog

Franklin County Extension’s Judy Smith reviews her collection of 4-H member enrollment cards dating back to the very early days of 4-H in Franklin County.

So we make lists of alums and seek more to add (for a national list of “distinguished” 4-H alums, visit 4-H Distinguished Alumni. Hmm. For some reason they didn’t include me, I see, but it’s still a good list, I guess. :-)

We raise up and honor our alums for the world to see and we tell our alums’ stories like those of Jennifer Nettles or Facebook’s Andrew Bozman or Food Channel’s Anne Burrell or…

And we tell YOUR stories! Some that have appeared in the 4-H Fix already include:

And just WAIT until you see some of the alum stories that will be in future 4-H Fixes!

Our 4-H Alums walked the 4-H path before us and proved themselves to be giants given what they achieved. By putting the spotlight on these giants we can show the world what 4-H can mean in a child’s life and, in turn, the life of our country, world, and future.

We in 4-H today, truly do stand on the shoulders of giants — our alums — YOU! Which brings me, then, to my final question for this post:

Were you a 4-H Member?

4-H emblemUMaine 4-H wants to hear your story. Please take a moment to fill out our short form and Tell Us Your Story! And don’t forget! Go to 4-H.org/RaiseYourHand to vote for MAINE and show your pride as a MAINE 4-H alum!

Speaking of putting 4-H Alums in the spotlight, return to The 4-H Fix on April 21 to read about Maine 4-H Alum Katherine Watier Ong, in the first of a new series we are calling “Where are they now?”

Click here to learn how to support UMaine 4-H.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension conducts the state’s most successful out-of-school youth educational program through 4-H, a positive youth development program that has been empowering young people in Maine to reach their full potential since 1913.

April 4-H Fix

March 28th, 2017 11:16 AM
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APRIL is here and we all know that April Showers bring…4-H Alums!!!?? Well it does if we’re talking about the 4-H Fix!

This spring is ALL about our 4-H ALUMS!! On April 7 the 4-H Fix will investigate the meaning of being a Maine 4-H alum in a post entitled “Standing on the shoulders of giants!”

Our March 4-H Fix was an introduction to one Maine 4-H alum, Brownie Schrumpf. Now in APRIL we get to meet another! On April 21 visit the 4-H Fix to meet Maine 4-H alum Katherine Watier Ong in the first of our new series, “Where are they now?”.

Don’t forget! If you haven’t done so already, go to 4-H.org/RaiseYourHand to show your pride as a 4-H alum and vote for MAINE!

Youth Educational Poultry Basket Show

March 28th, 2017 11:15 AM
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Where: Poultry Barn at the Windsor Fairgrounds, Windsor, ME
When: Sunday, May 7t – Registration at 10:00 am, show at 11:00 am
Who: Anyone 18 years old or younger can enter! Anyone of any age can come, observe, and learn.
What: Purebred poultry – Large Fowl, Bantams, Waterfowl, and Pigeons, LIMIT: 5 BIRDS PER EXHIBITOR

Have you maybe been interested in showing your poultry at the state fairs or club shows, but weren’t sure what you needed to do and know? Well, here’s the chance to learn and become involved! It’s fun, and you can win prizes and even money. Central Maine Bird Fanciers is a club that not only sponsors shows, but provides poultry educational opportunities for everyone. We’d like to see more young people become involved in successful poultry raising and exhibiting. This basket show will give everyone a chance to have some fun competition AND learn at the same time. Prizes will be given.

If you have any questions, please contact Linda Blackman at 207-542- 4323 or lindablackman@roadrunner.com, or Meccasue Simmons at 301-300- 6871 or meccasue82@yahoo.com.

Maine 4-H Community Service in 2016

March 28th, 2017 11:14 AM
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“I pledge…my Hands to larger service…” One aspect of every member’s 4-H participation involves “giving back” by providing a service of some kind to their community.

In 2016, a community service project survey was conducted to learn about the projects that were implemented. Projects reported via this survey included improving fairgrounds, providing assistance to local shelters, improving community nutrition through community gardens, planting flowers at the rec. center, clothing donations to needy families, children and teen mentoring, donations of blankets to Veterans homes, food to food banks, increasing civic pride through community parade participation, literacy campaigns, and dressing up cemeteries by cleaning and placing US Flags on graves before Memorial and Veterans Days.

Clubs reporting service projects in 2016 indicated that although a few took as long as 300 or more hours to complete, half of all the projects reported took less than ten hours to complete, some as short as only one hour! Thirty-three percent of the projects spent $50 or less to complete, some nothing at all, yet 100’s of people were reported as being helped in some manner. In addition to the communities and individual lives being improved, the 4-H’ers, themselves, found benefit in doing this work. Growth experienced by the 4-H’ers that was reported included: organizational skills, leadership helping younger children with service tasks, time management, critical thinking skills, learning to be responsible, willingness to help others with nothing expected in return, planning skills, decision making skills, empathy, and a sense of pride. Comments received included:

  • “They continually want to help others.”
  • “Because of the work with cemeteries they are now very interested in their ancestors.”
  • “I think that we all had a lot of fun and enjoyed helping make the fairgrounds look better. With every project we do we learn more about why community service is important.”

“The youth had a great time sharing what 4-H is to them.”

Free Online Course for Youth: Excellence in Exhibition: Preventing Disease in Animals and People

March 28th, 2017 11:13 AM
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Raising and showing livestock help youth develop responsibility, learn good sportsmanship, and gain confidence. While raising and showing animals have an overall positive impact on youth and the community, there are many animal diseases that can be spread between people and animals, especially when people have close contact with animals. Several animal related disease outbreaks, such as variant influenza A virus of swine (H3N2v) and enteric disease outbreaks caused by pathogens such as coli, have been associated with fairs in recent years. In many instances, these events resulted in severe illness in youth. Youth livestock projects can also present disease transmission risks to animals due to the comingling of various animals and animal species from different locations.

Understanding disease risks and preventive measures is critical to reduce the occurrence of zoonotic diseases among youth associated with animal agriculture. Awareness of these risks can help youth to understand the importance of disease prevention for themselves, their animals, and the public.

This online course was created by Iowa State University to teach youth about zoonotic diseases. This web-based course includes, lessons, case studies, and supplemental materials – it is self-paced and accessible online at any time, which means that you can participate in the class when it works with your schedule.  Learn more and sign up online at: http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/YouthInAg/.

Maine 4-H Educator Kristy Ouellette, Androscoggin & Sagadahoc Counties, our next Teacher in Space?

March 28th, 2017 11:09 AM
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Well, perhaps not but she did recently contribute to an exciting new national 4-H Curriculum, written in collaboration with NASA, called Expeditionary Skills for Life! It was released recently in conjunction with International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 50 which is commanded by former 4-H Member Peggy Whitson. To hear Commander Whitson answer questions from members of the Hartsfield Elementary School 4-H Club of Texas check out this recording: you-tube.

State 4-H Dairy Judging Saturday April 8th

March 28th, 2017 11:07 AM
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  • Participants will first travel to Dana and Seri Lowell’s farm in Buckfield to judge Jerseys. They are located at 231 N. Hill Rd., in Buckfield.
  • Registration will begin at9:00am.
  • Judging will start at9:30am
  • You will then travel to Pineland Farms at 15 Farm View Drive in New Gloucester (about 30 mi and 45 min travel according to Google Maps).
    At Pineland you will judge Holsteins and do reasons (starting there about1pm).

If you have questions, you may contact Stephanie Smith, Dairy Activity Coordinator at 860-0979, email a_mfarm@yahoo.com  Or Judy Smith, 778-4650 or 1-800-287-1478 email judy.smith@maine.edu 

4-H Shooting Sports Instructor Training Weekend Workshops (Level 1)

March 28th, 2017 11:07 AM
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Participation in the 4-H Shooting Sports has steadily grown in recent years and with this growth comes a greater demand for volunteer instructors. The 4-H model is a comprehensive youth development program that utilizes shooting sports as a way of connecting with young people teaching life skills such as teamwork, respect, and discipline as well as safety and enjoyment. Currently there are certified 4-H Shooting Sports Instructors in every county in the state and that list is growing.

There will be two trainings – one April 22 – 23, 2017 in Augusta at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine Headquarters, and a second July 16 – 18, 2017 at the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond.  Details about each training, topics covered, and registration links can be found at: https://extension.umaine.edu/bryantpond/4-h-shooting-sports/instructor-training/

Train the Trainer Sessions on the Topic of Mosquito and Tick Borne Diseases

March 28th, 2017 11:05 AM
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Train the Trainer sessions on the topic of Mosquito and Tick Borne Diseases that will cover both awareness and prevention.  It is being done by the DHH with a grad student from the University of Maine named Hannah Rhul.  The program is for people who will be working with people outside.  It is a good fit for MGVs who work with community gardens, school gardens, etc.; 4-H Club Leaders, Camp personnel, Garden and Ag professionals.  There is no cost but there is a requirement to sign up in advance since we only have so much space and we want to make sure we have enough handouts for all.

Here is a link with details on location and sign up:   http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/vector-borne/train-trainer/index.shtml.  Feel free to share it with anyone you feel might benefit from one of these sessions.