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4-Hers keep busy during summer
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I’ve often heard working in cooperative extension is a bit like working in church missions, because you’re in it to serve others.

I also always tell people I took the job because I prefer being on the other side of the desk out doing things.

If you’ve tried to catch me since summer started you’ve seen both parts of that.

The first day children were out of school, we had a group of middle and high school students here planning day camp, testing experiments, and counting supplies.

Leading up to day camp, I was constantly in search of supplies like 30 thermometers for solar ovens and hundreds of toilet paper tubes for roller coaster and food collection models.

The last two weeks I visited Washington Street Community Center several mornings to teach yoga.

I admit, before I attended the training I was convinced yoga looked easy. I mean, you just stretch a little, right?
Well, the most common comment I get at Washington Street is “you’re sweating, Ms. Terri!”

Three 4-H professionals at the University of Arkansas developed the 4-H yoga curriculum and came to Georgia to train several of our faculty and staff to teach it in our programs.

I’ve been excited to try it out with 29 very energetic students the last few weeks and hope we’ll be able to continue it after school next year.

Many of the poses are named after animals, so you’d be very entertained to hear the ribbits, moos and meows coming from my class.

I was also pleased to get the chance to work with Laurie Riley of Keep Covington Newton Beautiful on a lesson for a science camp about landfills and recycling.

We talked about ways to reduce waste, as well as how trash is handled in Newton County and its impact on water systems. They examined paper and plastic products at the Oaks Golf Course and talked about ways to recycle and reuse when possible.

We also explored what happens when trash, oil, pet waste or other products end up in storm drains.

Another day, I got the chance to play in the dirt with the same youths with our agricultural and natural resources agent, Ted Wynne. We learned all about wetland soils, how they filter water, and how to identify soils best for different uses.

Last Tuesday was completely different, dressing up to teach high school 4-H’ers about etiquette, dressing for success and what to expect during State 4-H Congress.

Newton 4-H’er Lavendar Harris will be competing in Wildlife and Marine Science, and accompanied me to the district workshop in DeKalb County.

She presented her demonstration on blue tongue skinks and practiced taking part in an interview.

I was also treated to a tour at Bert Adams Boy Scout Camp, located off Highway 36 in Newton County.

We are so fortunate to have so many amazing resources in our community including both Bert Adams and the FFA-FCCLA Center. I had not seen the scout camp since my own brother was in Cub Scouts, so the new facilities were a real surprise.

If you’ve ever wanted to play human foosball or learn to scuba dive, Bert Adams is your place.

A few of my most active 4-H’ers and volunteers were at Boy Scout camp the day I visited, and we realized we have the perfect opportunity to partner with the Scouts to bring under water remote operated vehicles, or under water robots, to Newton County. I’m looking forward to a great day of robotics with 4-H’ers and scouts in the very near future.

Also during the last two weeks we’ve had three high school 4-H’ers attend a week of high adventure camp and seven middle school 4-H members exploring Tybee Island during camp.

This weekend, I’m teaching health classes at State 4-H Council. Two of the four teens from Newton County serving as delegates were selected to attend STEM ambassador training, so they’re immersed deep into science this weekend.
And somewhere between all that, we’ve been certifying and training new adult volunteers and making sure everything is ready for our upcoming camps.

I did say I picked this career so I’d never be bored … mission accomplished!