Baltimore County 4-H is pleased to share a blog post written by our 2 State Aerospace champions, Logan Moon and Craig Stone. While one of our 4-H’ers is starting his 4-H career, the other is finishing it out and beginning the next chapter of his life in college. Best of luck to both of these fine youth.
By Logan, Age 10, Hunt Valley Robotics Club
I’ll never forget July 22, 2018. It was a Sunday, and it was the finals of the Maryland 4-H Aerospace Challenge. After the qualifier in June where I presented judges with a stomp rocket I had made, I was so excited to qualify for the finals. I spent weeks studying rocket parts, building model rockets, and learning facts on aerodynamics, rocketry, and model rocket safety. It was hard taking time out during my summer vacation to prepare for the challenge, but I did it because I wanted to do well at the competition.
I had butterflies in my stomach when we drove there that day, but since I had been at the competition last year, I felt better as soon as we got out of the car because I recognized the building and the adult volunteers who tried to keep the day fun. I was relieved when the first part of the challenge was to name parts of the rocket. I got through it quickly, and it helped me feel more confident to complete the knowledge test which was a lot harder. Lastly, they had us build a model rocket with a payload section. That’s the part of some model rockets that carry cargo. This year the juniors would launch a live cricket in our rockets. I felt a little weird about that because I’m not sure if our crickets wanted to take a ride in our rockets. Before we left the table, I decorated my rocket that I named the Cricket Crusader, and I had to double check the fins and launch lug to make sure they were on straight otherwise the rocket wouldn’t fly straight, and I knew my cricket was depending on me to make sure he was safe. After our rockets dried, it was time to launch. All I wanted was to do better than I did last year. Last year my rocket fizzled out on the launch rod and never took flight.
When they asked who wanted to go first, I volunteered. I was so nervous and excited. Five, four, three, two, one, lift off. My rocket launched straight up, the parachute deployed, and the cricket landed safely inside the payload. After the judges inspected the rocket one last time, I released my cricket. He was alive, and I felt relieved. I did it! My rocket launched! No matter where I placed I felt proud of myself. It turned out that all of that hard work paid off. I was awarded the junior champion ribbon. It’s a ribbon that means so much to me, and the challenge is an experience I will always remember.
By Craig Stone, Age 18, Sparks 4-H Club
“Throughout my 4-H career, I have participated in various types of activities. Out of the many activities I have participated in, the aerospace program has influenced me quite a bit. I have been participating in the Maryland 4-H Aerospace Challenge for about five years, and it has taught me many things about rocketry that I didn’t know before. For example, I never knew that the maximum height a rocket reaches in its flight path is called apogee. The aerospace program that 4-H has to offer is extremely beneficial to the 4-H youth because it uses the experiential learning model in “learning to do by doing.” This teaches the 4-Hers about all sorts of scientific discoveries in a way they would never experience in school. Overall, my 4-H aerospace experience has greatly influenced my 4-H career, and will continue to help me through college and beyond.”