Week Eleven!

7 08 2012

This week was so much fun. I had the opportunity to help plan and conduct The Focus on the Family Camp. I came up with a theme, and worked with Jill, the FCS agent, to create a schedule. Our theme was THE OLYMPICS, “Families Going for the Gold”. Each day, participants were awarded medals for all of their efforts throughout the day. We spent time working together as families, participating in recreational activities, and learning new healthy recipes. Keeping the theme in mind, each day we visited a new country. We sampled indigenous recipes and practiced the country’s culture. We visited Jamaica, China and Mexico.

This was my first chance to work with grant funding. I was so appreciative of all that we could offer to these low income families, thanks to the money that we received. Each day, we were able to supply the families with groceries and recreational equipment that they could easily implement into their daily lives. Fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat was emphasized in the take home recipes. Families were also provided cook books, thermometers, and all sorts of materials to better their lifestyles.

To be eligible for the camp, families had to be receiving some sort of governmental aid. Working with the mothers was so eye opening; I had the chance to swap money saving ideas and recipes. The children were also so excited to be there every day. This really was a great chance for parents and children to take advantage of quality time, without the huge expense of a vacation.

I am SO glad that I chose to help with this camp.


Practicing the Chinese Balance Beam!


Week Ten!

7 08 2012

Ah the Fair!

Nothing makes me more excited than to see so many members of the agriculture community in the same place! Everyone working together to pull off a great week. We began setting up at the fair as early as Monday and spent much of our time there leading up to the fair’s start on Thursday. We worked diligently setting up pens and the show ring, organizing ribbons, and readying ourselves for the hectic nature of the Saturday night auction.

During the fair I had some responsibilities. It was my job to assist with steer weigh in and grading. I also managed the sheep show! This involved finding good volunteers to work and organizing the awards. I helped a lot with the auction. I processed buyer information and assisted in final marking of the livestock.

Most all parents and kids exhibited great character, cooperation, and helpfulness throughout the weekend, making my job very easy! This was the most organized and low key fair I have ever attended.

Another great thing about the Orange Fair is that it is an agricultural fair. No midway, no cheesy carnival games; Just a chance to learn, explore and embrace rural life. This is highly unique and separates Orange from other fairs in the area.

This was nearly the most taxing experience of the summer, but honestly the most fun! If you are surrounded by positive people, work doesn’t really seem like work! And isn’t that what we all want out of a career?

Family Camp is next week!!



Week Nine!

6 08 2012

What a fun and exciting week this was!

On Monday I assisted my fellow intern with her weekly program at a local elementary school. The focus was on vegetables! We read a book about different types of vegetables and then made pizzas with at least two new vegetables to try.

Wednesday was exciting because Whitney and I had a workshop to teach all on our own! This was called “Before the Fair” . We had probably 10 kids participate in the four hour workshop. We made several crafts and recipes that the children could enter as exhibits in the fair. We made everything from tin can robots, to bean art, to freezer jam. The one thing I learned is that it is really hard preparing the materials for this type of program. We spent hours and hours preparing for it.

We spent a lot of  time preparing for the fair this week. There was a steady flow of people in and out of the office and I was there to answer questions and check droves of project record books.


I will add pictures from all of my exciting adventures towards the end of my posts.

Thanks!  Alison

Week 8!

27 07 2012

What a busy and awesome week this was! One very unique thing about Orange County 4-H is the wide variety of programming that is offered and specialized for all types of kids. An amazing camp that has become a summer tradition in Orange County is TACO camp. TACO or Therapeutic Adventure Camp of Orange is a riding camp for children with special needs. It has been up and running for over 30 years and serves almost 20 children every year. Much research has gone into the positive benefits of therapeutic riding and I am now a witness to that. No matter the disability, children have the opportunity to ride a horse or pony. Children needing special assistance on the horse ride doubles with Jessica, an experienced equestrian and a special needs professional.

For five days, the kids moved through three stations; arts and crafts, horse education, and riding. After they moved through the stations, the day would end with some sort of entertainment. I especially enjoyed horse education on Thursday where the kids were able to paint Rocky, one of the horses in the stable. This was a short anatomy lesson followed by a period of good ole paint slingin’.

I appreciate, so greatly, the opportunity I had to meet and bond with the campers. I would also like to point out the awesome number of volunteers that come together to pull this off every year. It truly takes every one of them to keep camp running smoothly. I’m so glad that Orange has loyal volunteers that volunteer simply because they WANT to.

I wrapped up my last Mad Science workshop on Friday. What a relief! It becomes difficult to teach the same thing over and over again, and with each group of kids a little rowdier than before, I was happy to be done!

Next week is the FAIR! So excited!



Week Seven!

24 07 2012

This week, I had my second of three Mad Science workshops. This was a new challenge because I taught nine children for three hours; up from my last workshop of 5 kids. I felt so accomplished to have even had all of my materials lined up. Only people who have planned and executed a Mad Science workshop would understand how much time it takes to get stuff together and organized.

The big focus of my week was learning about the importance of evaluation and how it is used in extension. I was able to apply what I learned to my mad science program.

With every program that you offer you should always have a big picture. This primary goal should be on the leader’s mind during planning and execution of the program.  The big picture for the Mad Science workshop was not only to spark the interest of budding scientists but really to expose the children to opportunities in 4-H. I promoted other programs and clubs during the workshop and encouraged them to get involved with other kids in their community.

The effectiveness of the big picture can be evaluated in a number of ways. There’s always the paper evaluation, however with younger children I find it more effective to simply ask. I asked if anyone knew what 4-H was; only three children raised their hands. At the end of the day I asked if everyone had fun; thumbs up for a fun time, thumbs down for a bad time. Everyone gave a thumbs up and some shouted out “TWO THUMBS UP!”. Then I asked if anyone would be interested in joining a 4-H club and everyone raised their hands. This shows me that the program was fun enough to leave them wanting more. It is now evident to me that summer programs are an AWESOME way to recruit for new members.

I also learned about the “targeting life skills” model. This model would be utilized in more of a long term program with many hours of interaction. I think this could be very useful when you are evaluating the effectiveness of a club or even just thinking about how to implement necessary life skills in the programming.

Iowa State University

Week Six!

10 07 2012

The Monday after a week of vacation is a day most dreaded by working people. I have to admit, I was unexcited about getting back to reality. However, the environment in which I work is completely conducive to me being productive and I was quickly able to get back into the swing of things. Replying to a slue of emails and catching up for the week ahead pretty much summed up my first day back.

For the first couple of days of the week both of the administrative assistants were on vacation so I spent a lot of time answering the phone and greeting folks at the front desk. This gave me a lot of experience in working with the public. Although answering the phones pushes me outside of my comfort zone, I love being able to find solutions for people with questions. It’s very satisfying to know that I have been of service.

We had a really fun workshop on Tuesday; CUPCAKE WARS! The kids were able to learn new techniques in baking and in cake design. They created their own cupcake flavoring, customized icing colors with specific food coloring recipes, and designed 10 cupcakes to be put on full display for the other children. The local newspaper even came to catch a glimpse of the beautiful and truly unique designs. Sharks eating raspberries, “Thank You” cupcakes for mom and dad, lovely floral scenes, and even a zoo were some of the themes on display. Every cupcake expressed the individuality of the 4-H’er that created it.

I was very nervous about Thursday. Thursday would be the first day that I would teach adults….all by myself. I came into the office on that morning with knots in my stomach. The workshop was a tutorial session with the record-keeping software, Cow Sense. It was my job to explain the basic ins and outs of the program and offer support for any questions the producers were having. To my surprise and delight, this went beyond my expectations. I was able to answer all questions and that felt GOOD!

What a great week. 🙂 Happy 4th of July, too!



Week Five!

2 07 2012