4-H leaders saluted at recent training forum

March 20, 2015 in mainfeature

John Carney saluted a group of more than 100 4-H leaders for the important work they do for Delaware's children

John Carney saluted a group of more than 100 4-H leaders for the important work they do for Delaware’s children

At the 2015 4-H Volunteer Leader Forum held in Newark in February, U.S.Rep. John Carney spoke before the gathering of approximately 100 4-H leaders and praised the volunteers for the important work they do.

“As I think about the challenges we have,” Carney said, “the most important is what we are doing to bring up our next generation. That is what you do every day.”

“Your work is as important as anyone is doing. It is more important that the work I am doing on your behalf as your sole member of Congress,” Carney continued. “Only you are on the front lines doing it. Whether you are leading a program, working with the kids and mentoring them every day, these kids need us.”

Before his address, Carney talked with the volunteers and joined in the pledges (4-H Pledge and Pledge of Allegiance) a practice that begins all 4-H meetings and events. Carney’s speech kicked off what is a 4-H annual volunteer winter event —a day of learning new skills, and enjoying fellowship and exchange of ideas among new and veteran leaders and the 4-H Extension staff with whom they closely work. 4-H programs are delivered through traditional monthly clubs, in school and afterschool programs, day and over night camps and specialty programs and events delivered across the state. Each year, the forum rotates to a different county. In Delaware, more than 60,000 youth are impacted by 4-H programs and curriculum.

Volunteers selected three classes from a menu of workshops which focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), wildlife, healthy living habits, food safety and nutrition, CPR, container gardening, monarch butterfly preservation, wood science, livestock, understanding diversity, record keeping and crafts. The workshops are an opportunity to reinforce a skill or learn something new from 4-H’s diverse curriculum

Jill Jackson, Ernie Lopez, Karen Gouge (New Castle Lifetime Volunteer Award) Paula Wood (Kent County Volunteer of the Year Award) Jacalyn Bradley (Sussex Lifetime), Jennifer Trunfio (New Castle VoY), Peggy Spence (Kent Lifetime), Mallory Vogl, Doug Crouse. Not pictured: Gina Anger (Sussex VoY)

Jill Jackson, Ernie Lopez, Karen Gouge (New Castle Lifetime Volunteer Award) Paula Wood (Kent County Volunteer of the Year Award) Jacalyn Bradley (Sussex Lifetime), Jennifer Trunfio (New Castle VoY), Peggy Spence (Kent Lifetime), Mallory Vogl, Doug Crouse. Not pictured: Gina Anger (Sussex VoY)

During lunchtime, winners of the Salute to Excellence Award which recognizes outstanding volunteer service, were announced.Two individuals from each county are recognized in the following categories: Volunteer of the Year, for service 10 years and under, and the Lifetime Volunteer Award for more than 10 years of service. This year’s list of winners included:

  • New Castle: Volunteer of the Year : Jennifer Trunfio; Lifetime Volunteer: Karen Gouge
  • Kent County: Volunteer of the Year: Paula Wood; Lifetime Volunteer: Peggy Spence
  • Sussex County: Volunteer of the Year: Gina Anger; Lifetime Volunteer: Jacalyn Bradley

To become a Delaware 4-H leader, adults go through an extensive application process which includes a criminal background check. In addition to training opportunities at the annual forum, 4-H volunteers receive curriculum training and support at the county level, and many participate in regional and national 4-H leader forums and 4-H sponsored events.

“The State Leader Forum is definitely a day I look forward to each year,” said Doug Crouse, Interim Delaware 4-H progam leader. ” It allows all of our 4-H volunteers across the state to network and learn from each other while having the opportunity to participate in a variety of educational workshops. These volunteers certainly benefit from the knowledge gained and experience from their participation in this event.”

More pictures below:

 

Delaware 4-H’ers compete at state 4-H Horse Bowl

March 19, 2015 in mainfeature

The Delaware 4-H program recently held their annual State 4-H Horse Bowl with a record number of teams competing. 118 Delaware 4-H members representing 31 teams participated in the equine knowledge-based quiz bowl competition held at Lake Forest North Elementary in Felton, Delaware. The Delaware 4-H Horse Advisory Committee, a group composed of 4-H volunteers from all three Delaware counties that are dedicated to providing quality 4-H horse programs to members, sponsors the annual event. 4-H members competed on teams of up to four individuals and teams are divided into competition brackets based on age for the double elimination event. 4-H volunteer adult leaders coached young people to prepare them in the months leading up to the competition using specified resource materials. 48 Delaware 4-H volunteers assisted with the Horse Bowl event. Volunteer officials included Ms. Kacie Minner, Ms. Wendy Lippincott from the Delaware Equine Council and Dr. Christina Dayton, D.V.M. of All Creatures Veterinary Service. View the slideshow of the event at the the bottom of this article.

The top three teams in each age division were:

Beginner (8-10 year olds)
1st Place– Holler-N-Hooves- Kent County
Team Members: Sydni Brown, Kassidy Hearn, Lauren Williams
Coaches: Jody Williams
2nd Place– East Coast Fearsome Fillies, Sussex County
Team Members: Kyli Baridon, Alex Herber, Anna Lopez, Tori Smith
Coach: Heather Smith, Jodie Gravenor
3rd Place– East Coast Mini Stars- Sussex County
Team Members: Logan Layfield, Emily Phillips, Ruby Phillips
Coaches: Heather Smith, Jodie Gravenor

Junior (11-13 year olds)
1st Place– Hearts 4-Horses
Team Members: Hayley Halloran, Sierra Kane, Lily Koster
Coach: Lee Halloran
2nd Place– Spotted Quarters, New Castle County
Team Members: Carly Mekulski, Grace Silicato, Bianca Todd
Coach: Tina Mekulski
3rd Place– Holler-N-Hooves- Kent County
Team Members: Kassidy Kohland, Maddy Lester, Sophia Peterson
Coach: Dawn Kohland

Senior (14-19 year olds)
1st Place– New Horizons- Kent County
Team Members: Ashley Hurd, Lauren Ide, Peyton Ridgely
Coach: Jennifer Ridgely, Dawn Spader
2nd Place– Heavenly Hooves- New Castle County
Team Members: Sarah Brown, Jessica Knowles, Brianna Mason, Melissa Vorn
Coach: Ann Blackmore
3rd Place– Holler-N-Hooves 4-H Club- Kent County
Team Members: Brittany Cahall, Sara Deason, Christie Little, Courtney Sarlouis
Coaches: Sharon Little

Delaware 4-H wins national 4-H Grown Contest

March 18, 2015 in Kent County 4-H, mainfeature, New Castle County 4-H

March 17, 2015 – National 4-H Council announced that Delaware 4-H has won a national contest to win a $10,000 “Innovation Incubator” Science Sponsorship. Local 4-H alumni determined outcome by checking in with name, email and selecting Delaware as their 4-H state.

The contest is part of the 4-H GROWN Alumni Campaign, sponsored by National 4-H Council and HughesNet. The interactive campaign invited the estimated 25 million 4-H alumni across the U.S. to help direct sponsorship funding by checking in, tagging friends and casting votes to bring more science innovation experiences to youth in their hometown communities.

“What a great team effort!” said Michelle Rodgers, associate dean and director of University of Delaware Cooperative Extension upon learning the news on Tuesday.”It is a fact that TEAM stands for Together Everyone Achieves More.”

The teamwork’s outreach for the 8-week contest spanned across local press releases, two articles in UDaily, social media efforts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, email campaigns, and efforts from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources entire communication team, college staff, students, and of course, Delaware’s vibrant 4-H community.

In addition to the $10,000 science scholarship, up to two local young innovators will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the flagship 4-H National Youth Science Day event in Washington, D.C., where they will participate in the world’s largest youth-led science experiment.

Through 4-H GROWN, local alumni will also re-connect with the local 4-H that helped them succeed and with a network of millions of 4-Hers around the world.

National 4-H Council and HughesNet offered this opportunity through their collaboration to spark more youth interest in STEM. The partnership brings hands-on STEM learning experiences to youth across the country, with a focus on small communities where resources for interactive STEM learning are limited.

To learn more about the National 4-H Council and HughesNet partnership, visit www.hughesnet.com/4h.

 

Mikayla Ockels earns Delaware 4-H Diamond Clover Award

October 30, 2014 in Diamond Clover Award, mainfeature

L to R: Mark Isaacs, Rep. Steve Smyk, Rich Ockels, Mikayla Ockels, Cindy Ockels, Rep. Harvey Kenton, Ernie Lopez

L to R: Mark Isaacs, Rep. Steve Smyk, Rich Ockels, Mikayla Ockels, Cindy Ockels, Rep. Harvey Kenton, and Ernie Lopez. Photo by Michele Walfred

On September 27, 2014 during a gathering at the 2014 Sussex County 4-H Achievement Banquet, Sussex County 4-H member Mikayla Ockels, 16, is the third statewide recipient of the Delaware 4-H Diamond Clover Award, the highest honor a 4-H member can earn. The 4-H Diamond Clover Award is Delaware 4-H’s formal acknowledgment of Ockels’ achievement to make a significant difference in her community and state.

Ockels is a member of the Harbor Lights 4-H  Club and resides in Milton, Del. with her parents Rich and Cindy Ockels.

Delaware 4-H has long acknowledged excellence with blue ribbons, trophies, project pins and has awarded many scholarships to its 4-H members. The Diamond 4-H Clover Award is the capstone recognition to honor members who demonstrate extraordinary, sustained and focused service learning in their community. Ockels project implemented a goat herd management plan, part of what she envisions as a larger plan for Sussex Central High School’s teaching farm located in Georgetown.

The 4-H Diamond Clover Award is considered the equivalent of the Boy Scout Eagle or Girl Scout Gold Award.

“As with the Eagle, a very small number of members achieve this ultimate level of recognition,” said Dan Tabler a 4-H educator who conceived the award. The Delaware 4-H Foundation sponsored the award for the First State.

To attain the Diamond Clover Award, a 4-H member must first progress through five stages. Upon completion, each stage is marked with a gemstone award designation – amethyst, aquamarine, ruby, sapphire, emerald and diamond. “The sixth level requires the 4-H member to propose a major community service project that must be approved by a local Diamond Clover Committee and the state 4-H project leader,” said Tabler. Completing the final level typically takes one to two years, Tabler said. Tabler worked closely with Delaware 4-H Project Leader Mark Manno to bring the award to the First State.

Ockels’ project – shepherding a team for long-term goat care

Ockels reviewed her plan with several advisors at Sussex Central High School

Ockels reviewed her plan with several advisors, here shown with Karen Oliphant who worked with Mikayla to formulate plans, collect data at Sussex Central High School. Submitted photo.

Ockels, currently a junior at Sussex Central High School, designed and facilitated a plan to care and manage goat herds housed at the school’s teaching farm. Caring for goats, as it turns out, came naturally to Ockels. Goats are part of the family’s 8-acre homestead, which also includes horses and beehives and other animals and crops the family has developed to create a self-sustaining environment.

During her freshman year, Ockels arrived at school a little earlier than most students – riding with her mother Cindy  who serves as a school nurse.  During the extra time before the school bell rang, Ockels could often be found at the farm, checking in on the animals.

“The farm was a great resource for students, but I saw some areas that could be improved,” Ockels shared. The challenge, Ockels found, was clearing a plan with school administrators,teachers and students, all with different opinions, and implement the plan in such a way so that it would be sustainable for students in the future. Ockels met with school administration and worked closely to formulate plans, collect data and create communication with the Ag Science department at Sussex Central High School.

Ockels, with procedures in hand, checks on the goats at Sussex Central's teaching farm

Ockels, with procedures in hand, checks on the goats at Sussex Central’s teaching farm

Ockels developed an application process from which she selected five students to help implement her goat herd management plan, and her team quickly grew to a staff of 15 student volunteers. “This team shared responsibilities such as feeding, hoof care, medication and cleaning,” Ockels said. She taught them how to communicate and keep on track with a schedule of needed duties.

“My project taught me so many life lessons, lessons such as communication skills, time management, determination and problem solving, ” she added.

In crediting her team, Ockels also acknowledged the leadership of her 4-H advisors, and one in particular Mark Manno, Delaware 4-H project leader who died on Sept. 13.

“Mr. Mark Manno was an inspiration, a great leader, and a brilliant advisor to me as I was forming ideas from my project,” Ockels told the audience.  “His ideas helped make my project the success that it is.”

Looking ahead, Ockels sees her project expanding and continuing to impact the Sussex Central High School community and beyond. In “creating a place where students can learn about responsibility and explore career options,” Ockels is excited by the legacy her 4-H Diamond Clover project will serve for others to continue and build upon. “The power of a service project is the ability to move a body of people into action, and watch the benefits in the community,” Ockels said. “The Diamond Clover project is no longer mine alone. It belongs to the people that will help carry the project on.”

Article by Michele Walfred

 

 

Delaware 4-H celebrates 2014 Hall of Fame laureates

October 14, 2014 in Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame, mainfeature

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons told the audience that  those who served through 4-H contribute an essential part in the lives of tens of thousands of youth in Delaware

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons told the audience that those who served through 4-H contribute an essential part in the lives of tens of thousands of youth in Delaware

On Friday, October 3, 2014, Delaware 4-H celebrated the induction of 21 individuals whose time, dedication and volunteer service have left lasting legacies that will inspire future leadership through involvement with the nation’s largest youth program. The event was held at the Dover Downs Hotel.

 

U.S. Rep. John Carney with Laureates Ruth Ann Messick and Jay Hukill

U.S. Rep. John Carney with Laureates Ruth Ann Messick and Jay Hukill

U.S. Representative John Carney and U.S. Senator Chris Coons paid tribute to the Delaware 4-H Laureates. Additional members of the Delaware Legislature and representatives from the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and the Delaware 4-H Foundation also applauded the significance the Laureates’ service on behalf of the Delaware 4-H program and the entire state.

“I hope all of us will remember tonight so many different ways the great leaders of 4-H, Bobby [Messick] and Mark [Manno] and many, many others have made a vital difference in the lives of young people that has changed them, lifted them up and given them the skills to will help them be an important part of our state, our community and our country,” Coons said.

The inaugural Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame Ceremony was held in 2012 and is modeled after the national ceremony. In 2012,  the event included a Pioneer class of inductees as well as the first class of 4-H Laureates.

The evening of celebration, shared with family and friends, remembered and honored the memory of the Laureates who could not be present at the ceremony. Their presence, in photographs shown throughout the evening, and through remarks made by family members who accepted on their behalf, was keenly felt by all who attended.

Members of the Delaware 4-H State Teen Council served as Laureate escorts for the evening.

The Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame is sponsored and supported by the Delaware 4-H Foundation and Delaware Cooperative Extension.  Delaware 4-H is the largest youth development program in the state with 41,000 members yearly and also the most effective, based on data from the Tufts Study of Positive Youth Development. Volunteer adults, known as leaders, are the life force behind the success of the 4-H program. Once a leader, the majority of volunteers continue to serve the organization for decades – a lifetime commitment to “making the best better” for Delaware children.

The 2014 Laureates in alphabetical order by county inducted in the ceremony (deceased in italics) are:

New Castle County: H. Wallace Cook, Jr. (Hap), H. Wallace Cook, Sr. (Wallace), Patricia Shaffer

Kent County: Frances Clinton and Earl Clinton, Susan Benson Cox, Jane EverlineLola GibbsBetty Lou Gooden, Ruth Ann Messick and Robert Messick, Sally Moller, Grace V. Tinley, Betty Jo (BJ) Van Kavelaar

Sussex County: Jay Hukill, Carlene Jones, Frances Millman, Barbara Taylor, William (Bill) and Ellen Vanderwende, Carole Vincent.

 

Images of the 2014 Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame are available for download on the Delaware 4-H Flickr site and may be seen below:

4-H Palindrome Robotics wins 26-hour competition in West Virginia

August 7, 2014 in mainfeature

4-H Palindrome members join alliance members as overall winners of the First Robotics Competition in West Virginia

4-H Palindrome members join alliance members as overall winners of the First Robotics Competition in West Virginia

University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension 4-H Palindrome Robotics team emerged victorious in the first ever 26-hour, 14-minute First Robotics Competition (FRC) event that ran from Friday, August 1 to Saturday, August 2 in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The event was put together by Mountaineer Area Robotics (MARS) and it was the first for the state—as well as the first event to go 26 hours.

Aibohphobia, 4-H Palindrome's award winning robot

Aibohphobia, 4-H Palindrome’s award-winning robot

The FRC Competition found Palindrome using their robot, Aibohphobia — meaning the fear of palindrome—to once again play in the aerial assist game.

The team ranked third out of 24 teams and found themselves as the second-seeded Alliance Captain, meaning they were able to pick two other teams to their alliance. They chose to team up with the Inverse Paradox team from Mississauga, Ontario, and the McDonogh Eagles from Owings Mills, Maryland.

Together with these teams, the alliance ended up winning the whole event.

Delaware's 4-H Palindrome robotic team poses with Aibohphobia

Delaware’s 4-H Palindrome robotic team poses with Aibohphobia

Santesh Shah, the mentor for the club, explained that in addition to winning, “one of our team members gets a full ride scholarship to West Virginia University. Coming out to about $13,000 a year for tuition.”

To read more about Palindrome Robotics and how they’ve fared in their inaugural year, check out their story on UDaily.

Delaware 4-H hosts Sicilian students as part of Youth Ambassadors Program

July 11, 2014 in mainfeature

The UD Cooperative Extension 4-H Program recently hosted students from Sicily as part of the 2014 Youth Ambassadors Program. They visited the Peninsula Composting Group facility to learn more about environmental issues.

The UD Cooperative Extension 4-H Program recently hosted students from Sicily as part of the 2014 Youth Ambassadors Program. They visited the Peninsula Composting Group facility to learn more about environmental issues.

The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension 4-H Program recently hosted 14 students from Sicily, the largest of the Italian islands, as part of the 2014 Youth Ambassadors Program.

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State through its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

The participants spent time in the United States from May 17 through June 7 and did everything from exploring Washington, D.C., to spending a night in New York’s American Museum of Natural History.

They also learned how to solve problems facing their communities, important information that they can take with them as they return home.

“They’ve had a pretty broad experience with the idea that they go back to Sicily and maybe do some projects in their community that engage people,” said Mark Manno, Delaware 4-H program leader. “We’ve been trying to teach them how to identify who the stakeholders are in their community and then how to proceed with a project, looking at what steps they need to take so that it’s successful. I think learning those skills will really help them in the end because you could have a great idea for a project but if you don’t know how to implement it, it won’t get off the ground.”

Many of the students identified pollution as a major problem in their community and so they spent time at the Peninsula Composting Group facility learning about commercial composting. They also took an ecological kayak tour at Sedge Island in New Jersey and helped plant beach grass to replenish the dunes.

In addition, the students learned about working in groups, doing team-building exercises to learn about each other’s personalities and how they meshed when trying to solve a problem.

“They’ve gone through what we call the True Colors personality IQ so they all understand their particular styles,” said Manno. “We always do that with kids and it’s really an exercise in diversity. They learn ‘why is this person this way and why am I that way,’ and it helps them understand that some people are very organized and some are just completely different. So they’ve done a lot of skill building and team building exercises.”

Chiara Maggiore, one of the students participating in the program, said that the program “is really teaching us something about ourselves in particular; about our capacities and how we can do something better for our community. I like the fact that we are having so much fun. We are enjoying the trip and we are experiencing things for the first time. At the same time, we came from different parts of the same region and we have such different personalities but we’ve come together and created a great group.”

Gaetano Pardo, another student on the trip, said that he had visited Australia before and was expecting America to be similar to that country. “I was expecting it to be like Australia but it’s not,” said Pardo. “There are a lot of trees and the houses are very different.”

Extending across states

The students spent a large portion of their time in the United States in New Jersey, staying with 4-H host families in the state and being led by Rutgers University Cooperative Extension. Manno pointed out that Alayne Torretta, a New Jersey 4-H agent, was great to work with and that this program — as well as the last program that had students from Colombia and Ecuador — shows the possibilities of Extension partnerships among different states.

“Last fall Delaware 4-H teamed with Maryland’s Cecil County 4-H. This is a great example of cross-state partnerships in Extension. When I first got this grant, I knew we couldn’t do two cycles a year, so I put out a call to my colleagues in the northeast region and I got a lot of interest from that. And I’ve known Alayne Toretta a long time and it’s worked out very well so far,” said Manno.

Manno added that Delaware 4-H is waiting to hear from the State Department about round two of the program. “Teens from almost anywhere in the world may be coming to Delaware and Maryland soon,” he said. “Wherever they come from, they’re guaranteed a great experience in learning about democracy and problem solving.”

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Fitness course earns Ashley Conroe the 4-H Diamond Clover Award

May 16, 2014 in mainfeature

Ashley poses with awards

Ashley Conroe, center, Delaware 4-H’s second Diamond Clover Award winner. With Ashley L-R: Michelle Rodgers, Sen. Gary Simpson, Sen. Ernie Lopez and Rep. Ronald Gray. Photo by Michele Walfred.

On Wednesday, May 14, during a gathering at the 2014 Delaware 4-H Legislative Day, Sussex County 4-H member Ashley Conroe was named as the second recipient of the Delaware 4-H Diamond Clover Award, the highest honor a 4-H member can earn. The 4-H Diamond Clover Award is Delaware 4-H’s formal acknowledgment of Conroe’s achievement to make a significant difference in her community and state.

Conroe is  a member of the Lord Baltimore 4-H Helping Hands Club and resides in Ocean View, Del. with her parents Annmarie and Greg Conroe.

Delaware 4-H has long acknowledged excellence with blue ribbons, trophies, project pins and has awarded many scholarships to its 4-H members. The Diamond 4-H Clover Award is the capstone recognition to honor members who demonstrate extraordinary, sustained and focused service learning in their community.

The 4-H Diamond Clover Award is considered the equivalent of the Boy Scout Eagle or Girl Scout Gold Award.

“As with the Eagle, a very small number of members achieve this ultimate level of recognition,” said Dan Tabler a 4-H educator who conceived the award. The Diamond Clover Award also been adopted in Maryland and Nebraska. The Delaware 4-H Foundation sponsored the award for the First State.

To attain the Diamond Clover Award, a 4-H member must first progress through five stages. Upon completion, each stage is marked with a gemstone award designation – amethyst, aquamarine, ruby, sapphire, emerald and diamond. “The sixth level requires the 4-H member to propose a major community service project that must be approved by a local Diamond Clover Committee and the State 4-H project leader,” said Tabler.

Delaware 4-H’s Project Leader Mark Manno supervised Conroe’s process which took nearly two years to complete. At the award ceremony, Manno described the 4-H Diamond Clover Award process as intense, “It is not a race, it is a journey,” Manno said. ” It takes a lot of work and it impacts a lot of people. It is not for everybody. You really have to be passionate, committed and be willing to shed a few tears,” Manno said.

Conroe’s project – some tears, a lot of rain and a feeling of accomplishment

In her years with 4-H, Conroe’s interests gravitated toward the sciences and was active in computer arts, graphic arts, aerospace and robotic projects. As a cross country team member at Indian River High School, Conroe first thought of the idea to develop a fitness course in the untended land she saw near her school’s cross country course.

“In our community, there are not many places or trails to use for people to exercise whenever they would like to, and membership in a gym can be expensive,” Conroe told the 4-H rally audience. “Having an exercise course like this would improve everyone’s health.”

Wood Science was never a chosen 4-H project for Conroe. All that was about to change.

Conroe approached her coach, Major Ryman about her idea and he approved. With his help, Conroe navigated through the approval process which meant several meetings with school board members and the school’s building and regulation committee.

Conroe used the Internet to research the different types of outdoor exercise courses available. One of stipulations of her meetings was that the material had to be natural to fit into the wooded setting where the course would be located. Conroe began to think what she might be able to construct. She had a natural resource built into her 4-H network.

girl spreading mulch around a bench

Ashley puts the the finishing touches on one of her three exercise fitness stations. Photo courtesy of Conroe family

Although wood science is a popular 4-H project, it was an area in which Conroe had no experience. “Since I didn’t have much wood working skills, I talked to several people to see who could help.”

Conroe talked with 4-H wood science leader Bo Waller, who gave her some workable ideas. “Luckily, my father has a lot of tools and saws I was able to use,” Conroe said.

Another stipulation was that the course have 10 stations, each spaced a tenth of a mile apart. Ambitious, but practical, Conroe knew creating 10 stations would prove difficult for one person to undertake.  She decided to focus on three, and set about soliciting help to create the remaining seven. Her three stations are designed to allow runners to stretch and develop core muscle strength.

Conroe knew first hand the importance of muscle tone and injury prevention. During the project, Conroe tore her ACL during a soccer game. The injury delayed her ability to work on the project. “It was hard to move around and carry wood when you have two crutches in your hand,” Conroe admitted.  Her injury required knee surgery and physical therapy. “I did learn a lot a from the physical therapy about correct exercises.”

Besides the challenges of her injury, Conroe fought an enduring rainy season, which slowed her progress. “It was hard to stabilize the wood because it was always muddy,” Conroe remembered. Each area of her station had to be cleared of grass, and soil had to be turned over and leveled. “One station was really woody and needed trees cut and weeds pulled. This took quite a long time,” Conroe said.  Each station is finished off with mulch and outlined.

Conroe also networked with her IRHS graphics instructor Mr. Hoffman and his students to construct signs that explain each station’s purpose. “He is gong to make a big map where all the stations are, ” Conroe continued. Conroe wanted a uniform look for the entire fitness trail even though many people are contributing to the overall course. “I built a sign holder at each station and each one has the 4-H logo on it,” Conroe said.

Conroe focused her attention on her three stations – a sit-up bench, a set of three balance beams and a set of steps that runners can use to stretch or practice agility. “Each of the three exercise pieces was built at my house and transported to a field, ” Conroe said.

Ashley working in the garage building station

Build it and they will come! Photo courtesy of the Conroe family

As her project began to take shape, others grew interested in the project. Conroe was able to get a teak bench donated. Conroe placed the bench near the center of the course as a place for people to rest.

Conroe, who is also a Girl Scout, worked with area scouts who donated materials to install bird houses placed in different areas throughout the course. Conroe also received donations from area lumber yards such as 84 Lumber and Lowes. A local Boy Scout is now working on one or more stations and Conroe consulted with her school’s construction teacher to have his students, who often make things for the community, to consider taking on any remaining stations to reach the goal of 10.

The journey to see her goal through taught Conroe how to ask for funds and receive donations and discounts from area vendors. “I learned how to stay organized and keep everything in line.”  Injuries, weather delays and personal loss of her grandfather were all setbacks to achieve closure for her project, but Conroe persevered and believes she is stronger for the hardships she faced. “I learned things will always work out in the end,” Conroe reflected.

Conroe can now add 4-H wood working skills to her long 4-H resume.

“It feels really good to have the accomplishment and to actually do something for the community,” she said. “The cross country and football team are using it now. I think the soccer team is going to start using it soon.” Conroe hopes that the entire community, not just the school athletes, will enjoy the course. Conroe is looking to spread the word to her community.

Conroe is currently completing her first year of college at Delaware Technical and Community College and plans to attend Salisbury State University and plans to study physical therapy.

Article by Michele Walfred

 

 

Unique Overnight Harness Racing Camp Experience Offered at Harrington Raceway In June

May 5, 2014 in mainfeature, State Events

DSC_0996Did you ever wonder what it would be like to drive a race horse? Have you ever thought about what it takes to care for a horse or prepare a horse to race? Harrington Raceway is hosting an overnight summer harness racing camp June 21-25, 2014 for youth ages 12-14. The camp is offered through a 3 way partnership formed between the Harness Horse Youth Foundation (HHYF), Harrington Raceway and the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. Campers will stay overnight at Harrington Raceway and spend a significant amount of time each day working hands on with the HHYF stable of Trottingbred racing ponies. Campers will participate in and learn about the daily care of race horses, racing equipment and harnessing, safety around horses and how to drive their equine athletes on the track.

In addition to HHYF and extension staff, local, professional drivers and trainers will be present at camp on a daily basis to help guide and instruct campers. The 5 day engaging camp experience culminates with campers partnering with professional drivers to race their ponies on the front track at Harrington Raceway, Wednesday evening June 25 in between the betting races. Registration for the camp is $150 and covers all accommodations, meals and field trips.

Campers should wear long pants, solid toed work shoes or heavy sneakers, and t-shirts. No tank tops or shorts will be permitted while working in the barn. No previous horse experience is required.

DSC_0986Registration forms are available on the State 4-H Animal Science webpage at https://extension.udel.edu/4h/files/2012/02/2014-Harness-Horse-Youth-Foundation-Harness-Racing-Camp-Application.pdf and will be accepted through May 15th. For questions, please contact Susan Garey at truehart@udel.edu or (302)730-4000 or Ellen Taylor at the Harness Horse Youth Foundation at (317)908-0029 or at ellen@hhyf.org

The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people’s lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org.

Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating. Distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

Delaware 4-H’ers Compete at State 4-H Horse Bowl Competition

March 14, 2014 in Kent County 4-H, mainfeature

85 Delaware 4-H members representing 26 teams competed recently in the State 4-H Horse Bowl Competition held at Lake Forest North Elementary in Felton, Delaware. The Horse Bowl event is a knowledge- based, quiz bowl competition. The Delaware 4-H Horse Advisory Committee, a group composed of 4-H volunteers from all three Delaware counties that are dedicated to providing quality 4-H horse programs to members, sponsors this annual event. Members compete on teams of up to four individuals and teams are divided into brackets based on age. 4-H volunteer adult leaders coach young people to prepare them in the months leading up to the competition. 41 Delaware 4-H volunteers assisted with the Horse Bowl event.

The top three teams in each age division were:

Beginner (8-10 year olds)

1st Place– Mini Stars- Sussex County

Team Members: Ruby Phillips, Layne Smith

Coaches: Jodie Gravenor, Heather Smith

Beginner Team-Palomino Ponies- competing L to R- Alexia Carroll, Cheyenne Bowman, Donne Mullins, Paige Taylor

Beginner Team-Palomino Ponies- competing L to R- Alexia Carroll, Cheyenne Bowman, Donne Mullins, Paige Taylor

2nd Place– Palomino Ponies, Sussex County

Team Members: Cheyenne Bowman, Alexia Carroll, Donna Mullins, Paige Taylor

Coach: Heather Taylor

3rd Place- Stable Minds- Kent County

Team Members: Bethany Butler, Alex Docherty, Ally Smith, Ashton Stafford

Coaches: Heather Crouse, Stacy Stafford

New Horizons 4-H club senior team competing L to R- Chad Dempsey, Peyton Ridgely, Ashley Hurd

New Horizons 4-H club senior team competing L to R- Chad Dempsey, Peyton Ridgely, Ashley Hurd


Junior (11-13 year olds)

1st Place- Boots “N” Spurs- Sussex County

Team Members: Katelyn Records, Garrett Smith

Coach: Heather Records

2nd Place– Westville Wicked Riders- Kent County

Team Members: McKenna Corbeil, Maggie Kling

Coach: Brittany Blacksten, Laura Pomatto

1st Place Senior Team- Buckin Beauties-  L to R Rebecca Arpie, Jackie Arpie, Whitney Records, Mikayla Ockels

1st Place Senior Team- Buckin Beauties- L to R Rebecca Arpie, Jackie Arpie, Whitney Records, Mikayla Ockels

3rd Place– Hearts-4-Horses- Kent County

Team Members: Rebekah Baughman, Nicole Cannavo, Ashlyn North, Donna Urian

Coach: Betsy Cannavo, Lee Halloran

Senior (14-19 year olds)

1st Place– Buckin’ Beauties- Sussex County

Team Members: Jackie Arpie, Rebecca Arpie, Mikayla Ockels, Whitney Records

Coach: Cindy Ockels

2nd Place– Hearts-4-Horses-Kent County

Team Members: Lexi Bloxom, Haley Reynolds, Hannah Ziccarelli

Coach: Rosemary Baughman, Connie Edwards

2nd Place Senior Team- Hearts-4-Horses- L to R Hannah Ziccarelli, Lexi Blocksom, Haley Reynolds

2nd Place Senior Team- Hearts-4-Horses- L to R Hannah Ziccarelli, Lexi Blocksom, Haley Reynolds

3rd Place– Holler-N-Hooves 4-H Club- Kent County

Team Members: Sara Deason, Katie Messick

Coaches: Sharon Little

4-H is a community of young people across Delaware learning leadership, citizenship and lifeskills. Join the Revolution of Responsibility! For more information on becoming a 4-H member or volunteer in Delaware please contact your county extension office:

New Castle County: (302)831-8965

Kent County: (302)730-4000

Sussex County: (302)856-7303