Makaela Miller, Luzerne County, was among more than 600 4-H members from across Pennsylvania who took part in the annual 4-H State Achievement Days at Penn State’s University Park campus in August.
Pennsylvania 4-H’ers attending the three-day event participated in various contests and activities, including horse judging, leadership development, shooting sports and a robotics science symposium. As a result of their participation, some 4-H members may qualify to attend national competitions.
Makaela is a member of Tall in the Saddle 4-H Club under the leadership of Bernadette Trzesniowski and Tammy Young. Makaela participated in the Presentation Contest with her presentation titled “Finding Your 1st Horse”. The Presentation Contest provides an opportunity for 4-H members to develop and use communication skills, develop self-confidence, to research and develop a current knowledge base in selected subject matter, and to teach and share the information with others.
Makaela received a Blue Merit at 4-H StateAchievement Days, earning her the opportunity to participate in the Presentation Contest at Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus Ohio in October.
“Throughout the year, 4-H members work hard to prepare for the competitions at 4-H State Achievement Days,” said Christy Bartley, 4-H state program leader for Penn State Extension. “Their learning in the plant and animal sciences, food and nutrition, fitness and recreation, presentations, and engineering sciences provides them with decision making, problem solving, teamwork, and leadership skills they will use throughout their lives.”
More than 300 attendees participated in a community service project, “Amp It Up!. . .4-H Service.” 4-H’ers donated items such as cake mixes, icing, candles and sprinkles to assemble birthday packs that will be donated to food banks, pantries and shelters. School supplies also were donated to create back-to-school packs for children from Pennsylvania military families. In addition, participants donated fleece material to make blankets that are donated to shelters, children’s hospitals and veteran’s homes, and cards were made to include in packages for military personnel and their families.
This year, two recycling projects were added to the event. 4-H’ers donated old jeans that were cut up to make braided dog toys for donation to animal shelters and hospitals. The other recycling project, called ShoeBox Recycling, will be the 4-H statewide service project for the upcoming year. ShoeBox Recycling partners with various organizations to collect shoes that will be distributed around the globe for reuse by those in need.
Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Pechart spoke to the group about the importance of the agricultural industry and motivated youth to continue their service in 4-H and agriculture-related fields. Also Fred Chmiel, assistant coach for the Penn State women’s basketball team, inspired the crowd to become “givers” instead of takers.