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.

4-H Dairy Goat Club Learn to Shine as Showmen

Doug Ryndak, 4-H Club Leader for the Baltimore County Dairy Goat Club

Recently, the Baltimore County 4-H Dairy Goat Club participated in a practice show for goats hosted at the Weymouth Farm owned by Mike and Pam Spencer. Doug Ryndak is the Baltimore County 4-H Dairy Goat Club leader shares the following, “Showing an animal, especially for the first time can be an overwhelming experience, luckily each year we are able to provide the Dairy Goat Club and other 4-H youth with a chance to try their hand at showing dairy goats.  It is great for not only new 4-H youth who have never shown dairy goats before to have an opportunity to practice before their first real show, but also for seasoned showmen to hone their skills and learn new tips on showing.  It is always a fun time to get together and give the kids a confident start to the show season. Even though these kids will ultimately be competing against each other in the show ring, they are always helping each other and teaching each other, which is what the 4-H program is all about.”

Bonnie, Mike and Pam
Bonnie Six with Pam and Mike Spencer and one of their goats.

Mrs. Bonnie Six conducted the showing clinic on a beautiful evening in May. She is a dairy goat judge at the Hereford Jr. Farm Fair and comes every year to help club members practice showing. Besides having the opportunity to practice showing their goats the 4-H’ers learned what questions the judges might ask. “Typically the judges will ask you about a goat’s diet, physical appearance, goat anatomy, and hygiene.” Suggests Ian Moore, president of the Dairy Goat Club. To prepare for these types of questions Danielle Ryndak, Vice President of the Dairy Goat Club adds, “Practice anatomy and the scorecard, to do that block a few minutes each day to study your anatomy and scorecard. Just 10 minutes a day will make you a champ. Make flash cards and test yourself. When you are competing in “Fitting and Showing” the judge will ask you questions to do with anatomy and will ask you points in the scorecard. Also, know your goats ADGA registered name, breed, birth date, and freshening date as the judge will ask these in the ring.”

Mrs. Bonnie talked about the qualities of what makes a good showman while the youth and kids moved around the practice area. Many of the club members heard her say that working with your goat year round will make for the best showmen. If you take just a few minutes each day, it will pay off at show time. Others felt that when you work with your goat year round, it helps the goat feel more comfortable with you and you with them. This includes walking with your goat, setting them up in the proper position for the judges to view their anatomy and form. Chloe Soots recalls, “The central part the judge is looking at is the mammary system. It is one of the largest point areas on the scorecard.” Danielle suggests, “The judge can tell by how you handle your goat how often your work with her. You will want to keep your hands off your goat as much as possible. Do not scratch them or pet them when in the ring.”

Confidence is also what makes a champion. Danielle suggests, “Wear the correct show attire. This depends on if you are in an open or 4-H or FFA show. It even depends on what region or state you are showing in, but the most common is white boot cut jeans, white long sleeve button down polo shirt, boots, belt, and bolo tie or tie. Look professional in the ring. Hair pulled back and no hot pink or blue hair. Girls bling is fine, but not too much or will be distracting and unprofessional.” All of the members thought practice made for a more confident showman.

As the evening wore on the youth were shown how to correctly “set” their goats. Chloe explains “line up the pin bones to the hocks to the ground for the back legs and the withers to the knees to the ground for the front legs. And you should stand on the other side of the goat.  So think of it as a peanut butter sandwich.  The goat is the peanut butter, and you and the judge are the slices of bread.” Grace suggests “being aware of the other showmen and goats in the ring so that everyone doesn’t bunch up and crowd each other helps the judge to see your goat and your actions in the ring.”

Many new tips were learned from Mrs. Bonnie, and some of the youth shared tips that they have learned by showing in lots of shows. Patrick Wicklein, former Dairy Goat President, and multiple Dairy Goat Champion shared, “watch your expression, often in the ring, you will see people with silly smiles on their face. It is important to look confident and serious about what you are doing it while enjoying it too.” Ian adds, “Always watch the judge the entire time you are in the show ring.” Danielle, a multiple champion concludes “Some Suggestions I have, to use a goat show collar. There is a reason there is such a thing. DO NOT use a dog collar. Don’t brace your dairy goat. Bracing means to put your leg in front of your goat and to push your knee into their chest. You will see this practice with showing meat goats and sheep. With these animals it is allowed, but not with dairy goats. Clip your goats 3 to 6 days before a show. Wash your goat at least before your first show of the season. Watch videos on YouTube of shows so that you know what to expect. When at a show add Gatorade in your goat’s water so they do not become dehydrated. Because we are on well water, the goats will not drink the water when at a show because it is usually city water. WORK HARD! DO YOUR BEST!”

All of the Baltimore County 4-H Dairy Goat members learned a great deal and enjoyed the rest of the evening sharing food and stories at the Weymouth Farm. If you have an interest in dairy goats and would like to join our club, please contact the 4-H office at 410-887-8090 for more information.

Front view of the entire group

Ashley Treadwell

The first in a series of Baltimore County 4-Hers reflecting on where 4-H has taken them.

Ashley TreadwellThe first in a series of Baltimore County 4-Hers reflecting on where 4-H has taken them.

By Ashley Treadwell

This fall I will become a Cyclone, joining my fellow classmates and start a new chapter of my life at Iowa State University. There, I will meet new friends and hopefully learn a lot about the agricultural industry. I plan on majoring in Agricultural Education and hope to double major that with International Ag. I have been in 4-H for the past six years and have learned so much and made many friends within that time. I am thankful for all those who have helped me. They have encouraged me to do my best to do by doing and for that I am grateful. Without 4-H I would not be as good of a public speaker as I am or know as much about the Livestock Industries. For younger 4-Hers, I encourage you to do some research of 4-H competitions and trips the state and national 4-H hold. Those experiences will last a lifetime and not only will you have a blast but you will learn so much that you will think that you can’t learn anymore. I wish that I could have found out about some of the competitions and trips before my senior year of high school. The more you do, the more experience you gain, making you a more well- rounded person on the whole. I am thankful for my 4-H career and am excited for my last year in 4-H.

ashley showing ashley with a game ashley bone Ashley public speaking

Where Has Summer Gone?

group shotWhere Has Summer Gone?

They say; “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Time has been flying by. Here in Baltimore County we have already made it through our 4-H Day Camp, 4-H STEM Camp, and the Baltimore County 4-H fair. Despite the HOT weather 4-H Day camp was a blast. The kids enjoyed activates where they learned about animal science, dissected owl pellets, learned about animal tracks and even learned how to cast the tracks. They got to wrap each other up in toilet paper and pretend to be mummies. But that’s not even the best part yet. The campers enjoyed a trip to the Nature Center where they learned about Native Americans. Wednesday a Magician came and put on a magic show then taught the kids how to do some magic tricks on their own. On Friday the entire camp took a field trip the Science Center in Baltimore City. At the Science Center they got to explore the world of science. They ended their trip with a 3-D movie all about the Humpback whales. The movie left everyone in awe of these magnificent creatures. Once Day Camp ended we had the weekend to rest up because the whole next week was used to get ready for STEM Camp! This was my first year at STEM camp, and I really did not know what to expect.

However, on Monday July 6th I jumped right into my first day at STEM camp. We discussed the Scientific Method then used what they learned to do some fun science experiments. On Tuesday they built the Mindstorm Lego robot in the morning then worked on programing them in the afternoon. Wednesday morning they built their rockets and that afternoon they finished programing their robots. Thursday morning was the big rocket launch. Thursday afternoon and Friday morning was introduction to GPS/GIS mapping and GPS data collection. To end such a great week the kids enjoyed a pizza party and watched the LEGO Movie as well as Big Hero 6 on Friday. I have to say I was sad to see both camps end for the summer I had such a wonderful time and I know the kids did too. However, camp had to end so fair could begin and fair is my favorite part of summer.

At the 2015 Baltimore County 4-H Fair, families and visitors were treated to the opportunity to observe animal exhibits including swine, sheep, alpaca, cat, dog, beef, dairy, goat, horse, poultry, and rabbit. As well as indoor entries including, sewing, food, crafts, art, family life, flowers, science and more. Friday was a day filled with Day care centers that came to tour our fair. Without all the wonderful tour guides who volunteered Friday, the day wouldn’t have ran as smooth as it did. Tour groups were able to enjoy a tour of the fair spend time in AgroLand, where they learned about agriculture, and even had reading time with a BCPL Librarian. The day turned out great not to hot and the rain held off. The 2015 Fair included numerous special events the public could participate in including a Picnic Super, Cake Auction, Quarter Auction, Dog Agility Demo, Livestock Sale and Pancake Breakfast. This was also the first year all the animals were in the same building. This was a great change to the fair. 4-Hers where able to get to know each other better and they worked well together when it came time to clean up the fair.

Even though camp has ended and the fair is over, work is never done. The 4-H office is still busy planning the next event.

Article by: Jennifer Coroneos

4-H from the Perspective of a Home School Mom, Lesson Plan to 4-H Fair.

danielles goat
One of the goats that are shown in Wills Fair, County Fair, State Fair, Hereford Jr Farm Fair and others.

Hi, I am Jennifer Ryndak a home school mom and the mother of a Baltimore County 4-Her. Our family has been in 4-H for 4 years. We are in the Dairy Goat Club and the Liberty 4-H Club. My husband is one of the leaders of the Dairy Goat Club.  

At the beginning of each academic year, my daughter, currently 6th grade homeschooler, and I first look at the curriculum for the year to see what 4-H events, projects, contests, and service and leadership opportunities fit in with what we will cover throughout the year in English, Math, Science, History, Art and Computer classes. Then we plan our year with all of those items in mind.

Last year, my daughter participated in the Ag Science series workshop on Soil Science, which was geared more towards the middle school age. She was in 5th grade at the time. Through her participation in this workshop she was exposed to several hands on activities, which included taking soil samples and testing them to find out their Ph, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium levels. She learned several different methods for seeing what types of soil were in our area, particularly the soil texture triangle graph. This year my daughter has soil science as part of her 6th grade science curriculum, and because of her experience with 4-H she is already familiar with its real-life applications.

Throughout the year my daughter works on her project record book in the areas of art, crafts, sewing, growing vegetables, goats, rabbits, and many more. As part of the project each 4-Her creates a record book of all their activities and projects from the year they complete. While doing this my daughter creates an income and expense account of each project. This helps to keep her math skills sharp while she learns to maintain real-life records. Last year, for example, she made $600 by participating in many summer fairs showing her goats and indoor exhibits, a visible practical application of the math skills she has been learning.

We use the personal narrative aspect of the record book in her English class and the photo record section to fine-tune her photography, photo editing, typing, and computer skills. By participating in several 4-H clubs she creates an educational presentation on various animal science topics like goat anatomy and digestion. She has also held several leadership roles in her club by running for the offices, such as secretary and vice president.

In her history class this year she is studying about Africa. She plans to create an African mask which she will show at the fairs. Attending a meeting and hearing about the adventures of several Baltimore County 4-Hers experiences as they traveled to Tanzania as part of the International 4-H program created a bigger picture that the continent of Africa does impact us.

This month she also participated in National 4-H Science Experiment Day in which she built and launched a rocket. This tied in nicely with the physics she is learning in her science class. The youth worked with the principals of aerodynamics by adjusting the wings and changing the force of the air pressure.

Each year her academic growth and development can be seen through her participation in 4-H programming, which enhances her homeschooling experience and brings the classroom to the real-life at a young age.

By: Jennifer Ryndak

danielle skirts
A skirt that was created for a home economics class at home that was shown in the county and state fairs to compete for prizes.


soils science
Ag Science Class in Soil Science. 4-H youth are collecting several soil samples from the pastures to see the content of it and learn about the texture of the soil.


Winter Workshop creating a stain glass piece for an art project for school and an indoor exhibit at the fair.
Winter Workshop creating a stain glass piece for an art project for school and an indoor exhibit at the fair.


Rockets to the Rescue, National Youth Science Day
Rockets to the Rescue, National Youth Science Day.


Welcome 4-Hers!

Welcome to our new Baltimore County 4-H blog! Here we will be sharing the ideas, thoughts, and experiences of our 4-H youth members and volunteers. Did you recently have a great 4-H meeting, activity, or experience that you want to share? Do you want to write about your love for 4-H? We want to share your 4-H experiences! If you have a short blog (4-6 sentences) that you would like to share, please email pmoore@umd.edu. In addition to our new blog, we are on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and send out a monthly e-news blast to our club leaders. “Like” us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Baltimore-County-4-H/101809725786, and follow us at www.pinterest.com/baltcounty4H or Twitter. We’re excited to share this blog with you all and we are looking forward to putting your submissions on our blog!