Friday, August 11, 2017

State Fair of Virginia Entries Due NEXT TUESDAY

Just a quick reminder that entries for the Youth Livestock shows (youth beef, youth meat goat, youth sheep and youth swine) at the State Fair of Virginia are due next Tuesday, August 15th. The system will close that evening. PLEASE do not wait until the last minute to do these entries. We are utilizing a new system.

Please visit for all of the rules, instructions for entry, and the link to the online entry system.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

4-H Seniors: Taylor Rollins

Taylor is an Orange County native who has practically grown up in 4-H! She joined the Cloverbud club at the age of 5, the Livestock Club at 9, and the Home Economics club at 10. As a Cloverbud she exhibited ducks, rabbits, goats, and calves at the Orange County Fair. As a member of the Livestock club, she has shown hogs every year at the fair.

One of the greatest opportunities her involvement in 4-H afforded her was the chance to travel to Texas as part of the VA Food Challenge team. She told me that Food Challenge is a competitive event where teams of participants are given a set of ingredients that they have to prepare a meal from. They then have to present their meal to a panel of judges and explain the nutritional value of the meal they created. Her team progressed from winning the district contest, to winning the state contest at VA 4-H Congress. They continuing practicing and fundraising, and attended the national contest in Dallas where they placed 5th in the nation. She said that while her team’s placing at the national contest was her greatest accomplishment from her time in 4-H, being tapped as a 4-H All Star was a very close second.

Taylor said the biggest lesson she learned from 4-H was the responsibility involved in raising livestock and taking care of animals by herself. She boarded her hogs at another farm, so she had to go there every day to feed, water, clean, and exercise them. She also had to manage her costs and expenses for feed and vet bills each month, and save the money she earned at the fair each year to help pay for next year’s project. One of the coolest programs she got to participate in was at 4-H congress, where she took a workshop on artificial insemination and reproduction in cattle.

Some of her best memories from 4-H are from the county fair. She told me it’s a lot of work through the spring and summer to do all the preparation to get your animal to fair, but then you get to the fair and get to see all your friends and see all the hard work they’ve put into their project animals. Now that Taylor has graduated from high school, she will be attending Germanna Community College with plans to transfer to a four year university to earn a  Bachelor's degree in Nursing.

Monday, July 24, 2017

4-H Seniors: Hunter Phillips

Hunter Phillips is originally from Bedford VA, but moved to Orange in 2007 and has been involved in Orange 4-H for seven years. He is a member of the 4-H Crazy Pets club and the current president of the Orange 4-H Archery club.

He said that some of his best memories from his participation in 4-H are all the friends he made and the opportunities he had to learn new skills. Because of his involvement in 4-H, he was able to pass the 4-H archery instructor course and now he helps teach younger members of the archery club basic archery skills. Working with younger members in his 4-H club has helped teach him about leadership and the value of always leading by example. Hunter has dedicated many hours to improving his archery skills and has passed level 5 proficiency in archery.

Hunter said that the coolest opportunity he had in 4-H was getting to attend State 4-H Congress on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. While in 4-H Hunter has participated in many fundraisers for his 4-H clubs, and has volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club. 
 Congratulations to Hunter for all his success so far, and best wishes for his future!

Monday, July 17, 2017

4-H Seniors: Alyssa Ratcliff

Alyssa Ratcliff recently graduated from Orange High School and will be attending Virginia Tech in the fall to continue her education by studying Landscape Architecture and Design.

Alyssa has been a member of the Orange County 4-H Livestock Club for 7 years, where she has shown and sold sheep at the county fair every year. She got interested in 4-H because several of her friends were involved, and she said that some of her best memories from her experience in 4-H were the friendships she made. She said that it was great to participate in a program where even though at the end of the day all the club members were competing against each other at the fair, there was a great spirit of helpfulness and teamwork. Some of the older members of the Livestock Club helped teach her how to show sheep when she first joined, and now Alyssa has helped teach her younger brother how to show. “Helping him learn how to do it, but then being able to see him do it by himself” is one of her favorite memories from her years in 4-H.

When asked what the greatest lesson she learned from 4-H was, she said “hard work and respect will get you so far.” Raising her sheep for the fair required time and dedication every single day throughout the year to make sure they were fed and exercised, and required that she interact with the community to find buyers for her animals at the fair. Her greatest accomplishment in 4-H was when her hard work paid off and she won grand champion lamb at the 2015 Orange County Fair. Alyssa said one of the greatest things about 4-H was the opportunities it gave her to give back to the community. She has helped collect and sort food for the food bank, laid wreaths at the Culpeper National Cemetery, and has volunteered at the Therapeutic Adventure Camp of Orange, working with youth with special needs.

Congratulations to Alyssa! We wish you the best of luck at the 2017 Orange County Fair and into your future!