Saturday, June 21, 2014

Franklin County 4-H Fair

Last fall I started a 4-H group on our county. There really aren't a lot of them in our area and most of the ones that do exist are animal specific. The focus of our club is GPS/GIS and we are learning about that through geocaching.

However, on this particular day, there was a 4-H Fair at the local fairgrounds. This was a chance for the kids (and not just 4-H - this event is free and open to the public) to show off what they are learning as well as attend some workshops.

We started our day by watching one of the K-9 units from the Sheriff Department show us how his dog works and explained her training. It was pretty fascinating to watch.

The Deputy showed us how she can track, find drugs (some were planted on an adult attending for the dog to find), and find a bullet casing. Okay, that last one was a bust for us as it was a big field and a small casing and the deputy hadn't watched to see where he tossed it. I think we all learned something about how important these dogs can be to police work.

She just showed who had the drugs hiding in his pocket.

The deputy made it fun and interesting to stand and watch for 40 minutes. He was engaging and encouraged the kids to ask questions. While his dog loved to work, she also loved her ball and he said that was her big motivator. Work = play with ball time.

One of the workshops my boys attended was a build your bluebird house. The pieces were all pre-cut, but they were able to put it all together. They were taught a bit about bluebirds as well. They are pretty rare to see in Maine and houses like these will encourage them to stay in our area.

Another workshop they attended was called "Weather sticks: Money Grows on Trees." Basically they were taught how to create a weather stick and how it works. Weather sticks are pieces of fir trees that help tell what kind of weather is coming. These can sell for around $8-$12 each. Thus - money grows on trees!

Learning about weather sticks

Working to get all the bark off. 

After lunch our club put on a rather fun compass learning game. It wasn't until I began this 4-H club that I realized I don't really know how to read a compass! I'm still not proficient but I'm getting better. Thankfully my boys and other club members DO know how to read one!

The game we set up is a Boy Scout one I picked up somewhere along the line a few years ago. Using some grade stakes from my hubby's work, We created a circle around a center area. Each stake was placed at a different degree mark around the center and had a letter written on top. Then each player was given a card. The card had a letter written on it (the starting point) and five different compass degree markings. They had to use this to navigate around the circle. 

I had small sticky notes and pencils for each player. As they made their way around, they would write the letters on the sticky note. I had a master key so I could tell them if they had it correct or not. All players were given a lollipop at the end. 

It was unfortunate that this was not a well-attended fair. Most of the players were are own club members. However, they all had a blast! Those who had been unsure of how to read a compass before walked away with more confidence when we were all done.

Also unfortunate....I took no photos of the game being played! I am planning to do it again at some point with our club and perhaps as a type of workshop/demo for kids. Its amazing what they will do for a lollipop!

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