How do dairy activities impact the lives of youth?

Month 6:

What dairy activities are you involved in? How do you think they're impacting your goals and skills? (For example, some youth involved in dairy judging say that giving reasons makes a huge difference in their public speaking skills.)  

DAIRY ACTIVITIES?  I am not a farm kid, but I do a few other things.

I choose and purchase and sell cattle one at a time.

I work to keep my animals healthy.

I am involved in and learning about breeding/A.I. process, and make decisions about it.

I show dairy at every local, county, and state level show.  I have just recently started showing on the national level. 

I participate in showmanship at every show.

I milk my own and other cows at the state shows.

I am in my third year as OK Ayrshire Jr. Princess.

I made and operate my own dairy promotion booth at health expos, and I am sponsored by Dairy Max and Milk PEP.

I am an official blogger for the Tulsa State Fair Livestock Shows for dairy.

My 4-H recordbook is full of dairy food project, dairy livestock project, and nutrition project with a heavy emphasis on lowfat dairy as a part of a healthy diet.

I compete in 4-H speech contests with dairy livestock or dairy foods as the subject.

I compete in 4-H powerpoint presentations with dairy livestock or dairy foods as the subject.

I am a 4-H Cloverbuds helper.

I have been a 4-H officer each year in my local chapter.

I participate at all state dairy field days in judging.

I am on the county 4-H Shooting Sports team.  (I’m practicing my marksmanship just in case I ever have to shoot a coyote to protect my heifers.)

SKILLS?...hmmm.  I’m not perfect, but I’m much better than when I started.

PUBLIC SPEAKING:  I’m not sure what type I did first.  I talk to judges in the ring, at judging contests, while giving reasons, etc.  I give illustrated presentations, memorized speeches and power point - speaking about  slides without bullet points or presenter notes.  I can speak like having a conversation with the audience.

WORKING WITH CHILDREN:  Little kids seem to like me.  I help with Cloverbuds and PeeWee showmanship.  Everyone seems to have a good time.  They love milk and they love my animals.

DEMONSTRATING: I have demonstrated dairy recipes to children and their parents.  I have demonstrated herdsmanship and showmanship skills to younger showmen.

ORGANIZATION:  I’ve learned to order feed on time, pick up the supplies on time, keep track of heat cycles, keep track of bills/payments, know where all my supplies are and how much I have so I have what I need.

BEING OBSERVANT:  I’m learning to watch out for certain things:  noticing symptoms and behaviors in my animals, judging the quality of animals.

BEING RESPONSIBLE:  I am responsible every day for my animals and  my landlord’s animals.  I help with other kids’ dairy animals.  When I know I have a job, I do it, and when I mess up, I admit it and I ask how I can fix it because I know that it isn’t fair for other people to take up my slack.  I sure don’t like having to take up the slack for other people.

RESOURCEFULNESS:  I continue to learn to use what supplies I have on hand to get the job done well.  I’m learning to re-purpose items for new uses.

PULLING YOURSELF UP BY THE BOOTSTRAPS:  Sometimes you have to suck it up and finish it out even when you’re tired or sick or hurt.  Crying doesn’t help.  It sure doesn’t help in public.  

DECISION MAKING:  I have to make decisions all the time whether it is the quality of how I'm doing my job or if it's time to send an animal to the auction.  I have to weigh the pros and cons of everything I do.  I have to look to the future to see how my decisions will make things better or worse.

COMMUNICATION:  This is probably the hardest skill.  I am still learning to listen to instructions and be able to say what I mean and be understood the first time.  Those are so hard.  You have to be precise with your words and ask good questions.

WORK ETHIC:  I’ve learned how to feel good by completing a job well and doing a job without being told.  (This is one of my parents’ favorites.)  I’ve recently heard my mom bragging how I’ve started  telling  her, “No, Mom, I can do it by myself.”

I think all of my activities and skills are helping me to be a better person:  a better student, a better citizen, a better future-employee, a better steward of all that God has given me.

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