Posts Tagged With: 4-H

Up, Up, and Away!

Up and Away

Wednesday was my first day back to school!

I know, but I’ve graduated!  A whole year ago, where’s my big girl job???  Well getting a big girl job has proved to be a bit of a challenge this go round but I am working on it so I’ll be all grown up and employed next year…(and not in food services)

I went to SETC this year and did Job Contact Services, it was a great time and I had a few interviews but didn’t get any internships.  So I’ve decided to take this year and work on my portfolio/resume, get a job, save up some money, and good lord try to declutter my apartment!  I seem to have so much more stuff when I moved into a single apartment.

I spent my summer working as an ECI (Extension Camping Instructor) at different 4-H camps in West Virginia.  It was a blast!  I worked at Doddridge County, Marshall County, and Mingo County as well as volunteering down in Mercer County.  I had quite a summer and not a lot of computer time as I’m sure you noticed, which I’m planning on remedying this coming month.  Speaking of summer, I was at a camp without water for a day and a half, saw a raccoon get shot, and felt like I swam to more places than I walked it rained so much…but I wouldn’t trade any of my weeks at camp!

On to school! 

I am taking Costume History and Design, which I am super excited about!  I have been waiting for this class to be offered basically all of my undergrad and now I’m actually taking it.  So far we’ve done quite a bit of gesture drawing and just started on proportions with the 8 head method.  It’s just me and two other ladies, as well as Troy our professor.

My other class is a special topics class The World of The Teaching Artist.  It’s all about ways to be a good teaching artist (more on that later).  So far we’ve played quite a few theatre games, which are always fun.  This class is bigger than my design class and has 8 students and Fran, our professor.  Today we talked a little about content standards, those things are simultaneously super easy and super hard to understand.  I kinda feel like I have to stand a certain way, tilt my head, and squint to get them.  Next week I have to do an activity with the class, I’m not too worried about it though I think it’ll be fun.

 

Oh and I found this fantastical skirt at the local goodwill sometime last week!  I’ve had some great finds lately and this is one of my favourites.

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Something to YAC About!

This past weekend was YAC (Young Adult Conference).  It’s a weekend event for adult 4-Hers held at Jackson’s Mill.  I had a blast!  I always do when I’m at the Mill.  I love having a winter camp. After aging out, YAC is my last camp as a camper.  It’s really fun connecting to all my friends that I haven’t seen since last YAC, and even the friends I see during the year.

The best part about YAC is the magical snow that comes to the Mill.  At least it seems magical…it’s so different from my usual experiences at the Mill, in the summertime that the snow adds something special to my YAC experience.  Usually we’re still able to have Council Circle outside, but unfortunately the temperatures were too cold this year and we had it in the West Virginia Building.

We had three classes and I went to Irish Cuisine, Line/Folk Dancing, and YAC Planning 2015.  I had a great time in all of my classes.  I learned a new bread recipe, a line dance to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, and got to throw out ideas for the next YAC.  Oh, we also got to eat a lot of bread and have some tea in Irish Cuisine class, best time ever!

Saturday night was the camp dance and I got on the floor and grooved to a lot of different songs, probably my biggest amount of exercise in a good few weeks….maybe months haha.  I took stuff to donate to the Silent Auction this year, but there wasn’t a lot of exciting things to bid on.  Probably the most exciting item was a hand-crafted wooden canoe/kayak/some type of boat paddle, it had the clover and YAC wood burned in it.

Sunday’s announcements were fun.  Even though I graduated college in May, I’m still interested in helping out Fairmont’s Collegiate Club and there were numerous updates and things to look forward to on the collegiate level.  We also have officially hired a new Global Education Specialist, which means that someone is going to focus on the IFYE applications.  Hopefully they’ll be out before I get hired somewhere else for next year, but I can always apply for the trip after this one.

On another note it was so cold that it took my car forever to start, even with someone jumping it.  After we got it started I didn’t shut it off until I parked at my apartment.  The ride home took almost twice as long as usual because the roads in Morgantown were so scary; I saw someone drive sideways, luckily not into me.

I had a fantastic time this weekend and can’t wait to make my world a better place.

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A Letter to West Virginia 4-H

Dear West Virginia 4-H,

I know that you’re busy, National 4-H Week just winding down and all, but I just wanted to take a few minutes to say thank you.

A little over eleven years ago I was a quiet sixth grader who spent her time reading and helping out in the library before school started.  My biggest goal at the time was to read all the books in the school library.  When my friend invited me to a 4-H meeting I had no idea what to expect.  I remember staying with my friend and being confused by the pledge and singing of “West Virginia Boys and Girls”, but something stuck and I came back month after month.  When asked for volunteers to take a llama to the fair, I didn’t hesitate.  I named my llama Dusty Dreams and over the next three years we learned a lot from each other; he had to listen to me and I had to speak up and let Dusty know I was in charge.  Taking a llama to the fair was definitely my most memorable project but I also did sewing, puppetry, jewelry-making, and knitting, among other things.  Let me tell you, having a deadline as a child was hard (I got procrastination from my parents) but it was definitely a fantastic learning experience.  I appreciate growing up in a county with such a marvelous youth fair, and a 4-H program that didn’t question whether you would do a project but which one you would pick.

I think beyond the meetings and projects what made me stay in 4-H was the camping.  True, our camping can be quite posh compared to both scouting programs, but there is something about spending a week with boys and girls your age.  I started 4-H late compared to many kids in my home county, at age 11 I completely bypassed Younger Camp and went straight to Intermediate Camp, but I still felt welcome.  I followed my friend into the wonderful Cherokee tribe and had a great first week.  That first year I missed the Final Council Circle because, being a first generation 4-H’er, no one in my family knew what a big deal it was.  That was the only time I missed a Council Circle.  The next couple of years were spent in anticipation of 4-H Camp and the County Fair, then I discovered State Camps.  I never camped an Alpha but I was a die-hard believer in OMC.  Older Member’s Conference allowed me to meet 4-H’ers from all over the state and build friendships that will last a lifetime.  My two roommates are 4-H’ers that I met at OMC, and without 4-H I wouldn’t know them.

While working with fellow 4-H’ers is wonderful, 4-H gives its youth members the best adult role models the world over.  From club leaders to camp counselors 4-H is filled with adults who have had such a tremendous impact on my life.  West Virginia 4-H’ers are blessed with adults who challenge us to truly “make the best better” not only with their words but by their actions.

I’ve also had the opportunity to be that adult role model and give back to the program by spending two summers as an ECI leading camps.  Teaching a camp a new song or leading a Charting class have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

So to sum it up, for: molding me into a confident 23 year old, giving me the friendships of a lifetime, sharing magnificent adult role models, and especially employing me with the best summer job in the world I want to thank you from the very bottom of my heart.  Without your impact I am honestly unsure of what my life would look like.

How-How and God Bless,

A West Virginia 4-H’er

P.S.  Also thank you for making the county you’re from and the tribe you’re in just as important as your name.

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The Grand Old Duck of York

The Grand Old Duke of York…He had a thousand men…He marched them up the hill…He marched them down again…And when you’re up you’re up…

And when you’re down you’re down…

And when you’re only halfway up you’re neither up nor down!

When I saw this pub in Ireland I knew I had to get some pictures for the song.

The Grand Old Duke of York…

He had a thousand men…

He marched them up the hill…

He marched them down again…

And when you’re up you’re up…

And when you’re down you’re down…

And when you’re only halfway up you’re neither up nor down!

This is a song we sing at 4-H camp that is really fun because of the movement associated with it.
This past summer was my last year of being a camper which was incredibly sad for me, but I can’t be entirely sad because the West Virginia 4-H program has made me such a better person that I truly do not know where I would be without it.  I have spent the past ten years of my life being a 4-H member and these years have granted me some amazing experiences.  From the projects and camps to the lasting friendships, 4-H is one of the best programs for youths in America and in countries around the globe.

This past week I was in the Prichard lobby and some girls were talking about 4-H and I couldn’t help but join the conversation.  The one girl had mentioned going to OMC (Older Members’ Conference one of WV’s state 4-H camps) and I said that I had been there too.  She said she didn’t remember me being there and here’s what I said,

“Remember Friday night Council Circle?  That girl that was sobbing through the whole thing?  Yeah, that was me.”

And I didn’t cry the entire time just because it was the last night and I was going to be sad to go home the next day or because it wouldn’t be the same next year…I sobbed hysterically because I couldn’t imagine not ever coming back as a camper.  Because I didn’t know what I was going to do the next summer when I couldn’t go to any camps because I had aged out.  Because I was so incredibly happy to have gotten the opportunity to go to camp with all these wonderful, amazing people who understood just what 4-H is.  Because I knew that no matter what I would go on to do in life, the Friday night Council Circle of OMC 2012 would be one of the greatest moments of my life…And I still feel that way.  I still feel privileged to have participated in this program and especially to have gone until I aged out because not a lot of people get to do that.  In West Virginia 4-H is for ages 8-21 and once you hit the 18 year old mark kids start dropping out.  Life gets in the way; college, jobs, internships all prevent people from continuing in the program until they age out at 21, and I, very fortunately, had parents that loved what the program was and allowed me to continue in it.

I could write an entire blog about 4-H and never fully express the gratitude I have for the people that made this program so meaningful to me.

4-H is a program that emphasizes service to the surrounding community and while I was in Belfast we visited an organization that also valued service to their surrounding community.  The East Belfast Mission is sponsored by the Methodist Church and they have been working on rebuilding relations in East Belfast.

For a little history, Belfast is a city in Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom.  Northern Ireland, six of the nine counties of Ulster, is separate from the Republic of Ireland.  In the last century Belfast was the site of a large-scale conflict that lasted around 30 years, euphemistically known as The Troubles.  During The Troubles battle lines were drawn between the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) and the IRA (Irish Republican Army).  These two paramilitary groups were mainly Protestant and Catholic respectively.  Since the Good Friday agreement in 1998 things have calmed down and settled in Belfast but many of the old prejudices remain.  Many organizations, like the East Belfast Mission, are focused on building relationships between the two sides.

While our group was in Northern Ireland we got many chances to listen to local people talk about life during The Troubles and the rebuilding after the Good Friday Agreement.  The women’s group that made the sculpture pictured above started as a group made up of nearly all Protestants; however their group was challenged to build a relationship with another women’s group that was mainly Catholic.  The group tried many new activities, including a writing class in which many members contributed works to a book that they presented to our class.  After listening to several of their poems we got to ask questions.  It was amazing hearing about the everyday problems of not only life during The Troubles but of the rebuilding afterwards.  The women talked about how they felt when they first talked about merging the two groups, of how nervous they were and that they didn’t know if they could get along with each other…ironic considering they now meet twice a month.

The Mission was a really neat place to visit because of how active they were.  They were in the process of building Skainos (a cross between affordable housing, a church, office space, and a community building) which should be finished at the end of October, when we were there.  I think it was so intriguing to me because I was never exposed to this kind of work growing up.  We always went to church, and my parents did some work with the church but my exposure to this kind of community service didn’t come until later in life.  I did some volunteering with organizations like the Girl Scouts and 4-H.  Seeing all the opportunities for volunteering in Northern Ireland made me realize how many opportunities there are at home as well.  I’m pretty excited to finish school and use the skills I’ve been taught to help other people.

It’s taken quite a while for me to finish and post this mainly because Our Town has kept me so busy almost every night with rehearsal from 6:30-10.  Luckily we are now in performances and will close this Saturday.  Being in the play has been a great experience and I’m thankful that I was a part of it.  I will also be thankful when I have time to sit down and write my papers for class.

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Lauren Mann

Writer of Words, Singer of Songs, Wanderer, Secret Keeper

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