- Author: Eve Dowdell
Hello, California 4-H! My name is Eve Dowdell and I am on the State 4-H Camping Advisory Committee. The Camping Committee is responsible for planning and running the State Camping Conference, collecting and analyzing Camp Survey Data from all over the State, and assisting and providing resources for 4-H Camps throughout California. This is my second year on the committee and I have loved being a part of this fantastic group of 4-H-loving folks! Being on this committee not only has introduced me to great people and experiences, but also has educated me on the importance of 4-H Camp. I wouldn't have the deep attachment to 4-H Camp had I not learned about what it means to 4-H'ers throughout the state, country, and globe.
Although my active involvement on the State 4-H Camping Advisory Committee enables me to delve into the “nitty-gritty” of 4-H Camp, that's not the only thing fueling my love for 4-H Camp. Most of my fellow 4-H'ers share my love of 4-H Camp because of the friends we have, the crazy songs and skits we perform, the yummy meals we eat, and, of course, the beloved memories that we make at 4-H Camp each year. Whether they're from Snow Camps, Day-Camps, or Resident Camps, our many camp memories are sweet (though recently “bittersweet”) and ignite our desire to go each year.
Alright, before I continue, let's do a test. I want you to think about how you feel when you read these words:
How did those words affect you? Did you smile? Did you feel reminiscent? Are you picturing yourself and a friend singing a wacky camp song together? (Hahaha, I am, too.) What about this next phrase?...
“4-H CAMP MEMORIES”
Wow...what a rush! 4-H Camp memories will last forever.
Okay, if you've never participated in camp, particularly 4-H Camp, then you're probably feeling a little left out. 4-H Camp is a place where all of us can come together to build one another up through fun, skillful, and personable adventures, and sometimes in wacky ways.
I hope you enjoyed that test. It was to remind us of the many camp memories that accentuate our life experiences. These memories aren't just images or flashbacks. These 4-H memories, like so many other 4-H moments, are the foundation of our 4-H experiences. As this unprecedented 4-H year continues onward, I hope you take some time to think of camp memories and how they build our character and enhance our personalities. I know 4-H Camp is an important part of my 4-H experience, and I imagine it is (or will be) for you as well. That being said, I also hope to inspire you to share your own 4-H Camp memories.
Personally, I have a collection of memories that always populates my mind when I think of camp. One of my most memorable camp memories is my first time playing Kajabi Kan-Kan. Simply put, Kajabi Kan-Kan is an active, rotating game of tug-of-war. The point of the game is to be that last person standing as you rotate around an object. This intense game of strength, agility, and quick thinking can be complicated, but extremely thrilling.
For my county camp's tournament, the boys and girls compete separately. After both groups compete, the top-three boys and top-three girls go head-to-head in the Kajabi Kan-Kan finale. The girl group was made up of 18 girls who competed for the top-three spots to play against the boys. The reason this memory is in the top-ten of my favorite camp memories is that I was the last girl standing out of all the girls who competed and the third-to-last camper standing in the Finale round. It was an exhilarating experience! When I think about it, I still have a hard time believing I lasted that long!
Another exhilarating, amusing, and, dare I say, terrifying memory at camp was swimming to the buoys with my brother. I'm sure many have had the … “pleasure” of plunging into the icy-cold lake water at Summer Camp. Well, my first and only time doing it was during my last stay at camp in 2019. My brother and I decided before we arrived at camp that we would swim to the buoys at least once during the week.
Every year at camp I end up trying something new that feels outside my element. So, the task of venturing out into the great unknown with my fierce companion was no different. I had no idea of the task at hand. Once we had finally touched the buoys, we stopped to enjoy the stunning view. However, it only lasted about two minutes before we had to swim back to shore to defrost. The swim was crisp and daunting, and the water was so cold that I felt like I was being zapped with bolts of electricity.
This adventure was definitely my fondest, most daring memory of 4-H Camp. It along with many others has taught me how to remain confident and calm in unpredictable, or electrifying situations.
4-H Camp is great for improving your resilience, improving your teamwork, and especially stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Whether by making new friends, playing volleyball, or performing a skit or song at campfire, 4-H Camp is the place to develop and practice your social skills. Capture the Flag is my favorite team-building camp activity because I am able to run and tag Rival teammates, while strategizing with my team (#blueteamrocks), and ultimately capture the opposing team's flag.
A memory I have of playing Capture the Flag occurred at 4-H Camp while I was guarding my team's flag. Rival teammates had made it past the first line of security and were approaching me...and the flag. It was now my responsibility to keep my team's flag safe from the now circling opponents who were trying to grab the flag and bolt. Unfortunately, one of the Rivals breached our last line of security, grabbed the flag, and began, just as I said, to bolt for their side. I yelled to my fellow guardians, “THEY GOT THE FLAG!!!” You wouldn't believe how fast my entire team shifted gears, grouped together, and raced to tag the Rivals. Happily, we tagged them before they reached their side, thwarting their chance of victory over us.
I think of this one memory every single time I think of 4-H Camp and Capture the Flag. The same memories may not seem that extraordinary to others, but that's what makes them special. These are my very own memories, and they are what makes camp special for me.
Camp allows us to do and learn things that we never thought we'd do otherwise.
Many of my fellow 4-H'ers have had the privilege and opportunity not only to attend 4-H Camp, but also to leave camp with new friends, new favorite meals, and of course, new memories that make 4-H Camp the fabulous adventure it is. Every summer, we look forward to the week of camp and the endeavors it brings.
My first year at 4-H Camp enabled me to learn skits, sing camp songs, do responsible camp chores, and connect with 4-H'ers from all over the county. My fellow bunkmates and I also found the time to stay up late talking about Marvel, Star Wars, and our other favorite things. These moments were memorable because we formed strong bonds that still tie us together today.
One of my favorite things about camp is without a doubt the fun, but I delight in its predictable unpredictability, too. I always expect new and surprising adventures, songs, activities, and opportunities to make lasting friendships every day at camp.
As many counties still wait for the big decision of whether or not their camp will take place this summer, take time to remember some of your own favorite camp memories. Share them with your friends and family. Maybe post them on your social media with some hashtags like: #4HCampMemories, #4HCamp, #4HCampisthebestcamp, or #nothinglike4HCamp. Be creative. Be inspiring.
Whether you're new to camp or a veteran 4-H camper, these are perfect times to make positive memories. We're all in this together and are working to make the next 4-H Camp experience the best one yet./h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
- Author: John Borba
This article first appeared in the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Shooting News. Reprinted with permission from John Borba.
CMP Supports 4-H Shooting Sports
Submitted by John Borba, State Shooting Sports Coordinator.
The California 4-H Shooting Sports program in California, like everyone else across the nation, suffered some setbacks due to the COVID-19 epidemic that first gripped the world in 2020. The lockdown forced in-person project meetings and trainings to come to a halt. So, our participation numbers obviously did not meet our projected expectations. However, we did have trainings and meetings before the lockdown order was emplaced, and dozens of new leaders were trained.
The National 4-H Shooting Sports Youth Leadership Institute was held virtually this year during the summer months of 2020. Normally this “teen ambassador” training takes place at a university somewhere across the country. California had a record number of delegates, with six teen 4-H members participating. Youth from across the country engaged in online sessions, which consisted of leadership development, public speaking and working with the media. The youth who completed the training are implementing projects in their home states to advance and promote the 4-H shooting sports program.
Prior to the lockdown, the California 4-H Shooting Sports Program was slated to host a National 4-H Shooting Sports Workshop and send three teams of shooters to the National 4-H Shooting Sports Championships in Grand Island, Nebraska. We look forward to a better year in 2021!
As always, we appreciate the long and continued history of funding from the Civilian Marksmanship Program to help the California 4-H shooting sports program provide training and event support to our members and leaders.
The National Shooting Sports Workshop that was supposed to take place in May 2021 in Virginia was postponed so they will hold it in October 2021. California 4-H was next on the list to host the National Shooting Sports Workshop, which is now rescheduled to May 2-8, 2022 in Winton, CA (Merced County).
- Author: Gemma Miner
Dear 4-H Volunteer,
It's been a year, hasn't it? One year ago in April, we were all thinking hard about our capacity to deliver 4-H programming virtually. For some, the ask was too much given the realities of everyone suddenly at home: working, schooling and managing all the things. We see you; we hear you. And we understand.
Thank you for your courage to learn and try a completely new way to serve youth in your communities. Thank you for your perseverance even when things did not work the way you thought or wanted them to.
Thank you for recognizing the look in the eyes of the youth that you serve that said how much they need you right now—and for responding in whatever way you could.
Thank you for all the deep breaths that you took as you managed challenge after challenge after challenge.
Thank you for digging deeply for patience and calm even when it eluded you. Thank you for having the clarity to know when you needed a break.
Thank you for your kindness, always kindness—and for understanding that relationships are what matters most.
Your contributions to help youth in these unprecedented times has never been more critical. A recent study by the Harris Poll, found that 67% of 4-H teens report that COVID-19 has created pressures that are too much to handle. They further say that the inability to hang out with friends/family in person and conducting school online bring on their own set of unique stressors. Interestingly, 68% of these same teens report that they consider themselves resilient and have the confidence to help others cope with their mental health struggles. Thank you for providing outlets where everyone had opportunities to feel supported and contribute.
It is my hope that as we emerge from this pandemic that we are stronger, more creative, more resilient, and more kind. Know that your dedication to help youth lead happy, healthy, thriving lives made a difference to those lives that you touched.
It's your energy, dedication, talent, time and gifts that makes the impact for youth in California. We see you. We hear you. We appreciate you beyond measure.
On behalf of the University of California Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program, we thank you for all that you did and do.
Academic Coordinator for Volunteer Engagement
- Author: Jose Campos
- Author: Suzanne Morikawa
Rosie Barker turns 100 on April 4, 2021. She is the oldest living 4-H alumna in Merced County! Rosie (Kiss) Barker was born in Alberta, Canada in 1921. Her family moved to the U.S. when she was two. They ended up in Livingston and then moved to Stevenson, where she grew up.
Rosie is the only survivor of 10 children. One sister stayed in Canada and didn't move to the U.S. One brother was in the service. One was a Pearl Harbor survivor.
José Campos, 4-H Program Representative in Merced County, interviewed Rosie in the UCCE Merced office.
About her family
“My husband Cecil passed away 32, 33 years ago. He was quite young when he passed away. My family now is all over the valley: Gustine, Newman, Turlock, Modesto, Sacramento is the furthest. But we're all close. We don't see each other, but we talk to each other on the phone. I live with my granddaughter and her two daughters. We all get along real well. It boils down to how you're raised. It goes a long way.”
Rosie's family includes:
20 great grandchildren
1 great-great granddaughter
“I was raised with the old timers. They didn't sit around and do nothing. You worked. I thought, ‘As long as I can do it, my folks don't have to do it.'”
“I worked at home a lot. We didn't have electricity, so I milked the cows by hand. I didn't mind it at all. Later we got electricity and got milking machines, but then you had to clean them. I wasn't that thrilled about that! (laughs) I milked cows until the day I got married.”
“After it rained at night, you'd get up in the morning and it was always clear and fresh. I would go out and get the cows in a big field with a hill. One cow had to always be first. She would push the other cows out of the way so she could be first. There was one cow that was always late. They all had a mind of their own.”
Looking through a photo album, she came across a class picture. “Twelve of us wanted to become citizens and we had to get a teacher to teach us. At the time, you had to go to school to become citizens. We got Alice Radford to teach us. My brother, sister and I and our friends all became U.S. citizens. I remember that real well.”
“I enjoyed being in 4-H very much.”
Rosie joined 4-H when she was 9. “In grammar school, all the girls joined 4-H.”
Rosie was in 4-H for four years. She has strong memories of learning how to sew and going to 4-H camp.
“With sewing, you learned it the right way.”
“I did a lot of sewing, which I learned in 4-H. So you learned your sewing, you did it all the right way. There was ‘your way, their way, the 4-H way'. Their way, your way, forget it. There was the 4-H way. It was a big difference. You did it right. When you got the right leader, you learned it. Those days, you made a lot of clothes in 4-H. They made dresses, coats, a lot of things.”
Looking at a scrapbook page, she remembered making the potholder distinctly. “Fantastic sewing!” she exclaimed, as she studied the potholder. She remembered getting the ribbons as prizes at the fair in 1932.
4-H Camp Memories
“We slept underneath the pine trees. (You) scraped the pine needles into a pile and put your blanket on it and slept out in the open. The smell of the pine sticks out in my mind. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Everything was clean and clear.”
“When we wanted to go up to the Falls, we hitchhiked with our leaders. We rode in the back of a pickup. Just followed what our leaders told us to do.”
“We hiked all over. We went to Yosemite Falls and up to Glacier Point. I remember thinking, ‘Why did our lunch go clear up to Glacier Point?' Then we had to hike up there to eat. The Firefalls were just gorgeous.”
“Every night we had a campfire. Every unit had to put on a skit. Everybody had to participate. Around the campfire was really neat because there was a lot of singing and everyone was involved.”
“I loved it. I think we were there for 4 days. Going to camp, staying there with your friends. There were no cliques. You just took off with a group.”
“My three girls and the grandchildren all enjoyed being in 4-H.”
“My sister was in 4-H, and so was my brother-in-law. They were very active in it. Later, my daughter and granddaughter were in 4-H. My great grandchildren are in 4-H. My grandchildren participated with animals.”
“I have three daughters. They were taught by my sister in 4-H. My grandsons made pajamas. My daughter taught them sewing. They did a lot of sewing. It went a long way.”
What Rosie remembers most
“You remember your leaders, definitely.“
“As for sewing, you got that for the rest of your life. I made my daughters' dresses for school. In the years, I always remembered how I did it in 4-H.”
Please join us in congratulating Rosie in reaching the centenarian milestone! Leave your messages in the comments and we'll be sure to share them with her and her family.
- Author: María José Godoy
The California 4-H Management Board was established in 2016, after the previous State Council structure concluded its functions. At that time, a group of volunteers accepted the challenge to continue the mission of the Council, which aimed to strengthen the 4-H program and provide leadership for programming at the regional level. The Management Board centered its efforts on giving structure to this new group and took responsibility for several activities, including Area Presentation Days and Youth Summits. The main goal of the Management Board has been to strengthen the educational outcomes of these events and ensure that we're reaching a targeted group of youth across the Northern, Central, Bay/Coast and Southern Areas.
Over time, we have seen these activities grow organizationally, thanks to the valuable contribution of our dedicated youth and adult volunteers serving on planning teams and committees, as well as our committed 4-H staff members.
Area Presentation Days:
- Unified the evaluation and award systems of the Area Presentation Days across the state.
- Became the first statewide 4-H event to transition to a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These activities were an example of innovation within 4-H, helping to develop online State Presentation Days.
- Advocated for the foundation of the new Public Speaking Advisory Committee, which will now include the organization of both Area and State Presentation Days.
- Implemented consistent event evaluations.
- Unified the educational content of all Youth Summits across the State.
- Implemented an organizational structure that allowed each area's planning team to interact and learn best practices from each other.
- Implemented consistent event evaluations.
Since 2016, we have been responsible for organizing over 60 events in total, with a yearly participation of more than 1,100 youth and volunteers from over approximately 40 counties.
As we recently stated in the January Newsletter, the termination of the California 4-H Management Board took effect on January 31, 2021. Many of our Board members will continue volunteering at 4-H in support of the Area Presentation Days or Youth Summits, dedicating efforts to grow and improve these and other activities.
Finally, we want to recognize the work and dedication of all current and former California 4-H Management Board Directors: Curtis Ullerich, Sarah Lloyd, Susan Garcia, Ed Ho, Kelly Violini, Bailey Walvoord, Ryan Cleland, Joslyn Campos, Trent Baldwin, John Trammell, Ethan Ho, Aubrey Stacy, Shannon Kane, Kate Lyn Sutherland, Vera Bullard, Carolyn Abrams, Betty Lucas, Serafina Martinez, Anna Sorensen and María José Godoy.
Special thanks to 4-H Staff liaisons for trusting in us and helping us in our mission: Gemma Miner, Jenna Colburn, Bernadette Ramirez, Suzanne Morikawa, Darlene Ruiz and Whitney Bell.
To all of them, and to the many youth and adult volunteers that helped us in our mission during these years - thank you!