- (Public Value) UCANR: Promoting healthy people and communities
- 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: Olivia Berman
In these times of crisis and need, I know from personal experience that the first thing that I as a 4-H'er want to do is help those around me. I found that making masks was the way to accomplish this. With the help of my mom, I gained a new skill in sewing and put this to use by making masks. These masks were donated to local hospitals for the workers helping in these times!
In our 4-H pledge, we state that we will not only pledge our head to clearer thinking, but also our hands to larger service. For me, I started making masks and encouraging others to do the same because I knew my community needed me.
~ Olivia, 4-H Santa Barbara County Ambassador
- Author: Susan J Weaver
In an effort to help their community to control the spread of COVID-19, a Silicon Valley brother and sister came up with a plan to support health care personnel. They even created a video to show how they are helping and show how others can too.
With people across the country cranking out masks, they wanted to buy face shields. These inventive 4-H'ers researched what others were doing and selected this particular design as being elegant and sturdy enough to withstand repeated use.
At $8 each online, they quickly learned that they could not afford to buy very many. Determined to find a way to help, they decided to see if they could design and make the face shields for less.
First, they reverse-engineered and developed the design that mirrors the shields they had seen online. They shopped around to find the materials they would need, at the best price. Their goal was to provide a plan so that anyone could afford to buy the materials and make the shields. Then the shields could be distributed to first responders and medical personnel, thereby saving the "certified" masks for those working with sick people on the front lines.
These young engineers got their estimated cost down to an incredible 50 cents for each shield!
They carefully chose commonly available materials that are available in large quantities throughout the United States. The design uses no messy glues and the only tools used are a stapler and scissors. Construction can be completed by a young person that knows how to use scissors, a zip tie and a stapler. See their Materials List.
Making and sharing the face shields
The 4-H youth made their first batch of 80 shields. Their mom and a neighbor were also making masks using one of the CDC's recommended designs. Combining efforts, they were able to provide a local health clinic with ten masks and ten face shields. The clinic was grateful as they did not have enough PPE for their support staff. The rest of the initial batch of face shields went to friends and neighbors. They have found that they can comfortably produce shields at a rate of 25 per hour. However, as high school and junior high school students, their school work comes first. They can only manage a few hours of production each week.
Their personal goal is to make 1,000 shields.
These Santa Clara County 4-H members are eager to get others involved in making the shields for a wider impact.
They decided to make a public video so other 4-H members and volunteers could make shields for their local communities. An adult 4-H Leader helped them get their video and story to their local 4-H Program, located in Santa Clara County's Cooperative Extension Office.
You can help make face shields!
As 4-H'ers, they know that this design can be quickly propagated nationwide within a matter of days and that there could be 6,000 4-H families making these. The shields can then be given to First Responders and the health facilities personnel who process patients. This will allow the limited supplies of certified masks and face shields to go to the doctors and nurses who can save lives.
Joining our efforts as 4-H members statewide and nationwide, we can make a difference!
Please let us know how you will contribute by reporting to our Plan Hero page.
Watch and share our how-to video, available on the California 4-H YouTube channel.
Wearing a mask decreases the possibility of droplets contacting your face → less contamination → less sick people → less patients → less contamination to doctors and nurses who do not have enough PPE gear to protect themselves at this moment.
These two 4-H members created a design that is very simple. The face shield will provide full coverage of the face from ear to ear, in addition to the face masks that you are using. Even when you are not wearing a face mask, this will provide some protection compared to not wearing anything around your face. Not only is this a low-cost alternative, but the face shield is also REUSABLE, ADJUSTABLE, UV RESISTANT, COMFORTABLE, DOES NOT FOG, and CAN BE WIPED OR SANITIZED using alcohol or any antibacterial solution that you have.
Stay safe and stay healthy. Thank you.
- Author: Jane Stahl
- Author: Mimi Powers
- Author: Tristan Davis
The Community Grants Fund is funded by a portion of the settlement between Pacific Gas & Electric Company and the City of San Bruno following a 2010 gas pipeline explosion that devastated San Bruno's Crestmoor neighborhood. This annual grant fund supports new and existing programs that benefit the San Bruno community. To fund the grants, the San Bruno Community Foundation combined $200,000 of its own funds with a $100,000 grant from YouTube and Google.org.
In this fourth year of the Community Grants Fund, the Board of Directors of the San Bruno Community Foundation approved grant awards totaling $300,000 to local community organizations for 29 programs, one of which was the San Bruno/South San Francisco 4-H Club.
Three 4-H club officers, President Tristan Davis, Vice President Alex Meyerhoff, and Treasurer Adam Zbriger, as well as club parents and volunteers, attended a Foundation meeting to thank them for their support. President Tristan Davis spoke to the board and expressed the gratitude of the entire club. “As president I am very thankful for the grant funding that will sustain the club's programs. After 12 years of membership I have learned countless life skills from participating in a variety of club projects. I am happy to know that younger members will also have this opportunity.”
The San Bruno/SSF 4-H Club was one of the recommended grantees selected from a competitive pool of 51 applications. The selection panel weighed the benefits of the proposed programs to the San Bruno community.
“We're so grateful to the Board for this award,” said Mimi Powers, co-community leader of the club. “It will be used to continue improving the San Bruno/SSF 4-H farm, give scholarships to youth to attend workshops and 4-H camp, enhance funding for projects, and, most importantly, keep 4-H affordable to families in our community.”
“It was very inspirational for us all to see the Board in action and witness how the city was able to turn such a catastrophic and sad event into something so positive for the community,” said 4-H volunteer Jane Stahl. “The list of recipients was amazing! Grants were awarded for cultural arts, exchange trips to Narita, Japan, scholarships for girls to attend a week-long STEM camp at Stanford, help for parents of special education children, relationship abuse, cyber bullying, combating homelessness, child development, mental health, and much, much more.”
For a complete list of recipients and more information on the San Bruno Community Foundation, go to https://www.sbcf.org/.
- Author: Donovan Hill
- Author: Kathleen Mowdy
In November 2018, the worst fire in California history, the Camp Fire, devastated the towns of Paradise, Magalia, Pulga, and Concow. Over 13,000 homes were destroyed and 85 people died. From the first day of the tragedy, our local Butte County 4-H members were involved in responding to this community crisis in many ways—such as caring for displaced animals, and donating food and shelter to affected families. Our team of two Oroville Foothill 4-H Club members, Opal and Donovan, and a Durham 4-H Club member, Skylar, decided to expand our work to address the psychological and emotional recovery of the fire survivors. The culmination of our work was captured in a video by 4-H Alum Spencer Hill (see video at bottom of article).
Three months before the fire, Opal had lost her home to an electrical fire. She felt strongly that her recovery began when she was able to work on a collaborative project to help others. Opal inspired us to have our project benefit the survivors of the Camp Fire, providing opportunities for survivors to join with other Butte County residents to connect as a community.
Donovan and Skylar are musicians and know the power of music to bring comfort and connection. Our team loved the idea of recruiting community members to work in small teams to build personalized wind chimes to be given as gifts of peaceful and healing music. In the Camp Fire, the wind spread the fire and caused destruction, but the forces of nature are also restorative. The sound of the wind blowing through the chimes is beautiful and soothing.
Woodstock Chimes generously donated 125 “Bells of Paradise” wind chimes to the project.
We developed a nomination process to choose the recipients of the wind chimes. We started with the members of the Pine Ridge 4-H Club from Paradise. Each person was asked to “pass on the gift” so the nominations would create a linked chain of connections through the community. We invited them to nominate their relatives, friends, neighbors, teachers, caregivers and first responders using an online form we created. Each nomination included a short story about the family, inspirational word charms to include, favorite color for bead selection, and the names of the family members to be written on the chime sail.
Again starting with 4-H, we held several “build events” with Butte County 4-H members and their families. We also arranged to bring the project to the after-school programs at Palermo Middle School in Palermo and Sycamore Middle School in Gridley. With the help of our 4-H adult volunteer leader, Wayne Hill, we facilitated team-building sessions with the students. We read the family stories shared by the nominators aloud. The students chose to build the chimes for the families that they connected with based on the stories. Reflecting on the stories of the recipients, the kids created unique and beautiful decorations on the envelopes for the gift cards that were included with the chimes. Many students added pictures and messages of hope and rebuilding.
All phases of this project have been eye-opening, but none as much as the giving phase. We met with recipients wherever they were - in Paradise, Oroville, Gridley, Chico, Magalia and beyond. We also involved many of the nominators. who appreciated the opportunity to deliver the gifts. An unexpected benefit of our project has been the excitement of the nominators, who were eager to assist us. Personally putting each gift into the hands of the recipient was the most rewarding part of the project. The emotions are overwhelming for everyone involved.
This project has done everything we hoped it would:
- We provided a way for our community to connect with people who experienced the most destructive wildfire in California history.
- With the help of Woodstock Chimes, we gave a gift of healing music to 125 families.
- We gave over 100 nominators a way to share a special gift with people they love.
- We provided a meaningful team-building experience to over 60 kids at local middle schools.
This project has changed each of us in ways we did not expect. We look forward to opportunities to share what we have learned with other 4-H clubs and fire recovery projects.
Video: 4-H Peaceful Music Wind Chime Project
At the Butte County 4-H Awards night on October 19, 2019, this original music video by Spencer Hill, a 4-H alum, was presented for this very special 4-H Emerald Star project benefiting the Camp Fire survivors.