- Author: Ashley Pyler
Inside a Presenter's Journey to State Field Day in a COVID Year
By Ashley Pyler, Teen Leader, Record Books & Presentation Project
As someone who has consistently participated in 4-H Presentations for the past 5 years, I can be the first to testify to the fact that participating in Presentations can be fun because of how unpredictable it can be, but this year, the spontaneity has been taken to a whole new level.
Usually, presenters must attend and qualify at two in-person competitions before being allowed to present at State Field Day. This year, there was no in-person 4-H events with no more than 10 people permitted due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. There can often be as many as 2,000 people at a State Field Day Event, so all presentation events were moved to a virtual format.
Each year, there are three levels of competition; County, Regional (formerly known as Sectional), and State. Normally, a presenter can only move forward to the next round of competition if they receive a Gold Medal (the highest rank obtainable), but since this year is more challenging due to everything being virtual, presenters were allowed to move forward with a Gold Medal or a Blue Seal (the rank just below a Gold). I will now tell you about what qualifying for State looked like this year in this new virtual format through the eyes of a presenter.
The journey to State Field Day for presenters began in February. They spent numerous hours preparing their presentations: practicing them in front of their parents and other family members, perfecting them with Project Leaders and Teen Leaders on Zoom Calls, and making sure that they were perfect come Tri-County 4-H Presentation Day, the very first level of competition.
Tri-County 4-H Presentation Day took place April 8th-10th. This event took place over three days because there were more participants than usual. This event is usually just for our county, and the event is known as Ventura County 4-H Presentation Day, and takes place in February or March. The past two years, County has been in April since all events have been pushed back due to the virtual format. Since it is virtual, we decided to join forces with two other counties (Riverside and Kings), to make it a Tri-County Event.
In addition to presentations, members also participated in the Interview Contest and Fashion Review at the Tri-County Competition. All of our County's participants at the event represented Ventura County with great maturity, poise, and did very well in all of the different events that they competed in. Each of the Ventura County 4-H'ers qualified with one or more events at Regional, which is the next level of competition.
This year, presenters that made it past County Competition picked a time slot from April 10th-24th to compete at Regional 4-H Presentation Day. Usually, each region has its own qualifying event for State Field Day, but due to the virtual format and shortage of evaluators, it was easier and more efficient to have all of the areas do one event together, called Regional 4-H Presentation Day. Ventura County is in the southern region, so our sectional event is called Southern Area 4-H Field Day, and normally takes place at Mount San Antonio Community College in Walnut in April or the first week of May at the latest.
The judging at Regional 4-H Presentation Day was quite strict this year; some of our County's best presenters either barely made it past the judging, or their journey in 4-H Presentations for 2021 ended here. However, for the exceptional presenters that went the extra mile to prepare and spent additional hours upon hours to get ready for this day, they were rewarded for their hard work, and were given the ticket to present at State Field Day.
State Field Day took place May 8th-22nd, which is much earlier than it usually is. It usually either takes place on the last Saturday in May, or the first Saturday in June. State usually is a one-day, in-person event that is held at the California 4-H Headquarters: University of California Davis (UCD) in the city of Davis.
One of the things that makes State unique is not only is it the biggest event since it represents all of California, but it has the most competitions and contests available for participants. In addition to Presentations, the Interview Contest, and Fashion Review, the other competitions at State Field Day include: Film Festival, Photography, Plant Science, Robotics, Coding, and Shark Tank Inventions. There are usually even more contests at the in-person event, such as Entomology (Bugs) and a Logo Contest.
This year, four Ventura County 4-H members qualified for State Presentations. A total of eight participated at the event. Since these members have already worked hard for several months to get here, they were more than ready by the time competition day came.
Ventura County was well represented at State; our county received a total of 9 Gold Medals, and 3 Platinum Seals (a Platinum is only available at State, and is basically a Gold, except the participant must get a perfect score from all of their evaluators). To see the names of the State Field Day winners from Ventura County 4-H, scroll to the end of this article.
Now that Presentations are over for this year, presenters can be proud of their work, and read their evaluation sheets to improve for next year. Presentation Day Awards can be counted in the 4-H Record Book and on college applications. If you would like to do 4-H Presentations next year, please consider joining the 4-H Record Books & Presentation Practice Project. My family has led it for 4 years, and we would be happy to help you put together a presentation for competition next year.
Ashley Pyler, Loma Vista 4-H
Senior Cultural Arts Presentation – Platinum Seal
Senior Interview Contest – Platinum Seal
Senior Film Festival – Blue Seal
Senior Photography Contest – Red Seal/Red Seal
Adeline Vertucci, Loma Vista 4-H
Intermediate Interpretive Reading – Platinum Seal
Mathew Ziegler, Loma Vista 4-H
Senior Illustrated Talk Presentation – Gold Medal
Senior Interview Contest – Blue Seal
Sammy Belik, Santa Rosa Valley 4-H
Intermediate Interpretive Reading – Gold Medal
Intermediate Interview Contest – Gold Medal
Intermediate Fashion Review – Gold Medal
Courtney Nunes, Santa Rosa Valley 4-H
Senior Photography Contest – Blue Seal/Blue Seal
Teagan Vanoni, Somis 4-H
Intermediate Photography – Gold Medal/Gold Medal
Brenna Vanoni, Somis 4-H
Junior Photography – Gold Medal/Blue Seal
Kylan J, Ventura County 4-H
Intermediate Photography – Gold Medal/Gold Medal