Posted in Programming, Youth

Summer Can Stress You Out

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My daughter showed a bucket calf as an “official”       4-H’er!  I’m proud to say that she didn’t care whether she received a red ribbon in horticulture or a purple on her calf, she just had fun!
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My youngest created memories with “Grandpa Beek” (my Dad) at the fair. That is what matters!

First of all, I’d like to give a shout-out to the many volunteers who helped contribute to a successful county fair!  Without great volunteers so freely giving their time and talents to the youth in the 4-H program, 4-H would not be the success it is! I would like to personally thank all of the extension staff, fair board members, 4-H Council members, superintendents, and other volunteers for their dedication to the 4-H program. Fair can be a stressful time; however, when we don’t lose sight of its purpose can create long-lasting and positive memories.

Stress comes from many sources: a family crisis such as death, divorce or long separation; It might be from overloaded schedules; maybe expectations that cannot be met or unexpected circumstances; A loss of job, health, home or friendship; it can even come from a happy event as marriage, the birth of a child, or moving into a new home. Regardless of the cause, the following are three ways you can manage your stress: alter it, avoid it, or accept it.

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Alter your life by removing the source of stress. Some stressors can be relieved by better planning or organization in your life. Simple things like having emergency supplies on hand, not shopping at the busiest times of the week, or organizing your work space can each be stress relievers. If morning schedules are tight, lay out children’s clothes or set the table for breakfast the night before.

Avoiding stress is another management strategy. Learn to say no, when an addition to your schedule will only add to your stress. If you are stressed by long waits, plan something to do (like reading a book) while you wait for an appointment. If there is too much tension in your home or office, go for a walk to clear your mind and relieve the tension.

Find a way to accept the stressors that we have no control over. Talking to a trusted friend will help you put things in perspective. Keeping in good health by eating well, getting enough sleep and keeping a routine are essential. Look for the good. Even in the worst of circumstances, there are things that can bring a smile to your face, reasons to be thankful, and opportunities to help others.

Source: How to Manage Daily Stress@ by Dr. Herbert G. Lingren, Extension Family Scientist, NF98-388.

 

 

Posted in Crops, Youth

Bacterial Leaf Streak

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My colleague from York County, Jenny Rees provided a quick summary of bacterial leaf streak (BLS) which has been confirmed in corn in various parts of the state.  Lesions can look similar to other diseases such as gray leaf spot (GLS). The major difference between BLS and GLS is that the lesion margins of bacterial leaf streak are wavy whereas they are blunt in gray leaf spot.  It’s important to tell the difference between the two since fungicides will not control bacterial diseases.  On CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu, there is an article showing a number of corn diseases and how to identify them.  Be sure to check it out and when in doubt, you can always get a sample to your local Extension educator or the plant and pest diagnostic lab.

Tamra Jackson-Ziems also has a Youth BLS Survey and competition with cash prizes for BLS envelopeFFA Chapters, 4-H Clubs, or other youth groups that submit the most POSITIVE samples from different fields.  Groups submitting 3 or more positive samples also get a certificate identifying them as “Certified Crop Disease Detectives!”  Youth packets can be be obtained from Tamra directly by emailing her at:  tjackson3@unl.edu

Posted in Youth

A Grand Champion Fair Experience

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As I write this, the Clay County Fair is in full-swing and the Fillmore County Fair about to begin, so this article highlights some interesting findings about what youth enjoy the most during a county fair experience. Every county fair, provides 4-H youth across the state with an opportunity to showcase the project work that they have completed throughout the year and to receive recognition for their efforts.

Model rockets that have been assembled from basic materials, cookies that will make your mouth water, sheep that are sheared for the big show, and many other exhibits can most likely be seen at your local county fair. Through these projects, youth develop self-confidence by experiencing success at solving problems and meeting challenges. County fairs provide a safe environment for youth to make mistakes and to receive constructive feedback, not only through competition, but also through their participation.

4-H youth look forward to the county fair because of the fun that this time of year brings. In a recentimg_5911.jpg study, many youth reported that they are motivated each year to participate in the county fair because they have fun. Whether showing a market steer, modeling a garment in the Fashion Revue, or exhibiting a GIS map of a local park, youth across all project areas compete and participate in the county fair activities because they are fun.

Youth also shared that “achieving goals,” “spending time with friend,” and “teamwork” contributed toward their engagement in the annual county fair. Recognition, competition, fair premiums, and qualifying for the state fair ranked low in comparison to these other motivating factors.

Important educational youth development opportunities also exist within the 4-H fair experience. By completing 4-H projects and activities at the local fair and throughout the year, youth are mastering skills to make positive career and life choices. It is important for youth to discover in a non-threatening setting that certain vocations may or may not be right for them.

Give 4-H youth at your local county fair a grand champion experience by providing constructive feedback and encouragement. Your words and actions will allow youth to discover their own personal strengths and weaknesses through their 4-H project areas, all while having fun in a positive county fair environment.

Source: Eric Stehlik, Extension Assistant in Saline County. This article comes from a series of resources developed by 4-H Youth Development professionals.

Posted in Livestock, Youth

Sportsmanship & Youth Development

Webster’s Third International Dictionary defines sportsmanship as “conduct becoming to an individual involving fair and honest competition, courteous relations and graceful acceptance of results”.  Sportsmanship starts with parents teaching their youth how to accept a win or a loss, although in the 4-H youth development program, even if the youth receives a red ribbon, nothing is lost as long as some basic knowledge and skills were gained. Too often in our society we focus on the tangible results of a ribbon or trophy and don’t think about the process that youth went through to achieve the end results and what was learned from that process.

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I often use the example that as a youth, I’ll never forget receiving a red ribbon for a market heifer; I was disappointed, but will never forget my dad asking me, what the judge said in the comments.  After we talked it over, I realized his reasoning and was able to understand the type of animal I should select the following year. That was a lesson I’ll never forget.  My parents instilled the value of hard work into my sister and I and any animal we showed we bought with our own money to build a small cow/calf herd or they came from our own herd. We rarely had the award-winning animal and were extremely excited to even receive a purple ribbon. The learning that occurred, memories and fun we had were just as valuable than if we would have received a trophy or plaque.  For these reasons, it is really rewarding to work with youth who are happy with any ribbon placing- white, red, blue or purple. It really is just one person’s opinion on one particular day!

The 4-H Program focuses on providing positive youth development and developing young people as future leaders. A ribbon or plaque placing does not achieve this; rather it is the process, skills and effort that went into the project.  It is also important to mention that the entire 4-H program extends beyond the county fair and is done through educational workshops, career portfolios, leadership experiences and much more and is a year round program.

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As a first-time 4-H’er, one of the things I try to emphasize to my daughter is the importance of doing the best you can, learning and having fun! It can be disappointing to put a lot of work into a project and not receive champion or desired results, but the sooner she learns that you can’t always win, the better!

Three reasons adults and teen leaders should be concerned with developing sportsmanship are:

  1. Youth programs are easier to conduct and are more positive experiences for everyone involved if good sportsmanship is demonstrated.
  2. The development of sportsmanship is an important part of youth development. Youth and adults who develop and show good sportsmanship get along better, and are much more successful on a long-term basis in becoming self-directing, productive, contributing, competent, caring, capable adults, than are those whose behavior is un-sportsmanship-like.
  3. Sportsmanship is one of the key elements of civilized society. Those who think of the “big picture” know the reasons for developing sportsmanship extend beyond an individual, a community, or a program. When societies allow sportsmanship to decline, their civilizations also decline.

As we get ready for anotherCounty Fair, let’s be reminded that the end result is not the ribbon placing, but the skills that each youth learned!

Source: Kathryn J. Cox, Ohio Extension 4-H Specialist, Youth Development, Developing Sportsmanship- A Resource For Preparing Youth And Their Families For Participation in Competitive Programs and Events, 2006

Posted in Programming, Youth

Fair Season

For many 4-H and FFA youth, projects have been well underway since the first of the year and beyond. 4-H and FFA youth enroll in projects, utilize curriculum and resources designed to help youth grow essential skills needed to enter exhibits at the fair which showcase their knowledge and skills gained. Extension staff and 4-H volunteers have offered numerous educational workshops for youth in a wide variety of topics from computer coding, cupcake decorating, plant science investigation, sewing, fishing and others. Youth have also participated in public speaking, a culinary food challenge and soon the clothing and fashion day.

Probably the most visible part of the 4-H youth development program is the county fair. The fair provides youth the opportunity to showcase their exhibits with community members. In our area, fairs are rapidly approaching.

The 2017 Clay County Fair will be July 6-9, 2017 in Clay Center, NE and the 2017 Fillmore County Fair will be July 9-15, 2017 in Geneva, NE.

Posted in Programming, Youth

Educator Eclipse Training

One of the many projects I have been working on this spring has been some lessons how plants and animals react to the sun, especially with regards to a total solar eclipse. You may or may not be aware, but over 200 Nebraska communities fall within path of totality, or the path of the shadow where observers will see the moon completely over the sun for roughly two and a half minutes.  During the total solar eclipse, the moon’s umbral shadow will fly across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina, in a little over 90 minutes. This is the first eclipse through the contiguous United States since 1979, according to NASA records.TSE2017-usa

In response to this rare and unique opportunity, Nebraska Extension and Raising Nebraska are partnering with the Hastings Museum to offer solar eclipse training for teachers and youth professionals in advance of the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. The training will provide participants with eclipse resources and lesson plans they can use in their classroom, after-school setting or organization.

The total solar eclipse is a remarkable phenomenon that not many have the opportunity to witness. Nebraska’s wide open spaces will be one of the best places to view the eclipse so we want to help youth professionals capitalize on this exciting teaching opportunity. The training will educate participants on exactly what the eclipse is and how they can take lessons from concept to application. The curriculum will also be applicable beyond the Aug. 21 event, covering topics such as nocturnal animals, how sundials work and why sunlight is critical for plants.

All trainings are free to attend and will be held from 2 – 4 p.m. Training dates and locations are:

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Participants will have access to a variety of lessons specific to the eclipse, in addition to plant and animal science lessons as related to the sun.
  • June 1: Raising Nebraska, Nebraska State Fairgrounds, 501 E. Fonner Park Rd., Grand Island
  • June 15: Hastings Museum, 1330 N. Burlington Ave., Hastings
  • June 18: Raising Nebraska
  • July 27: Training via Zoom video conference

To register for the June 15 training at the Hastings museum, please call 402-461-2339. To register for all other trainings, visit go.unl.edu/solareclipse. Space is limited.

For more information contact Beth Janning, Science and Agriculture in Action Educator at Raising Nebraska at 308-385-3967 or raisingnebraska@unl.edu.  Raising Nebraska is a joint effort of Nebraska Extension within the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska State Fair.

Posted in Crops, Programming, Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Competition

One of the statewide programs I coordinate is the Youth Crop Scouting Competition which engages youth in the crop sciences. It provides youth with real-world scenarios in crop production as they diagnose plant diseases, crop disorders, identify insects and weeds and other challenges producers currently face.IMG_6054.jpg

Registration is now open for the 2017 Youth Crop Scouting Competition to be held this August in eastern Nebraska. The contest is open to FFA and 4-H club members and will help those interested in crops test their skills and those new to crops better understand crop production.

To prepare for the contest youth are encouraged to learn about crop growth and development and basic crop scouting principles. If a group doesn’t know a lot about crops, they’re encouraged to ask a local agronomist to assist by providing a short lesson on crop production at regular meetings or outside of the meeting.

The crop scouting contest will be held at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC, formerly ARDC) near Mead on Aug. 1. The event will include both indoor and outdoor events. Teams of three to five junior high or high school students (those completing 7-12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate.

FFA Chapters or 4-H Clubs may enter a team composed of three or four participants. An adult team leader must accompany each team of students. Team leaders could be FFA advisors, crop consultants, extension staff, coop employees, etc.IMG_6093.jpg

Top-scoring teams win prizes: $500 for first, $250 for second, $100 for third place. The top two teams will be eligible for regional competition in August at Indiana.

Teams will be expected to know the basics of scouting corn and soybean fields. This includes crop staging; looking for patterns of crop injury; disease, insect and weed seedling identification; etc. Other topics may include but are not limited to pesticide safety, nutrient disorders, and herbicide injury.

More information about the crop scouting competition and instructions on how to register a team are available online in the Youth section of CropWatch under “Crop Scouting Competition” and in the contest flyer. The program is limited to 10 teams so be sure to register soon! Teams must be registered by July 20.

This program is sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, the Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association, and Nebraska Extension.