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Your 2014 State Council
Saturday, July 6, 2013
Learning by Doing
As the 4-H motto says we “learn by doing,” the Chester County 4-H Dairy Program exemplifies this motto through the annual “Dairy Days”. Dairy Days is a unique overnight workshop for 4-Hers to learn how to be successful with their 4-H dairy cow project as well as learn about other aspects of 4-H.
Held at the Chester County 4-H Center, this two day educational extravaganza kicks off with hands on activities to help get the youth excited to learn more about dairy cows. Like other county programs, Chester County 4-H is very fortunate to have volunteer leaders who are extremely dedicated to teaching kids about their 4-H project and helping improve their skills. Some of these dedicated volunteers are kind enough haul a few of their extra cows to the 4-H center and allow the youth to practice practical skills like washing, clipping, and showing cows. It is an added bonus that these cows are generally non-show cows so if a beginner is just learning how to clip, it is okay if he/she makes a mistake on that cow. The teens in the dairy clubs have a top line competition with those cows as well.
Dairy Judging, cow parts, dairy quiz bowl, hoof clipping and care, breeding basics, and Vet talk with a local large animal veterinarian are the workshops to help enhance youth’s knowledge on cows. Some workshops have nothing to do with dairy cows, however. For example, Robotics was a new and interesting workshop this year to try and expose the kids to other areas 4-H has to offer. I even taught a simple butter making workshop which was more chance for the kids to take a break from filling their brains with cow knowledge. Of course there is time built into the schedule to have fun so this year we included a relay race and a water balloon toss, both competitions not taken lightly by some.
Though Dairy Days has been a highlight of the Chester County Dairy Program for thirteen years, I’ve only been involved for the past two years. Last year I did a presentation on what 4-H has to offer outside of Chester County with an emphasis on my past trip to the 2011 National 4-H Congress. This year I did a similar workshop called 4-H 101, I discussed 4-H basics, trivia, and the endless opportunities 4-H has beyond just dairy cow projects.