Triple 4-H Diamond Clover Awards score big for Kent County 4-H youth
In baseball parlance, a field of play is called a’ diamond’ and a triple is almost as good as a home run.
But for three Delaware 4-H’ers, Garrett Geidel, Hannah O’Hara, and Spring Vasey, all from Kent County, earning simultaneous 4-H Diamond Clover Awards is nothing short of a grand slam.
The 4-H Delaware Diamond Clover Award, Delaware 4-H’s formal and most prestigious acknowledgment of exemplary community service, had previously been awarded four times to Sussex County 4-H youth. In 2018, Kent County entered the field and swept the series, as Kent County 4-H’ers hit three line drives straight across the center field of community service.
Sussex’s early achievements are purely coincidence. Competition among counties is not a factor. The driving force in the process of earning a 4-H Diamond Clover Award is compassion and individual awareness of a community need and an effort to make a difference in that community. Giving and caring for others is the signature definition of what the ‘H” for ‘Heart’ means to a 4-H member.
“From the moment young 4-H members join our program, they are diamonds in the rough,” said Doug Crouse, Delaware 4-H program leader. “Early on, through their community clubs, 4-H youth are taught the value of community service. Service to others is truly the Heart beating in 4-H. Achieving the Diamond Clover Award embodies a journey of service that entails planning, networking, assessing a community need and then acting upon that need and making a difference. I am so very proud of Spring, Garrett, and Hannah.”
Delaware 4-H has long acknowledged excellence with blue ribbons, trophies, project pins and has awarded many scholarships to its 4-H members in recognition of well-done efforts. However, as the largest youth program in the nation, 4-H did not have a signature capstone award, similar to the BSA’s Eagle Scout Award, to honor members who demonstrated extraordinary, sustained, and focused service learning in their community. In 2003, a former 4-H educator in Delaware and Maryland, Dan Tabler, brought the idea to the Diamond State to adopt in practice after seeing it implemented in Maryland.
Earning the award does not happen overnight or in a single year of a youth’s 4-H career. Along with their Heart, youth plan with their Heads and act with their Hands toward increasing the Health and well-being of their community. While hardly rookies at community service, 4-H youth nevertheless know that they must pay their dues, work through the minor leagues of community service, and identify a need or purpose before, if you will, reaching the 4-H Diamond Clover ‘show’— the major league in recognition of 4-H effort.
To attain the Diamond Clover Award, a 4-H member must progress through five levels. Upon completion, each stage is marked with a gemstone award designation – amethyst, aquamarine, ruby, sapphire, emerald, and ultimately 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.
Giedel, O’Hara, and Vasey each identified a need in the community, produced a plan of action, and documented their journey and learning experiences, including personal challenges, setbacks, and successes. They provided their reflections in detailed, multi-paged reports delivered to the Diamond Clover Award selection committee. The process is demanding. The award is not routine.
Click to view a slideshow of additional photos.
Kent 4-H’s MVPs and their Diamond Award projects
Garrett Geidel: From puppy love to therapy dog
“I chose to raise a therapy dog for my 4-H Diamond Clover Project because it combines several of my passions,” Geidel said. “I was able to serve my community, foster a healthy lifestyle in myself and others, and work with a dog all at the same time!”
Geidel conducted extensive research on both the need, the impact it could have on his community, the best breeds to select for service and therapy, and all the steps necessary for training and certification.
Geidel settled on Rory, a Golden Retriever puppy located in Pittsburgh. Because Rory would also be a family pet, the entire Geidel family bore the $2,410 in expenses, including puppy purchase, veterinarian bills, training classes, certifications and registrations associated with the project.
One challenge, Geidel’s age, required that his mother also receive certification and accompany her son on therapy visits until he reached the age of 18. Geidel initially estimated the process would take six months and planned to visit locations twice a month. The reality was double his estimate.
If Geidel had a baseball card, his stats would be impressive. By the time he filed his documentation, he had totaled more than 460 volunteer hours, and to account for impact in monetary terms to the community, assigned a modest rate of $8 per hour for his personal time.
The true value of Geidel’s experience, he reports, can be seen in the reactions of the people he and Rory visit each week, usually paced at one-hour intervals for the benefit of Rory and the clients the duo befriends. Geidel visits nursing homes, assisted living facilities, memory care centers, rehab centers, hospitals and occasionally direct visits with special needs children. Garrett and Rory also increase awareness on the need of therapy dogs by setting up displays across the community and giving talks at schools and at various 4-H events. “It has also strengthened my own self-discipline and wellness,” Geidel reflected.
“After completing this project, I know much more about therapy dogs and their benefits, of course, but beyond that, I’ve learned more about myself,” Geidel said. “I have a clearer idea of where my passions can lead me, whether it be a career in health or public service, another opportunity to educate my peers and fellow citizens on the importance of these things, or even another visit at a local nursing home or hospital!” Read Garrett Geidel’s 4-H Diamond Clover Award submission here.
Hannah O’Hara – Making math fun with Project Hopscotch
The inspiration for Houston Cardinals 4-H member Hannah O’Hara’s Diamond Clover project arose from, where many great ideas come from— the family dinner table. From her mother, a public school educator, O’Hara sensed many students disliked mathematics. O’Hara wanted to change that attitude and create an environment that would help teachers build interest and enthusiasm for mathematics in young students. Getting to them early was important, O’Hara realized. She also had to make the learning fun.
“I decided to install Project Hopscotch because I saw a need for children learning math. Many older kids believe that math isn’t fun or that they have never been good at it,” O’Hara wrote in her report. “I decided to change that by allowing teachers to have a fun learning environment in a safe place.”
As her inception of a hopscotch course sprang to life at two Milford locations— Morris Early Childhood Center and the Milford Boys and Girls Club— O’Hara realized her Project Hopscotch offered another benefit to its participants—increased motor skills and healthy physical activity.
Health had been on O’Hara’s mind. O’Hara’s multi-tasking had her hopping at all levels, challenging her own health. One of 4-H’s most heralded mottos is “learn by doing” and O’Hara ran a fervid pace on the ‘doing’ treadmill. In helping others get academically and physically healthier, she let her own health slide. That revelation about her own well-being, O’Hara feels, was a valuable learning experience.
O’Hara had a lot going on. From serving as her senior class’ president—responsible for planning her senior class trip, graduation, and picnic—and time required as a state 4-H Teen Officer in addition to her regular 4-H club responsibilities, O’Hara found herself battling a bout of walking pneumonia and other medical issues. Upon her doctor’s advice, a goal-oriented O’Hara learned to slow down, take strategic pauses, regain her strength and better manage stress. She also reached out to others to help her achieve her goals.
The value of teamwork was key. O’Hara coordinated building materials, donations, and painted and decorated the 40 blocks and beanbags used for the course. She called upon friends and secured volunteer help and donations for the digging and grading of the site, laying the foundation of crush and run, and providing stability for the course to endure through heavy hopping and mathematical calculations. Each of the two courses is 3 feet by 10 feet and the stones sit at 4 inches deep. O’Hara freely credits her friends and family for making the dinner table idea come to fruition.
“From Project Hopscotch, I have learned that by putting faith in your community, you will be able to accomplish more,” O’Hara said. “Without volunteers, donations, businesses, and facilities this project would have been too large to accomplish on my own. I found that when everyone works together, projects are easier to accomplish and make a larger impact.”
This past April, O’Hara and her team finished the project at both locations. The community was informed through a press release. Each of the facility’s coordinators was provided with instructions on how to use the course. Read Hannah’s full 4-H Diamond Clover report here.
Spring Vasey: Dr. Daisy says drink more milk for better nutrition
Spring Vasey feels that America is overfed yet undernourished. A member of Pure Country 4-H Club, Vasey lives on a farm and sought to connect youth to learn what she believed would help correct the nutritional slide by leading a community-wide “milk-drinking movement.”
Vasey created a fun character, “Dr. Daisy” a dairy cow veterinarian who connects with children through interesting conversations about milk and the dairy industry.
Donning a lab coat, name badge, stethoscope, a handcrafted udder, ears, and cow-spotted couture, Vasey’s alter-ego delivered hour-long presentations, engaging her audiences with colorful props, and a set design most veterinarians would envy. “I felt by dressing like a dairy cow doctor, I could catch the children’s attention,” Vasey said.
And talk about house calls! Dr. Daisy’s schedule lists cow camps, county 4-H day camps, specialty and community 4-H clubs, festivals, and schools. At William Penn, Dr. Daisy presented to special needs children, adjusting her program to meet the challenge of students who could not hear or who had other unique learning situations.
“I had to break down my lesson to make it easily understandable,” Vasey admits. “I talked more slowly and repeated myself often.”
Another challenge and valuable learning experience for Vasey was networking and making contacts who got Dr. Daisy in the door to deliver her message. Persistence through old-fashioned phone work and follow-up reminders with postcards, email, and word-of-mouth all paid off with increased bookings.
Vasey also took to the Internet, creating a Dr. Daisy Facebook page. “I can reach a large number of people in a small amount of time,” Vasey said. Vasey effectively uses images and video and is thrilled to see her likes, views and reach climb on social media. “My video about cows salivating has had 1,200 views, reached 2,500 people and the feedback has been quite positive,” Vasey reported in her award application. Vasey also moved to YouTube and began to create educational videos, she reports.
Like any good doctor tending a patient, Dr. Daisy arrives prepared. Vasey set two goals. The first was to team up with teachers before entering the classroom. Her second goal was to make an effort to personally interact with each child, giving each a chance to answer. Each child receives a “Got Milk” bracelet. One fun challenge is reducing all the ‘mooing’ in the hallways after her presentation. Vasey plans to borrow and use an idea overheard from a clever teacher, “Remember, cows are quiet as they walk through the barn!”
Vasey reached 400 kindergarten students in January 2018 alone and by the time of her application had accumulated 150+ hours of virtual veterinarian work, many of those hours dedicated to planning her lessons and developing creative content to reach her young audiences.
“I wanted to educate the public about the importance of drinking milk and to help create a greater understanding of our dairy industry,” Vasey said. There is also the benefit of immediate feedback to gauge her effort’s impact. “After I have visited with the kids, the greatest thing I’ve heard from teachers is that the students tell each other to drink their milk!” View Spring’s 4-H Delaware Diamond Clover report here.
“What makes each of these projects so rewarding is that our 4-H Diamond Clover Award candidates develop his or her own unique idea, fueled by their interest or 4-H project work,” Crouse said. “The impacts are personal, purposeful and full of passion.”
Diamonds symbolize greatness, strength, endurance, brilliance, fair play and excellence. They are also special to Delaware’s identity. According to legend, Delaware earned one of its nicknames, the “Diamond State” because Thomas Jefferson regarded Delaware as a “jewel” for its strategic location on the East Coast.
Baseball or 4-H didn’t exist in Jefferson’s time, but if they did, we think he would agree, the newest 4-H Diamond Clover Award honorees scored a grand slam for community service and service learning and three more facets why the First State brightly shines.
Article by Michele Walfred
Kent County Delaware residents! Step into Spring!
A friendly competition that encourages individual and community health and wellness by maintaining or adopting healthy nutrition and physical activity habits for the spring season. Step into Spring! will begin February 1 and run through May 1, 2017.
How will teams earn points?
Teams will identify strategies to improve their physical activity and eating habits. Points are assigned to a variety of healthy eating and physical activity related activities. Each week, team members will complete personal logs to track their progress and points. At the end of the month, the team leader will turn in a log with his or her team’s average monthly points. One way points can be earned is by attending Cooperative Extension programs. See a list of programs on below. A team is two or more people working towards making a change.
What are the incentives?
Participants will earn monthly prizes and the sponsoring organizations can win a cash award. The first place organizational prize is $500.00 for the most points and second place is $250.00. Winning organizations must have at least 10 participants, compete for the full three months and sponsor two Cooperative Extension programs.
How will incentives be awarded?
Team leaders will collect monthly point logs from team members and incentives will be awarded individually for participation. Additional incentives will be awarded for the best team success story.
Who can be on my team?
Any resident of Kent County aged 18 and over who is interested in improving their health through better food choices and physical activity by working together as a team. Teams must have at least two members to participate in the challenge.
How do I sign up?
If you are interested in participating in the challenge or scheduling programs for your team contact Lucy Williams or call 730-4000.
Go to //http://extension.udel.edu/fcs/healthy-living/ for more information.
Funded through grant from:
Maintain Don’t Gain! Challenge Programs
- Mindful Eating – This session offers information on sensible eating for good health and general nutrition centered around MyPlate. Length: 1.5 hours
- Portion Control: How to Indulge Without the Bulge – Portion control is the key to staying healthy. This session will identify
strategies you can use to manage portions for better health. Length: 1 hour
- Get Your Snack on Track – This session provides ideas for healthy snacking and ways to supplement your meals with those foods that will balance your diet. Length: 1 hour
- Meal Time in Less Time – This workshop will help you develop strategies to offer healthful meals for your family in less time. Being busy is no excuse for poor nutrition. Length: 1.5 hours
- Boning Up on Health – Preventing Osteoporosis – This program recognizes that what you eat as a youth impacts your health as you age. You will learn important strategies for keeping your bones strong no matter what your age. Length: 1.5 hours
Click here >>> for information on New Castle County program
Delaware 4-H was represented at the festivities by 15 youth delegates and five adults who joined 500 youth members from 25 other states for the National 4-H Citizen Washington Focus: Presidential Inauguration (CWFPI) conference.
Along with their chaperones, the high-school aged youth took part in the weeklong program that aimed to enrich young people’s lives by providing enduring lessons of civic engagement by broadening their knowledge and understanding of the executive branch of government and developing a personal role in citizenship through service civic education and engagement.
The event combined leadership workshops, attendance at inauguration-related events and sightseeing.
Read the full article on UDaily
The health insurance market is confusing! Open enrollment for both Medicare and the Health Insurance Marketplace starts soon and with so many ads on television, many consumers who are not covered by an employer’s health insurance plan are confused about which process to use and which plan to pick.
The Medicare insurance program is a federal program open to people 65 and older or for those under 65 with disabilities. Medicare provides a certain level of insurance coverage and many people choose to buy additional supplemental (Medigap) plan and prescription drug plan that increase the breadth of coverage. Open enrollment is from October 15 to December 7 and this is when all people with these supplemental plans can change their coverage for the following year to better meet their needs. It is important to review your current plans each year because Medicare supplemental health and drug plans often change cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks.
The Health Insurance Marketplace (in Delaware, this can be found at www.choosehealthde.org) was established through the Affordable Care Act and since 2014, individuals under age 65 have had this venue to choose health insurance plans. Open enrollment runs from November 1 to January 31, 2017. These dates are for both on and off the Health Insurance Marketplace plans – meaning you can purchase plans through the Marketplace and potentially receive tax credits and premium subsides, or you can purchase your plan independently from a broker or health insurance provider. In Delaware, the deadline to enroll in a plan with a January 1, 2017 start date will be December 15, 2016.
No matter what your age or ability, making a decision about which plan to enroll in does take a little time, so start now to begin this process. Most people make a decision based on the premium and whether or not their doctor is in the network. While these two criterion are an important place to start, there are a few other things to consider. Here are a few additional steps to take in order to make an effective choice:
- Who you have to cover and what are the health care needs. Make a list of who you need to cover in your family and from there, identify what their health care needs are. For example, what kind of doctors are they seeing and how often; what types of services are they using or might they use (i.e. mental health, hospitalization, emergency room or urgent care, maternity, surgical, specialists, medical equipment, prescription drugs, dental care etc.). Creating this list will also help you estimate some additional out of pocket costs (see 3 below). Also consider if you travel and if you are likely to use out-of-network providers.
- Once you know the types of health care services you need and how often you may use them, you can begin to narrow down the type of plan you may need. If you don’t travel a lot and you would like to have a primary care doctor be the point person for all your health care needs, you might consider an HMO plan. For these plans, unless it is an emergency situation, there is only an “in-network” option; so you’ll also want to be sure your favorite doctors or services are within the network. An Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) is similar to a HMO plan because there are only in-network options. However, with these plans, you have the option to see specialists without getting a referral from your primary care doctor. For the Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, there are in-network and out-of-network options- though you will pay more if you use an out-of-network provider. For this plan, you also do not need to see your primary care doctor for a referral prior to seeing a specialist. For those consumers who have complicated health care needs, having a PPO will give you the ability to seek treatment out-of-network.
- Determine the monthly premium but also what the other out-of-pocket costs might be. Ways that health insurance companies share the costs with consumers is through the deductible, copayments and coinsurance amounts. When the deductible is high, you as the consumer are taking on more of the costs, because for most plans, you will be paying the full amount of the deductible before the health insurance company pays for anything- unless it is for certain preventative care services (like your annual checkup or immunizations). In step 1, you counted up the number of times you and your family visited the doctor or used services. Use these numbers to estimate your usage for next year and do a little math using the deductible and copayment amounts provided in the plans you are considering. For example, if you and your family went to the doctor 10 times last year and the copayment amount is $25 per visit, then you can guess that next year you may have $250 worth of copayments on top of the deductible and premiums.
Once you know these figures, you can match it with your savings and your monthly budget. For example, one plan may have a $250 monthly premium ($3000/year), a $6000 deductible and $250 ($25 x10 visits) worth of copayments. That would be a total of $9250 per year if the worst happens and you need to pay out the full deductible amount.
Another plan may have a $400 a month premium ($4800/year), a $1000 deductible and $300 worth of copayments ($30 x 10 visits) totaling $6100 per year.
You see, premium isn’t everything. You need to crunch some numbers. Finding $400 per month for the premium may feel really uncomfortable on a monthly basis, but in the long run if the worst happens, your bottom line will be better off.
- Learn more! If you want to learn more about making a Smart Choice about Health Insurance, you can tune in to our upcoming webinar: You and Health Insurance Making a Smart Choice. It is free and will be offered from noon -1:30 pm on both Oct 25 and Oct 26th. You can go to our website to register: http://extension.udel.edu/fcs/insure/ or click here to register.
On our Cooperative Extension website is a My Smart Choice Workbook which provides more information about plans and provides worksheets that will help you work through these steps for your family. For more information about our health insurance programs, please feel free to contact Maria Pippidis, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Educator.
One thing to look forward to is the first day of Spring, warm weather, and the many opportunities for fresh, local produce the upcoming seasons will bring. If you know anything about Delaware, it is probably that there is a farm of some type on just about every back road – which is a great thing when it comes to healthy eating!
There are many benefits of buying local produce. It is fresher than anything you will find in a grocery store which means it will taste better and will most likely contain more nutrients. Buying from local farmers is also great for our local economy – which is important now more than ever.
Community Supported Agriculture
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is becoming a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here is how it typically works: A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public which usually consist of a box of vegetables and sometimes may also include other farms products such as eggs and milk. Weekly shares are purchased upfront through a membership or subscription and are available through pick-up or delivery each week throughout the farming season. For more information on CSAs visit: www.localharvest.org/csa/.
A Farmer’s Market is an area where local growers gather once or twice a week to sell their produce directly to the public. The Delaware Farmer’s Market Guide can be found on the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s website by visiting http://dda.delaware.gov/marketing/FarmersMarketsGuide.shtml or by downloading the Delaware Fresh app from the your app store supported by your mobile device. More information about the app can be found here: http://delaware.gov/topics/apps.
U-Picks / PYOs
A U-Pick or Pick-Your-Own Farm is one in which you travel to a farm and pick fresh produce directly from the field or orchard. To find a u-pick farm in Delaware and other helpful information about canning and freezing fresh produce, visit http://www.pickyourown.org/DE.htm.
Roadside & Farmside Stands
An informal, but convenient, way to purchase local produce is at a roadside stand. Roadside stands pop up all over Delaware between May and July and offer many fresh produce selections including tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, peppers and peaches. Find your closest Delaware roadside stand by visiting http://dda.delaware.gov/marketing/FarmstandsGuide.shtml.
Unfortunately, many children never learn where their food actually comes from. In addition to great nutrition, farms and farmer’s markets can also provide excellent agricultural and nutrition education opportunities for children and families. So the next time you get held up behind a tractor or combine, just relax and think of how lucky you are to have so many opportunities to eat healthy in Delaware!
The final report for the UD Plant Diagnostic Clinic for 2015 has been posted and can be viewed at the following link:
The Plant Diagnostic Clinic at the University of Delaware is housed in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, and is located in Townsend Hall, Room 151. The clinic serves the public through Delaware Cooperative Extension, directly serving commercial growers, crop consultants, nurserymen, landscapers, public gardens, and private homeowners. Samples are also received through county offices, from Extension specialists, and the Master Gardener Program. The clinic is the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) laboratory for Delaware, and the survey laboratory for Delaware Department of Agriculture and USDA/APHIS CAPS for Delaware. The clinic operates with one full-time staff, the Plant Diagnostician, cooperating with the Extension Plant Pathologist and the Ornamentals IPM Specialist in Entomology, and numerous Extension personnel.
During 2015, the Plant Diagnostic Clinic processed approximately 630 non-survey routine clinic samples. A National USDA/APHIS PPQ CAPS karnal bunt survey in cooperation with Delaware Department of Agriculture for wheat seed samples from all grain elevator processing stations in Delaware included five composite aliquot samples. All samples examined for the presence of karnal bunt were negative, ensuring the safety of the Delaware wheat crop for trade and export. Nursery surveys for Delaware Department of Agriculture resulted in a few samples of boxwood and chrysanthemum. Other samples were diagnosed in field situations, and not brought in for analysis. Phone inquiries and e-mail requests for information accounted for undocumented samples in addition to physical specimens submitted to the lab. The Ask an Expert service through eXtension.org included 69 questions answered by the Diagnostician in 2015. Over 50 % of the total questions answered via Ask an Expert for Delaware involved trouble-shooting of possible disease issues. Some trouble-shooting samples for possible nematode infections were processed in the lab, but are not included in this report…. see link for full report and data.
Ag Day was cool weatherwise, but a warm atmosphere for the crowds who came out to learn about and purchase plant, and see the other exhibits. It was a great day. I enjoyed being side-by-side with the Master Gardener Telephone and Diagnostics Team, and having Kayla help me at the Plant Diagnostic Clinic table!
The 69th annual meeting of the NJDelMarVaPa Plant Pathologists was held April 1, 2014, at the University of Delaware.. The informal gathering was hosted this year by Nancy Gregory and Nathan Kleczewski, and serves as a regional update for colleagues and for networking. Attendees included Cooperative Extension personnel, and pathologists from state Departments of Agriculture and from USDA ARS. Information was presented on plant diseases, diagnostics, and field trials.
SATURATED SOIL can lead to problems with roots of trees and shrubs, and ultimately contribute to death or uprooting of trees. When soil becomes saturated through over-watering or heavy rains, plants cannot develop new fine feeder roots that are responsible for uptake of nutrients. A good root system also anchors a plant well into the planting site. Development of a good root system can take time, and over-watering can prevent root growth and establishment. Plants with an under-developed root system are more prone to stress and root disease. Subsequent stress from drought that may occur later in the season can lead to death of plants that do not have a good root system. Trees and shrubs without a good root system are more prone to upheaval and toppling during storms with wind. Proper planting and soil preparation with good drainage may prevent problems in the future.
Saturated soil can also lead to problems in row crops, field crops, vegetables and turf. Good drainage can help to avoid problems with root rot that may move in following flooding and saturated soil.
This copy of the Delaware Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations for 2012, replaces all previous editions. Information presented in this publication is based on research results from University of Delaware; University of Maryland; The Pennsylvania State University; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; West Virginia University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, combined with industry and grower knowledge and experience.
This vegetable production guide is intended for the commercial vegetable grower who has to make numerous managerial decisions. Although the proper choice of the variety, pesticide, application, equipment, fertilizer, and cultural practice is the individual vegetable grower’s responsibility, these recommendations should facilitate decision-making. Recommended planting dates will vary across the six-state region. Local weather conditions, grower experience, and variety may facilitate successful harvest on crops planted outside the planting dates listed in this guide. This can be evaluated in consultation with the local county agents and state specialists. Government agencies and other organizations administrating crop insurance programs or other support programs should contact the local county agents and/or state vegetable specialists for guidance.