Thursday, August 18, 2016

Seniors of 4-H: Blake Hopkins

Blake Hopkins

After being involved in Orange County 4-H for nine years, Blake Hopkins is now attending Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas. Here, he received a scholarship for Livestock Judging, and credits his successes to his involvement in 4-H.

"4-H is important to me because I am passionate about livestock and it has gotten me to where I am now," Hopkins said. "I would recommend it to anyone. It is the best organization I have ever been in." Throughout his years in 4-H, he was active in a number of activities including showing cattle and hogs, the Cattle Working Team, as well as, the Livestock Judging Team.

 Livestock judging requires students to observe beef cattle, hogs, and sheep for breeding and market qualities. After observing the various qualities, students rank the different animals, and then have to defend their placings with a set of oral reasons in front of a judge.

Hopkins has been on the Livestock Judging Team ever since he joined Orange 4-H, nine years ago. While Hopkins will be continuing his judging career at Hutchinson College, his fondest 4-H memory comes from when his Livestock Judging Team won the National Livestock Judging Competition in Louisville, Kentucky, last year. "My team got along really well and was really close. [Winning] Louisville really showed that all our hard work had paid off," Hopkins said. Because of livestock judging, he also had the chance to travel to Scotland where he competed on an international level.

Along with learning how to work hard, 4-H also taught Hopkins about public speaking, leadership, speaking to strangers in crowds, and how to make connections with people. When asked to define 4-H, Hopkins stated that 4-H "is a great youth program that will keep you out of trouble, teach you life skills, and teach you to pursue your passions."

Congratulations Blake and good luck judging at Hutchinson! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Seniors of 4-H: Ireland Sweeney

Ireland Sweeney

Ireland Sweeney is a recent graduate from Orange County, Virginia and will be attending Ferrum College this fall, where she knows the skills she has learned in 4-H will help her excel. 

Sweeney has been an active member of 4-H and the Livestock Club, with her most memorable experience being helping out at the Therapeutic Adventure Camp of Orange (TACO). "It was rewarding to work with the kids and see their smiles when they rode the horses, I loved seeing campers so excited to see their favorite horse or camp friend. Each day volunteering at TACO was a new day, but it was always a good day," Sweeney said. 

As an active member of the Livestock Club, Sweeney had the chance to participate in a livestock project.The project challenged her to purchase her own goats, budget out the money needed for their expenses-such as vet bills,feed costs, and fair entry fees, and train the goats. She showed her goats in showmanship and in market classes at this year's fair and regards this experience as her biggest accomplishment through 4-H. "Showmanship is a big deal because it is all about how you work with your animal, all eyes are on you. It's how you walk the animal, how you set the animal, how you react when the animal doesn't want to move, and how you talk to the judge-is how you are judged. I was able to accomplish all of this because 4-H was my foundation," Sweeney said, 

4-H has been more than just a club and the opportunity to show animals for Sweeney, it has helped her become a more responsible individual, she learned time management skills, business skills and feels she has become a more outgoing confident person because of 4-H. When asked to describe 4-H she said "4-H is more than working with your show animal. It's education, mentoring, volunteering, and being one with your community."

Congratulations Ireland and best of luck at Ferrum! 

Cloverbud Camp 2016

Last week we welcomed 15 little Cloverbuds to the Piedmont Research Center for a week of camp. The theme of camp was "Everyday is Earth Day". Even though it rained for the first two days, that did not stop the kids from learning about bugs and trees. Paul Sumpner, a former entomologist for Virginia Tech brought in a number of insects for the kids to observe. After learning about the different kinds of insects from butterflies, to spiders, and even poisonous insects, campers got to hold a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, a water beetle, and a variety of other live insects.

Campers enjoyed painting paper mache globes that showed them the amount of water on earth, and making adventure books where they stamped different wildlife tracks to learn how animals move. Continuing on with the earth day theme, they had the chance to search for different habitats, and even go fishing with nets in the pond. Though they didn't catch any fish, they did catch a small snail. 

They ended the week with songs about hippos, planting grass, and mentioning that they learned that "playing outside with nature can be really fun."

Monday, August 15, 2016

Seniors of 4H: John Goodwin

John Goodwin

After a long journey within 4-H, John Goodwin will begin the next chapter of his life at Virginia Tech. Goodwin grew up in Orange County, where his mother got him involved in 4-H from a young age. He has been an active member of 4-H his entire life, with his favorite activity being showing at the Orange County Fair. 

Along with showing at the county fair, he has showed at the state fair, participated in and been a teen leader for 4-H camp, attended 4-H congress, and was a member of the Dairy Club. 4-H has not just given Goodwin the chance to participate in a breadth of activities, but also gave him the chance to make friends and learn different life skills. "4-H is important to me because I have been doing it for almost all my life and it is how I have made a lot of friends in Orange. 4-H has taught me about public speaking, being outgoing and how to educate the public on agriculture as well as taught me some stuff about agriculture that I didn't know before," Goodwin said. 

When asked to describe 4-H, Goodwin said that it is a "community service organization for youth that teaches about agriculture as well as other life skills." Through 4-H his biggest accomplishment and favorite memory have been becoming a 4-H All-Star, the highest honor a 4-H member can receive. While at Virginia Tech, Goodwin plans to study Agribusiness. 

Congratulations John and good luck at Virginia Tech!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Don't Forget! State Fair Entries Due August 15 (Monday!)

State Fair entries are due Monday, August 15, so you have less than a week to get this completed. After the online entries, you must print the receipt and get it signed by an Extension Agent. Don't wait until the last minute as we're still busy programming and are not in the office all day everyday.