- Author: Natalie Cunha
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jean Allender (Musso) in late July. It is a joy to have the ability to reconnect with our Placer County 4-H history. Jean grew up an Auburn local. She first joined the Bowman 4-H Community Club, which met at the Bowman School, in the 1950s around the age of 9. That was just the start of her 4-H career; she participated in Placer County 4-H all the way through high school and aged out of Mount Vernon 4-H Community Club program. Quick Fact: At that time, girls were not yet allowed to join Future Farmers of America (FFA). Jean's parents owned the fruit shed in Bowman, although it was her aunt and uncle who were more involved in the 4-H program. Jean's uncle led the 4-H Tractor Project which both Jean and her sister participated in as well as their aunt's sewing project.
With the Gold Country County Fair right around the corner, it is interesting to know that it used to be called the 20th District Fair when Jean and her sister showed horses and cattle. Jean's sister Susan had a passion for showing cattle, specifically Angus which led her to a life involved in the agriculture industry. Jean showed Shorthorn cattle, and the Musso sisters were part of the first group to sell market steers at the Fair. In 1960, Jean's steer named "Chuck R" after chuck roast placed 1st. They were both active members in the Horse Project, participating on the drill team, camping rides, and horse shows. In the photos attached you can see both sisters in Squaw Valley where they would ride out for 3-4 days. Jean had a brown horse name "Little Mighty", and her sister Susan had a palomino horse named "Socks".
By the time Jean aged out of the 4-H program at 20 years old, she had actively participated in 4-H for over 10 years. Jean's children then followed her footsteps and participated in Placer County 4-H as well. Jean stated that, "4-H is a place to learn about animals, learn to work with people, and gain problem solving skills". 4-H allows a space for youth to network, meet nice people, and it opens a whole new community. Jean went on to be a teacher at Placer Hills School, then Rock Creek Elementary, retiring after 30 years of teaching. Jean showed me her many 4-H trophies and awards, which truly reflect a wonderful time in Placer County 4-H. We were able to look back through her record book and learn about parts of Jean's 4-H story which I have now been lucky enough to share with you!
If you have and 4-H stories you want to share, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Author: John Gardner
Vortechs Robotics (FRC team 3257) won the 2021 FIRST Infinite Recharge Sacramento Valley, Phosphorus Regional. Additionally, the team won an award for its robot's autonomous capabilities (Autonomous is where the robot is driverless and completes certain tasks using its programing and sensors).
The Vortechs team is a 4-H robotics project comprised of up of high school students from South Placer County high schools and homeschooling students.The team constructs its robots in Roseville and tests the robot at Love of Learning Homeschool Learning Center in Rocklin. The high school students begin the project year by analyzing the current year's competition rules, goals and objectives of the robot. Next, they design an engineer the robot and its mechanisms to achieve the goals and objectives. Then they create CAD designs and begin manufacturing the robot. Next the electrical group begins wiring the robot and creating their elaborate electrical boards. Finally, the robot is off to the programming group where they will design and program custom software to achieve the goals set by FRC (First Robotics Competition). After all this is completed it's usually time to start developing the upgrades. The process takes a lot of time but in the end the students learn great lessons on working together and achieving goals.
- Author: Natalie Cunha
Placer County 4-H Spirit Week, July 7th-14th, 2021 was created by this year's Placer County Ambassador Team! The Ambassadors put extensive thought into what they wanted to do for our 4-H members this year and a 4-H Spirit Week is what they came up with. Part of the County Ambassador's annual mission is to work on a project over the year. This year with limited in-person events the Ambassadors had ample time to think about what would help their county 4-H program despite the challenging year. Since we were all unsure when, how, or where exactly we would all be able to gather in-person again it was difficult to come up with a plan of action. Each day of the week was themed, with activities for all age groups!
Here is a recap on the activities that were offered:
The photos above, were just some of the photos turned in for Placer County 4-H Spirit Week. All 4-H members were able to participate in Placer County 4-H Spirit week virtually.
"I wanted to put together Placer County 4-H Spirit week to encourage people to participate in 4-H. This year has been difficult to participate, so finding a way for members of all ages and levels to participate and have a good time was important!" - Alex
"I was very excited to help but together the 2021 Placer County 4-H Spirit Week because I knew it would be a great way to help get 4-Hers involved in the program again. This past year has been very difficult for us all and participation has struggled as a result of it. But I knew that if we could do something fun for the youth, everyone would enjoy it and help us get back into 4-H events and activities again." - Myah
"I wanted to put together 4-H spirit week to give those maybe stuck at home something fun and exciting to do." - Margaret
I have been raising and showing 4-H market hogs for six years now! That's a long time and a lot of hogs. My market hogs have gotten better and better with the more knowledge I have learned from my wonderful 4-H leaders. I have had all kinds of breeds and colors of market hogs, from a light cross, to a Hampshire-appearing pig, and all the way to a dark cross.
It has been an amazing experience and I've had so many wonderful memories, but I've also had some tough times. Those tough times have helped me overcome and learn more as I care for my future market hogs. Some wonderful memories that have made my experiences grow every year are learning how to walk my market pig, getting to feed lots of treats, reading books together, naming my pig, and most importantly, just enjoying myself with my project. I have had all kinds of names for my market animals: Lucky, Michelangelo, Romeo, Blake and a few others!
My amazing memories also come with some discomforting memories that show us 4-Hers how much we care for our animals. When my market hog got sick, I was super upset, but when I got to nurse my animal to better health it made me so happy that I could help an animal in need. I have learned so many life skills as I learn how to care for my animals. Some people may think taking care of a market hog is as easy as taking care of a cat or dog but it comes with a lot of responsibility and hard work that many might think is a burden. Raising a market hog involves making sure your animal is washed, making sure the pen is clean, taking time to train your pig and so much more. Yes, all of these things are hard but doing those things shows how dedicated you are to your project, and as a pig shower I understand how much work goes into the project. I have been truly blessed being able to show market hogs for as long as I have and am excited to keep showing. I hold my experience raising hogs in high regard because it has given me skills for a life in agriculture when I am older.
4-H has given me so many great chances to do so many things. Showing market hogs is just one of the many things 4-H has to offer. Thank you to my 4-H leaders who have taught me so much, and thank you to my teen leaders who helped me learn and get better every year!/span>
Do you have an interest in participating in 4-H beyond Placer County? Is leadership one of your sparks? If so, I'd like to share some information about the California Diamond Clover Award.
The Diamond Clover award is the highest achievement for a 4-H youth member. All 4-Hers are eligible for the award once they achieve all the requirements. It will take several years to complete them, but along the way you will have fun, learn new things, and participate in many club, county, and CA 4-H level activities.
I created a plan myself toward this award. After finishing the last requirement in March 2021, I recently submitted my application and an essay for the award. The 4-H Incentives and Recognition Advisory Committee will now review my application and essay when they meet later this quarter.
Here are my top tips for any other 4-Her who is interested in beginning their journey toward the Diamond Clover Award.
Tip #1 – Read more about the California Diamond Clover Award. The University of California 4-H Youth Development Program website lists the requirements. Knowing what they are will help you plan for achieving them. http://4h.ucanr.edu/Resources/Member_Resources/Scholarships_-_Awards/4-H_Diamond_Clover_Awards/
Tip #2 – Create objectives and build a plan to reach those objectives. Several of the requirements include being a member of a state level advisory committees, leading a major event or activity, serving as an evaluator at presentation days, and participating in state level leadership conferences, just to name a few. Having a plan will help you decide when you want to and can take on new responsibilities. Don't get frustrated if your plan is several years long. The best things are worth working hard for.
Tip #3 – Find a 4-H friend who is interested in working toward the Diamond Clover Award. You can share the experiences with someone else, cheer each on and maybe even participate in some of the requirements together.
Tip #4 – Talk about your Diamond Clover Award goal with your 4-H club leader, project leaders and 4-H Community Education Specialist. Let them know what you're doing. You won't be surprised to find these individuals will help support you toward your goal.
Tip #5 – Familiarize yourself with the various 4-H State Advisory Committees. These committees use an application process to build their membership. The deadline to apply is usually May 31st. Not every Advisory Committee needs new members each year, so determine which ones do and apply for one that matches your interests./span>