- Author: Martha Humber
PVSA stands for the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. This honor was created in 2003 to reward citizens of the US for time they spend volunteering, making a positive impact in their communities, and inspiring others to do the same. The award itself comes in the form of either a pin, coin, or medallion, accompanied by a certificate signed by the president. The medals come in three colors representing the amount of hours spent in service to others. The colors are bronze, silver, and gold. The hours required to earn the certificate vary according to the age of the recipient. There are four age categories starting with 5-10 year olds.
The only requirements you have to meet to be part of this program are; (1) you have to be a US citizen (2) You must be at least 5 years old (3) you must collect the hours required for the award within 12 months (4) and you must be part of a certifying organization.
The certifying organization I use for this award is Placer County 4-H. Placer County 4-H has had a PVSA project for the past 4 years. It isn't like any of the other 4-h projects that I have done, because it allows you to decide for yourself what you will do. The project leader tells us about volunteer opportunities, helps us get our hours certified and signs the 4-h project report. The 4-h office orders the certificates and pins for us to display on our hats. That is how we get recognition for serving our communities, in any way, from picking up trash to hosting events! I have greatly enjoyed this project because it encourages us 4-H youth to get involved in service to make a difference in the world.
Some of my favorite things that I have done in this 4-H project have been helping at Feed My Starving Children mobile pack, laying wreaths at Wreaths Across America, ringing bells for Salvation Army, making quilts for Auburn Grace Church's missions, sorting legos for Brick Dreams, being a teacher's assistant at an AWANA program, and sharing my animals at fair and other similar events. This year I can count the many hours I spent organizing the Placer County 4-H summer garden camp.
Many of the other youth in our county have also participated in these activities and many similar ones including, collecting food for Meals On Wheels, visiting convalescent hospitals, making vases for Petal Connection, volunteering at animal shelters, and making pillows for heart patients.Many of the senior 4-H members have counted hours spent on their emerald star projects towards the award. This is one of the 4-h projects that truly gives back to our community. None of us have regretted the time we spent volunteering!!! If you want to get involved in this project, sign up next year and see what kind of opportunities you can find to change the world for the better./span>
- Author: Natalie Cunha
With Corona Virus amongst the community, we are not all able to visit our grandparents, older relatives, or family friends, although it is a time when you may be yearning to be surrounded by others. I am now restricted from visiting my 90 year old grandma. My family tosses rocks to her second story apartment, and then we chat through the window screen. When the sun started warming up, I started picking up the phone and calling my grandma instead. This is a great season to spend time asking questions you may not have had time to ask or thought of asking when life was buzzing with more activities. I have begun to get more accustomed to being patient and sitting on the phone as my grandma recalls memories of her youth and we discuss how things have changed and evolved over the years.
4-Her's I recommend you give your elder community a call, you never know what you might learn!
Recommended Interview Questions:
Who were the most influential people in your life? And why?
What technology have you watched change the most over the years?
What was the happiest moment of your life?
What is an important life lesson you have learned?
Looking back, is there anything in your life you'd do differently?
What's one thing you wish people knew about you?
What is your favorite book?
- Author: Azelie Wood
The local treasure we have in the Armed Forces Pavilion and Community Garden in downtown Auburn has recently been enhanced with a Kindness Rocks Garden. These beautiful and uplifting rocks were painted by Placer County 4-Hers and various individuals at different 4-H events over the past year. Azelie Wood coordinated these efforts, and on Friday, May 8th, 2020, installed the rock garden to complete her 4-H Emerald Star Community Service project. Azelie is a high school senior from Auburn, and has been an active 4-H member for the past 11 years.
The Kindness Rocks Project is a cultural trend with a mission of spreading positivity, saying that 'One message at just the right moment can change someone's entire day, outlook, life.' This philosophy is always helpful, but is especially appropriate during this time when people might be needing extra reassurance and peace. (Information about this trend is available on the internet.)
It is hoped that both 4-H and community members will keep replenishing this rock garden of kind thoughts, as it is for all of us to share. Azelie has this advice: "This is a really fun thing to do at group gatherings, and it's a great way to teach kids, and all of us, about how words matter. Choose a simple but impacting message, use acrylic paints, and remember to spray or paint over finished rocks with a weatherproof fixative. Children can participate by painting the backgrounds of rocks, and then older kids and adults can add the words."
Azelie would like to thank Robinson Sand & Gravel for the rocks, Donna Arz and the Forgotten Soldier Program for the perfect location for the garden, and all who have supported her in this project.
Author: Azelie Wood
Just like that May is turning to June, and time marches on for Placer County. On May 16th, Placer County 4-H held virtual scholarship interviews for the 4-H Council scholarships and the Hulbert award. There were fifteen very deserving 4-H youth virtually interviewed! COVID-19 has pushed us all into the world of virtual interactions more than ever.
Personally, when the whole pandemic started I thought it would be over before I had time to think twice about it. I am typing this article from my home, not the UCCE Placer Office, realizing things will be different moving forward. In times of change new things are able to grow. I am committed to this time being a fundamental period for Placer County's 4-H growth and adaptation. We were successfully able to host a Zoom meeting with eight volunteer judges, and fifteen 4-H youth. By the end of the day five youth were awarded 4-H Council awards, and five youth were awarded from the Hulbert Scholarship fund. Neil and Laura Hulbert were truly able to leave a lasting legacy for Placer County 4-H youth.
The scholarship interviews were the first time I was able to meet some of the youth in Placer County since I started my position during COVID-19. The truth is they blew my socks off. I literally cannot wait to get involved with the bright minded individuals our 4-H program is filled with! I was able to hear about their accomplishments and aspirations that were all deeply connected to their 4-H volunteer leaders, and 4-H community. If any scholarship interviewees are reading this, know that YOU have left a lasting impact and that was just from a short interview. You will all go on to do such amazing things with your future! I am looking forward to working with Placer County's inspiring 4-H youth.
Growing up in 4-H, having a friend in 4-H, having a parent who was in 4-H: these are all the precursors to a good story! I grew up in Sacramento County 4-H, where I was an active member in a few projects and passionate about 4-H Camp throughout high school. I am a product of a bi-generational agriculture family, meaning my dad grew up heavily influenced by the agriculture industry, but he did not follow in my grandfather's footsteps. I am thankful I inherited my grandfather's spark of interest in our agriculture industry. Since my parents do not own property, at a young age I learned how to climb my neighbors fence and help milk their dairy goat herd every morning.
I joined 4-H when I was in 3rd grade - I still remember literally dragging my mom to the first club meeting. I remember telling her “mom, this is the place people learn about animals… I have to join it!” It added another task to my mother's to do list. She recited that my interest in animals and agriculture was just a phase; she has finally stopped referencing that. My true love for community development through agriculture programming is here for the long haul. After high school it took me to Chico State, the University of Colorado, and it has now led me to Placer County.
Last summer I was working for an extension office in Castle Rock, Colorado. I was talking with an adult volunteer about her Cat Project. Hear me out on this, I was asking about her love for cats. She stopped me and said I don't love cats, I love the kids. She said it is all about the spark, and that statement is where I learned exactly what my career goals were. The spark is why we are all here helping carry youth through these amazing experiences. Sometimes it can take awhile for kids to find their passion - it could be showing cats! When I was young I loved animals, my love for animals turned it to a love of presentations when I took my Nigerian Dwarf Goat presentation to State Presentation Day. I gained the confidence to speak in public, which was so empowering at a young age. In college I would think back on my State 4-H Presentation Day and it would ease my nerves before I had class presentations. We are here to spark kids' interest, pass down our passions, and support them through their goals.
I am excited to see the sparks in Placer County in the future!
Natalie Cunha, Placer County Community Education Specialist II