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.

Robotic employment: hidden values and benefits

By Rishi Biswas, former member of the Hunt Valley Robotics 4-H Club, currently in the 4-H Teen Council Club, 4-H Camp Counselor

 

This a copy of the prepared speech Rishi gave at this year’s Public Speaking competition. 

Rishi

During the 19th century, a group of self-employed textile workers rebelled against and destroyed efficient textile-producing technologies which they feared would end their business. The group, known today as the Luddites, represents the contemporary fear that automation, due to its efficiency, will replace people in the workforce and cause worldwide unemployment. At the vanguard of this concern are the concepts of Artificial Intelligence, or AI, and robotics, which are replacing people in a variety of fields, due to their cost effectiveness, efficiency, and even their ability to learn. While robots and AI do indeed present this threat, they offer a heap of benefits towards improving human lives, which include providing initiative for education and supplementing the workforce.

ROADMAP: To begin with, we will explore how robots do not already take away all jobs available on the market. Furthermore, we will talk about how robots can augment human ability in some jobs and carry out jobs that are hazardous to people. Finally, we will discuss how the robotic “invasion” of jobs can actually be beneficial to members of the workforce and people everywhere.

Trans 1: Now, before we discuss the advantages of the use of robotics in the workforce, let us take a look at some of the disadvantages.

Due to their lack of emotion, robots will not take away jobs in the market that involve interaction with people, and certain things that people are proficient at. Without emotive capabilities, robots cannot do jobs which involve the human experience. Take sports, for instance. The very essence of sports includes athleticism and winning, which are both hugely integral to the human experience. As proof of this, millions upon millions of fans will flock to their nearest stadium, golf course, or race track to watch their team win (or lose if so be the case), in a nerve-wracking match of grit, muscles, and strategy. And if robots were used as sports announcers, then they would have the capability to detail the events of a game, but they would lack the passion and emotion that make the events so memorable, as their monotone, boring voices are not nearly on par with the adrenaline-filled expression of a sports announcer. In other words, robots would not understand the human joy expressed in a sport. This lack of emotion also limits robots’ ability to have meaningful human interaction. In specific fields such as healthcare, patients might prefer the care of a human, who has empathy. Some fields are also inaccessible because robots do not have human intuition. According to the online technology guide, makeuseof, written on July 2014, Robots can never be repairmen, because they will always have problems which require human intuition to spot, and since robots are incapable of this intuition, they would find it difficult to repair their counterparts. Also stated in the same makeuseof article, robots can never be lawmakers in a society of humans, because their use of pure logic cannot calculate the dispute over fields such as gay marriage or rampant crime. Therefore, robots do not pose such a big threat to people, because they will not take all human jobs available on the market.

Trans 2: While there are jobs that robots cannot do, there are many jobs that now require robots, and for a multitude of reasons.

Robots can augment human jobs in some ways and can do some jobs that are hazardous to human beings, therefore decreasing the danger present to those in that line of work. Through their precision, robots can improve both the quality and efficiency of human work in several fields. One example of such a field is surgery. In robotic surgery, a surgeon would use a computer console to move the instruments attached to robotic arms. Mount Carmel hospital’s own website tells us that robots such as the da Vinci surgical system will enable surgeons to perform remote surgeries from far away, and carry out such surgeries with greater precision and smaller cuts, leading to less pain and decreased blood loss. There are multiple online resources, such as forbes, which tell us that robots can also perform and help people to do dangerous jobs, such as crime fighting. Robots such as those from the company Robotex can help police find criminals without endangering the lives of officers. And robots equipped with certain tools and hardware can perform other hazardous tasks, such as the cleaning of ducts and sewers or the investigation of hazardous environments such as oil spills or nuclear power plants. But the use of robots is most prominent in the military, where they are often used to deactivate bombs or dispose of those that have already exploded, and can be used as aerial reconnaissance vehicles, saving the lives of both pilots and bomb technicians.

Trans 3: While robots are often used to supplement human performance, there are nonetheless some jobs that robots take over entirely.

Rishi glow blur 3

Through their efficiency and cost effectiveness, robots and AI can provide numerous advantages for people utilizing robotics. The first advantage of having robots in the workforce are that they can improve the prosperity of companies by doing work more resourcefully than human beings. Robots, being unemotional and mechanical, as previously discussed, can do tedious tasks without the setbacks that humans face, such as distraction or boredom, and without any distractions, robots will never take breaks, never go on strike, and never ask for a raise. Factory work, consisting of such tedious jobs, is one of the great opportunities for robots. According to the website how stuff works, the robot known as Unimate has already taken a big role on the automobile production line in the General Motors factories. Amazon fulfillment centers are also testing robots that quickly move entire shelves of products, delivering them to employees who package the items for shipment, while outmatching their human counterparts, and optimizing the delivery process, as discussed in an article for the Chicago tribune. The concept of AI is also making its way into the workforce. As stated by Vivian Giang on the website fastcompany, in 2014 the University of Birmingham built the first ever Robot security guard, named Bob. While not up to standards with human guards, Bob can ask for directions when lost, or recharge his battery when it is low. This means that Bob can learn from other humans without direct programmer input. And the infamous AI machine from jeopardy, known as Watson, is also making his mark on the workforce. Watson is a supercomputer made by the tech giant IBM that can be used for various jobs. For example, according to the 60 minutes episode titled Artificial Intelligence, Watson recently worked on a case of cancer and provided the correct treatment for the patient, after a team of doctors failed to do so. That same team of doctors, now working with Watson’s attentive eye, could successfully diagnose the patient’s form of cancer and provide the correct treatment. And all of these examples clearly demonstrate how robots and AI can do some jobs better than humans. And that leaves most people asking: “Well, what is going to happen to us?” First, before we panic, we should consider that robotics is only an innovation, and in the past, innovations have been beneficial to people as well as the economy. For example, the printing press was a very big innovation in the literature industry, and without it, modern publishing companies would not exist; also literature would not be as widespread or popular as it is now. Another prominent example is agriculture. In 1870, statistics from the website tech crunch shows that agriculture employed 80-90% of the population, but with today’s advancements, employs only 1%, freeing up space for people to do other things. Similarly, with robotics, there will certainly be displacement, but like before, it will free up space for other jobs which will accommodate to the robot workforce, such as engineers or repairmen. However, these jobs require higher education, and those who are replaced, such as factory workers or hotel attendants, may not have advanced degrees. But this is where economical intelligence comes in. Companies and firms that no longer have to pay their employees can allocate money towards training programs, which can teach those replaced employees how to repair robots that are working for the company. Another proactive measure would be to improve children’s education to cover more STEM related subjects to prepare them for the ever-evolving workforce. In short, robots will not eliminate the workforce, but rather change and specialize it.

We have discussed the disadvantages of robots, like how they do not show emotion or how they cannot comprehend the human mind. We have have covered how robots can complement human performance, and how, with the full implementation of robotics, that we can ensure the safety of others. And finally, we have noted how the additional revenue gained by a company can be used to retrain employees to ensure proper operation of the robot workforce. We should not fear robots, but instead, appreciate and value the innovations that come from their use.

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

Hot new 4-H club is getting ready for competition!

Hot new 4-H club is getting ready for competition!

robot on matt

The Hunt Valley Junior and Senior Robotics 4-H Clubs have been very busy preparing for their robotics FIRST Lego League Qualifier competition, which takes place on January 25th, 2014. They have spent numerous hours researching natural disasters, building robots, and programming their robots to perform numerous tasks. The members of the Hunt Valley Junior and Senior Robotics 4-H Teams have been meeting numerous times through winter break in order to fine tune their robot programs and skills. The club members have been meticulously strategizing different missions and how to obtain the most number of points. The club members also have been designing t-shirts so they can be easily identified at the competitions. They are very excited to be competing in their first robotics competition. Stay tuned to this blog to find out how they do, and don’t forget to wish them luck in the comments!

By: UME 4-H VISTA

Junior and Senior Hunt Valley Robotics 4-H Club visit Emergency Management Office

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On November 4, 2013, our  visited the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management. The club wanted to learn more about natural disasters for their LEGO league competition. They learned about many aspects of emergency management in natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, wildfires, and floods. The 4-Hers also learned how the city and state organizes a large scale event, such as the Grand Prix or the Baltimore Running Festival. The presenters shared what happens when a national incident or emergency occurs.

One junior member shared that they “really liked that they explained the facts, and the nice man answered all the questions we had.” Another junior member stated that they “liked that they explained the different categories of a disaster and where the different categories didn’t hit”. The members are already thinking of ways to use the information they learned for the robotics competition they will be participating in January. The Hunt Valley 4-H Robotics Club President explained, “What we learned today will help us understand the reasons why and how we’re building the robotics to respond to a natural disaster.” Another member shared that “this trip will surely help us with the challenge we are working on.” Yet another member shared “this will help us get more information on the topics we are doing”. It’s safe to say that the children enjoyed this experience, and will remember it for many years to come!

-Faradia Kernizan, UME Baltimore County 4-H VISTA