Jammin’ at Horse Jamboree

By  Kelsey Condon, Junior 4H’er, Chestnut Ridge & Woodstock Equine 4H Clubs

Jamboree fun.jpgDuring the first weekend of July, I attended the 2018 Maryland 4-H Horse Jamboree, hosted by Calvert County and held at the Patuxent River 4-H Center in Upper Marlboro.  I had never been to Horse Jamboree, and was excited to pack my bags for what promised to be a fun, horsey-filled weekend!

When we arrived, we were given cabin assignments along with some pretty cool goodies, like a T-shirt and water bottle.  The cabin was a big room filled with about 10 sets of bunkbeds.  We bunked with some Carroll County 4-H’ers and we all claimed our spots (top bunk for me)!  I brought a few projects to enter into the arts & crafts competition, and some other friends brought toy horses for the model horse competition.

The organizers kept us busy all weekend with exciting games, fun horsey-crafts, and Jamboree 2group.jpgsome pretty stiff competitions.  I was shocked to find out that I won the Reserve Grand Champion ribbon for the Horse Skill-A-Thon Competition.  It’s a contest that tests your knowledge of all things equine, from breeds, to markings, to tack and parasites (gross)!  During the weekend, public speaking competitions were also held.  I didn’t participate, but my friend and fellow Baltimore County 4-H’er, Carolyn Melody received Intermediate Reserve Grand Champion for her demonstration called, “What’s Behind Those Blinders?” It was a speech all about a horse’s eye.

Jamboree Awards Ceremony.jpgIn addition to showcasing our horsey-knowledge, we also learned new things.  We were taught how to take an X-ray of a horse’s leg and jaw, and learned about the parts of the hoof and skull.  Later that afternoon, we all relaxed in the shade, eating watermelon, while watching a demonstration on driving horse-drawn carriages.  Chase, a chestnut Morgan horse stole the show, and then fell asleep during the Q&A session.

The food was great and the outside movie on Saturday night was awesome, but the BEST part of the weekend happened Sunday morning when each team got their own REAL PONY to groom and decorate with glitter!  We paraded our ponies around the ring for a pony fashion show, and got to enjoy everyone’s creativity.

I very much enjoyed Horse Jamboree, and I hope that there will be more campers from Baltimore County next year!Jamboree carriage.jpg


Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. What does this mean to us in youth development? This means that the month of March has been designated as a time to reflect on the contributions that women have made to society. In the case of 4-H it means recognizing some women who made an important mark on the lives of youth. Did you know?

  • Jessie Field Shambaugh is known as the “Mother of 4-H”? JessieFieldShambaugh_2BF122A020B4BShe was a teacher who started after-school clubs in 1901 in Page County Iowa. She is also credited with creating the first clover pin with 3 leaves to represent “head,” “hands” and “heart”. The fourth leaf was added later to represent “health”.
  • During World War II the number of girls in 4-H clothing projects increased to 500,000 members? This is because the clubs were making clothes and supplies for the troops who were fighting overseas.
  • Peggy Whitson, is a NASA Mission Commander 4-H alumni. 330px-Peggy_WhitsonShe received her doctorate degree in biochemistry from Rice University, became a biochemistry researcher, NASA astronaut and former NASA Chief Astronaut. Whitson is NASA’s most experienced female astronaut, with just over 376 days in space. She also has performed a total of six career spacewalks, adding up to 39 hours and 46 minutes.

From the Desk of the Educator

Vernelle Mitchell HawkinsBy Vernelle Mitchell-Hawkins

Online Volunteer Renewal – Beginning in 2018, volunteers will be required to complete the annual volunteer renewal process online.  Using the 4-H Online platform volunteers will be able to update their contact information, complete impact data questions including a number of volunteer hours completed, number of youth impacted (number of youth served the role including clubs and outreach) and identify role(s) that a volunteer played (leader, superintendent, etc.).  Volunteers will also answer a series of renewal questions related to position(s) held.  The familiar Renewal Appointment Agreement, MD 4-H Adult Code of Conduct, and MD 4-H Volunteer Skills and Interest Survey will also be completed in 4-H Online.  A volunteer’s status will need to be approved by the county 4-H Team to be “active” for the 2018 program year.  This is encouraged to take place before February 1, 2018.

It is important to note that without renewal, volunteer positions automatically terminate at the end of the calendar year.  The change in renewal method, using 4-H Online, should expedite the process. It will also allow real-time and consistent data to be collected so that everyone will know the TRUE VALUE of 4-H volunteers.  At anytime educators and university can pull out the data and show off all of the great work that is happening all over the state.  The volunteer renewal process is not new. It is an annual process where volunteers and educators can evaluate the previous year and reaffirm their support for the upcoming year.  It also allows a chance for volunteers to refresh themselves on the expectations of the position and for the 4-H program.  Volunteers serve at the discretion of the county 4-H team and should work in partnership to ensure the continued success of the program.

On this last day of Hispanic Heritage Month

Vernelle Mitchell HawkinsBy Vernelle Mitchell-Hawkins

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the contributions of Hispanic and Latin people that make the world a better place.  This is true in 4-H as well since the organization seeks to provide a “supportive and inclusive setting for all youth to reach their fullest potential in a diverse society”.

Did you know that the number of Hispanic farmers and ranchers in the United States is on the rise?  This data was first reported in the 2012 Census of Agriculture, conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS. In 2012 the number of farmers and ranchers). In fact the number of farmers and ranchers who were of Hispanic, Latino and Spanish origin reached 3.2 million.  It was also reported that there are 66,671 farms with Hispanic operators, covering more than 21 million acres of U.S. farmland and they sold $8.6 billion in agricultural products.  In addition, of the over 60,000 Hispanic farmers and ranchers counted, 12 percent of were women owned operations.  The field of agriculture is a diverse sector so this month and every month we celebrate the contributions of all groups of growers because in Baltimore County 4-H Grows Here!

For more information about Hispanic farms and farmers, the 2012 Census of Agriculture, and how to access national, state, and county data, go to: www.agcensus.usda.gov


Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 – October 15, 2017

Vernelle Mitchell HawkinsBy Vernelle Mitchell-Hawkins

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the many contributions of Hispanic and Latin people to the world.  This is true in 4-H as well since the organization seeks to provide a “supportive and inclusive setting for all youth to reach their fullest potential in a diverse society”.  Many Hispanic scientists have added to the body of knowledge that we now enjoy.  Did you know Dr. Mario Molina is a chemist who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1995?  He was recognized for his work in helping to identify the man made compounds that contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer?  Dr. Luis Federico Leloir also won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1970.  He is known for his discovery that sugar nucleotides help the body turn some sugars into energy.  We salute these and all Hispanic scientists this month and every month because in Baltimore County 4-H Grows Here!




Please welcome…

Vernelle Mitchell HawkinsVernelle Hawkins joined the Baltimore County Extension office as a 4-H Educator this month. As a Maryland native, she grew up in a rural area of Dorchester County. She graduated from University of Maryland Eastern Shore with a Bachelor’s degree in General Agriculture with a concentration in Plant & Soil Science. She then earned her Master’s degree in Food and Agricultural Science also from University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Her focus in both programs was soil disease, plant nutrition, soil microbiology and biotechnology of crops. Before joining University of Maryland Extension, Vernelle was a public school teacher and taught middle school science courses in Harford and Baltimore Counties for 13 years. More recently she worked as a high school teacher in Baltimore City for four years where she focused on Agriculture Career Technology and Education, Biology and Environmental Science courses. Vernelle has a natural passion for science and agriculture and enjoys empowering youth to be life-long learners and productive members of society.

Please join us in welcoming her to Baltimore County 4-H. We are excited to share her many gifts, talents and ideas with you. Follow her blog posts as she jumps in with both feet to 4-H.

4-H Fair Prep has a Different meaning for each 4-H’er

By Santana Mays

Every year 4-H’ers look forward to the Baltimore County 4-H Fair. For those four days, endless work goes into making the fair a success throughout the year. Many people are involved; 4-H’ers, families, parents, farmers, board members, extension educators…Whether it is from getting projects ready for the fair or setting up there is a lot of work.

The fair board meets every month to make sure everything is in order so when move in the day comes around everything can run as smooth as possible. At meetings, the topics can range from costs to the schedule. Each person has a significant role to make the fair a success. Lynne Thomas from Baldwin 4-H club is the Fair Board Youth Director. As the Youth director, Lynne provides feedback to what the 4-H’ers liked about the fair and gave a suggestion for new activities as soon as the fair is over so they can start planning for the next year.

Rishi, a teen Council member, not only was a fair tour guide this year but helped along with many other 4-H’ers to get goodie bags together. Rishi says that the fair set up “involves the efforts of many dedicated 4-H’ers and it cannot be done all at once”. The fair to Rishi is worth all the work because he gets to introduce new people to 4-H and learn about new talents and interest. Rishi along with many other 4-H’ers helped me with the fair tours and AgroLand.

For David Thomas of Baldwin 4-H, AgroLand is an activity that he and his family are involved in. AgroLand is a way for the general public to learn about agriculture. AgroLand “is very critical to the success of our fair because it teaches children and adults where their food comes from!” says David. David was Grand Champion in a lot of baked goods.

Even though the planning behind the fair is an important and big part of the fair, sometimes the time the 4-H’ers put into getting ready for the show is overlooked. The week before and during the fair 4-H’ers are running around doing last minute clipping, baking another cake, or trying to put together one final painting. However, to make the best better, there is work that is done months and maybe even years before the fair.

Gabrielle Fisher of Silver Stirrups 4-H club, who got Senior Champion in hobbies and crafts, works year round to make sure that her real potential is shown through her work. Like Gabrielle, other 4-H’ers will spend a lot of time on a craft, painting, or a clothing project. This may range from putting it together, taking classes, and even doing some research on it. Like Gabrielle, 4-H’ers who show livestock spend a lot time with their animals getting ready for the fair.

As a past 4-H’er, I showed dairy cows, steers, market hogs, sheep and many other critters. These projects were sometimes the most time-consuming. For my cows and steers, I would have to start halter breaking them when they were very young. This would also include getting them used to being touched and around new sights and sounds. Then the week before the fair, the cows had to be clipped and washed. By the end of the day, I was so hairy that I could pass as a cow myself. Then the night before move in day halters was polished, tact box filled, hay, straw, and feed loaded and whites were washed and ironed.  While this may seem not very chaotic keep in mind that I still had to take care of the other animals on the farm and it was not a process that could be done the day before the fair. However, when show day comes, all the hard work is worth it.

At our Baltimore County fair we may not be the biggest. But the hard work of everyone who is involved is huge. Each year the fair is a success due to the dedication and work of our people. Already the planning for the 2018 fair is started and I cannot wait for another successful fair.