Tuesday, July 31, 2018

How Parents Can Encourage Safe Outdoor Play

Guest blog by Anya Willis

Backyards and the outdoors are wonderful places for children to explore, learn, and get some much-needed physical activity. Studies show that outdoor play is beneficial to children, stimulating cognition as well as improving mood and physical fitness. Just like any activity, however, outdoor play can present risks to children of all ages, but especially for the youngest. With some planning, instruction, and supervision, it is possible to enjoy safe outdoor play.

Teach Boundaries and Acceptable Behavior

There are many potential hazards outdoors. Part of growing up is learning about the dangers of the world and how to conform behavior to avoid injury and problems. The first step to encouraging safe outdoor play is to teach your children where they can and cannot play and your reasoning. A fence is a physical barrier that can be easily climbed by most children and is therefore essentially useless as a deterrent to wandering for all but the smallest children -- who wouldn’t reasonably be unsupervised anyway. Teaching your children not to play outside of your yard is more effective than considering a fence as a failsafe.

This same lesson can apply to most backyard hazards. Write up a list of rules, and if your kids are old enough, ask for their help in determining these rules. Explain that you want them to be safe, and express your concerns. Children are resistant to parenting that is dropped on them unilaterally, so even when you are parenting by decree, including them in the process helps them understand your mentality.

Outdoor Play Equipment

Swing sets, jungle gyms, and tree houses are typical outdoor play equipment that can cause injury if misused. Explain your reasoning for simple rules. For example, tell them that the swingset is not designed for children to hang upside-down from the monkey bars. Age-appropriate use is also important; toddlers can be seriously injured when playing on sets designed for older kids, and bigger children can get hurt on kiddie equipment.

Do your part as a parent to ensure your children’s safety by checking equipment throughout the year. Test out swings and steps, check wood surfaces for splinters, rotted boards, worn ropes, nail and screw pops, and any other potential hazards.

When buying or installing outdoor play equipment, make sure you are buying good quality items by checking online reviews before purchasing. Make sure the playsets are properly installed, and add appropriate ground covering to absorb the shock of inevitable falls. It is also crucial, regardless of your children’s age, to ensure that the play equipment is within your line of sight.

Pool safety

Backyard pools are sources of endless family summer fun, but they also present a serious drowning hazard. Again, establishing rules is one of the best ways to minimize injury risk. Establish and post a written set of pool rules and enforce them. Explain that “no running” is not a suggestion -- it’s a sanctionable offense. Learn basic pool safety, and revisit the rules each year as part of the pool opening routine. Also, prepare an emergency plan for pool accidents. Often, people do not know what to do in the event of a serious accident in the backyard. Have a first aid kit and a simple numbered list of who to call and when. This simple list is for the adult’s benefit as well as children’s.

Outdoor spaces are excellent places for children to learn and thrive. Spring and summer bring opportunities for healthy outdoor activities, and while some risk of injury exists, there are several ways to mitigate hazards while still enjoying outdoor play.

Friday, July 27, 2018

State Fair Livestock Entry System Now Live

If you're taking livestock projects to the State Fair, READ CAREFULLY the information below plus the tip sheet available online

The entry system for the 2018 Youth Livestock Shows that will be held in conjunction with the State Fair of Virginia is now open. The Youth Livestock Shows will be held October 5-7, 2018 at The Meadow Event Park in Doswell, VA. Entries must be completed no later than August 15th! No late entries will be accepted.

All rules and information can be found on the youth livestock web site at www.ext.vt.edu/youthlivestock.  Please review all of the rules very carefully. As you enter the entry system, allow yourself plenty of time to complete all of your entries and have tag numbers, registration papers, and any other required information easily accessible.

Please read the “Entry Tip Sheet” (online, click here) for help with the entry process and updates/changes for the 2018 SFVA entry process.  It contains important changes to this year’s system and tips for making the process simpler.

There are just a few things to remember when entering the system:
If you are an enrolled 4-H member - Click on the green “Sign into 4-HOnline” button FIRST!  Follow the instruction to enter your 4-HOnline username and password.
·        If you have forgotten your password, there is an option to change it; however, YOU MUST got back into 4-HOnline to permanently change your password.
·        Please verify all of your contact information, including MAILING ADDRESS. This must be correct, as we will be sending premiums to this address.

For families with multiple exhibitors:
·        Make sure to enter ALL of your family members into the show before clicking submit. Once you click Submit, you will be locked out of your account until the entries are approved.

Be sure to click “SUBMIT” when you have completed your entries. Entries are not final until they have been submitted.
Check your email inbox for a confirmation email with a list of entries and any related fees.
You will receive a second email once your entries have been APPROVED.

The FairEntry System for the 2018 SFVA can be accessed at this link https://fairentry.com/Fair/SignIn/1744

As a reminder, swine nominations are due on August 1. Swine must be tagged, photographed, and information uploaded to the web by August 1. Note you must also enter these hogs in the entry system.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

4H Senior!!!!

Joseph Godin

Joseph first moved to Orange County when he was 7 years of age and has since 
made a lasting impact on the surrounding community through his volunteer work 
and 4H experiences. Having been involved in the 4H Livestock club since he was
just 7, Joseph said the past 11 years of being a 4H member has significantly impacted 
his life! Joseph has been a member of  the livestock club for 11 years and the Stockman’s
team for 3 years.  He has also participated in many 4H events such as Stockman’s camp,
the county fair, and 4H day at the capitol!  Joseph has been a 4H exhibitor at the orange 
county fair for 11 years, showing hogs all 11 years and lambs for 10 years! 
The greatest opportunity that 4H has allowed Joseph to experience was being directly involved 
in the community. From volunteering his time to pick up sticks as a child, to spending days on 
end to transition an empty field into the lively fairgrounds, Joseph has grown both in his 
love for helping others and in his community involvement. The biggest lesson that Joseph
has learned from participating in 4H is preparation! Joseph has been the president of the 
livestock club and has had to learn how to pace his planning and perfect his time management
skills by planning meetings each month, projects, and speeches! Joseph also said that 4H has 
helped him in the aspect of public speaking!
Joseph's favorite 4H memory is setting up for the fair last year. He enjoys the feeling of being  
part of something bigger than himself and watching the fair transform from an empty field to a 
thriving county fair. He volunteered his time to build the fair’s show barn and is very proud to 
have had a lasting impact on the county fairs to come! When asked how 4H has impacted his 
life, Josh said it was a fantastic introduction to agriculture. He said, as a child, he didn't know 
much about animals before joining 4H and Stockman's team has taught him about agriculture 
and provided him with learning experience around animals and public speaking. “Now I don't 
have trouble getting in front of a crowd.” 4H has enabled Joseph to grow in public speaking 
and also as a member of his community. Joseph loves how the county interacts with 4H and
 how it is an extremely pro 4H environment. 
When asked what 4H means to him, Joseph answered “ 4H is a program that binds the
community and the youth. It helps kids grow mentally and mature to become productive adults. 
The lessons it teaches are not ones that can be taught in a classroom. For example, managing 
finances and the responsibility of taking care of livestock. 4H teaches a lot of skills and is a great 
environment to learn and develop.”

We wish Joseph the best in his future endeavors, which include attending Germanna Community 
College in the fall and then attending a 4 year university! 

Time to Brag on another awesome 4H Senior!!!!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sky, outdoor and nature
Roxanne Akers

   Roxanne has lived in beautiful Orange County since she was 4 years old. At age 8, she joined our 4H program and never turned back. She has now been an Orange County 4H member for 10 years! She has been a member Orange Cattle Team and the Orange Stockman's team. In addition, she has been a Livestock Club member where she was the treasurer for 3 years. Roxanne has shown Cattle for 10 years and hogs for 3 years. From those experiences, Roxanne has most enjoyed the time she has been able to volunteer and give back to her community!
   Roxanne said "The greatest lesson I have learned through 4-H is animals husbandry and animals true purpose in life." Because of this lesson, Roxanne Plans to continue her education at Germanna Community College and further transfer to Virginia Tech to pursue a degree in Veterinarian Science! Roxanne said that 4H has helped her to become more rounded! She believes 4H means that each person has a commitment to their community, family, and farm (if you have one). She stated "If you commit to that, and put hard work and dedication into them then everything will pay off."

   We wish Roxanne the best as she continues on with her hard work and perseverance through life!

Cooking For Teens and College Students!!!!!!

Come hang with us and learn some tips on how to survive as a young adult!!! Whether your a teen needing an adulting lesson or a new college student wanting to combat the freshman 15, this workshop is for you! Learn how to budget your groceries and try new fun recipes!