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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A 4H Share the Fun Kind of Day

We headed to our VA Clinic once again this morning, but this time not to serve sandwiches but entertainment to the veterans.  Our senior group performed their rendition of the "Ragged Old Flag."  Henry had the privilege of introducing the group.  It took a while for us to get everything set up but it was worth it.  Besides, I think the veterans enjoyed the pre-show almost as much as the flag presentation!

We had approximately 50-100 in attendance as they performed in the lobby of the facility.  I think everyone enjoyed the presentation, as many came to the group and thanked them.  The seniors also walked around the area talking to the veterans and thanked them for their service to our country.  We even convinced a few of the veterans to take a picture with the group in front of our 'court house.'

By the way, if the perspective of these pictures looks a little different it is because our little photographer, Edward, took most of these shots!  Once again, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate how our 4H group really works to let everyone be involved.  During the tear down process, you can see how even the smallest tag-a-long was doing his part to help!  They love feeling like they are part of something bigger.  It won't be long before they will be full 4Hers as well.

Then we talked of going to the library to work on the quilt.  It might seem like an odd place for quilting but the library has study rooms available and we were able to use one of these rooms to almost complete the machine quilting portion of our project.  We hope to finish this tomorrow as our boys and Katy are the last to machine sew the quilt.

This was also a good opportunity for our seniors to work on another project coming up-4H Congress.  I hope to have one of the seniors write about their experience later in July.  However, the basic idea is that on the years our state congress does not meet in Austin, the 4Hers take control of the building and have mock sessions to truly experience the way our state government works.  In order to participate, each 4Her must present a bill to Congress prior to their acceptance to the event.  These bills are voted on through due process during the event.  We chose not to participate this round because our summer is so full at this time.  However, we hope to make every effort next time around.  A great experience for anyone who can participate.

Our quilting abruptly came to a stop as I noticed the time!  We raced out of the library (after a quick thank you to our librarian who loved seeing our quilt and bragged about her own 4H days!) to grab a bite of lunch and head to the museum for our WHEP project meeting.  Today we listened to a brief college lecture I found on professional habitat plans.  It was a little advanced for our group but I think it explained the overall planning process needed to create a good habitat management plan.  We then took a scenario with targeted species for a fictional property and created our own management plan.  We discussed the importance of brainstorming ideas (using a web format).  I then told them to focus on the following items:

  • name the targeted species, 
  • list goals of the owner for these species, 
  • state objectives we determine are most important (from the charted management techniques for the species in the region), 
  • determine specific recommendations for each objective.

Once these steps are taken in a brainstorming session, the group can then take these parts of the plan and write a sufficient management plan for use on a piece of property.  We also spoke about using proper vocabulary and format when writing these plans.  I think the session went well.  From now on we hope to use these skills each time we meet with different scenarios.

I also gave a little homework to the group!  I found some basic management plans that the 4Hers are to read in order to get a better idea of how these plans are written.  Click on the name of the plan for the websites in case you are following along with our meetings (It helps you see what our 4Hers are learning, besides it is good for all of us to manage our properties!):

Red-cockaded Woodpecker Plan (long...just look at the goals, objectives and recommendations)
Grimes County Plan
Milam County Plan
Softball Plan (A very interesting video with a softball analogy to understand quail)

We then had a break in our 4H fun (older group had Food Challenge workshop) before our next meeting.  However, you know I cannot waste our time during these long days!  So I took this opportunity to VOTE!  Early voting is taking place all over our great state of Texas.  The early voting period is my favorite time to vote because there is only one location and not a lot of people (no waiting!).  Furthermore, I can take my boys in to talk about the importance of voting.  So our little group of 'voters' filled the room (only one other voter present) and crowded around the electronic ballot and placed our vote for the primary.  This was a great opportunity to talk about primaries and the voting process in general.  This was our 'workshop' for our Civic Education project.  We spoke about the process as we drove around town running errands.  The boys love knowing that they are 'voters.'  I even let them press a few of the buttons for me as I carefully chose my candidates.

One of our errands was to pick up pizza for all the members at our next project, Share the Fun!  These are such long days and waiting for dinner until 8 or 9-o'clock is just ridiculous.  It was not much but at least we were able to enjoy a small meal together and push forward through the rest of the evening.  Also, the boys and I talked about the new gluten-free pizza provided by Domino's (not a paid advertisement...just a mom thankful for options!).  The boys picked up on the word 'celiac,' so this gave me another opportunity to talk about a Food & Nutrition topic...I just love 4H talk because it is real life decision making in the works!

We also organized another opportunity for the Seniors to present their poem for Memorial Day.  Next Monday, we will be at the VFW for anyone interested in seeing them perform!  The commander was very interested in our performance.  We hope he and the other veterans attending the event will be pleased with the 4Hers honoring the flag and veterans.

Share the Fun practice was very helpful.  We have been blessed with another 'expert' in the field of performances.  Miss Martha has graced the stage (and behind the scenes) in performances around the world.  She graciously volunteered her assistance after seeing our presentation last week.  She gave the 4Hers so much good advice that I could not begin to tell you all that she said.  However, everything was heard by the group and in just an hour the 4Hers had improved immensely.  She also made some changes in our program and stage positioning that helped the group move about the stage with ease.  We are short on time before State contest to make changes but hoping the changes will make it a better.

I gathered my little group and headed home.  We had a long 12-hour 4H day but truly enjoyed every bit of it.   The best part is that we worked together.  In spite of all the running around, I was able to rest as the children stayed busy.  Always a good feeling as we headed home to go to bed!  After participating, watching, and creating seven 4H project moments in one day, I can only hope that we helped to 'make the best better.'  After all what better way to show the joy of 4H than starting and ending our day with Share the Fun!

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