You are here

A Reflection on the Summer of 4-H

Filed Under:
Wednesday, September 4, 2019 - 6:00am

Cobie and John reflect on the many events that have taken place during "The Summer of 4-H" and even hint on the things yet to come!


Announcer: This is 4H4U2, a podcast from the Mississippi State University Extension Service promoting 4-H programs and positive youth development. Here now your hosts, Dr. John Long and Cobie Rutherford.

John Long: Hey and welcome back to another podcast of 4H4U2. I'm your host, John Long.

Cobie Rutherford: And I'm Cobie Rutherford.

John Long: Cobie, let's just take a moment and breathe in. Yes, we have almost made it through the summer, haven't we?

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah, it's been a fun but busy summer.

John Long: Very busy. We were talking about that this morning, about all the things that we've had going on and you've heard if you've been listening to different podcasts, you know that we've had several activities over the course of this summer and we're going to talk about a few of those today and give a little recap, I guess you could say, and talk about that and talk about some other things that are potentially coming up and onboard for that. So with that, I guess what we started with was what, Cobie? Let's go back and think, just go back to the Wayback Machine, Wayback Machine, Wayback Machine ...

Cobie Rutherford: So if we start back, Congress, we talked about Congress on several podcasts.

John Long: Yes we have.

Cobie Rutherford: We recapped that. But since Congress, there's been State 4-H Horse Show that Dr. Jousan talked about some. We've had all of our project achievement days in all four regions, which I think were pretty successful. And then we had the co-op trip. State shooting sports, or S.A.F.E.T.Y.

John Long: S.A.F.E.T.Y.

Cobie Rutherford: And what else did we have? There was something else. I can't remember at this point, but it's-

John Long: It's all mixed in there together.

Cobie Rutherford: They all ran together. What was your favorite?

John Long: Oh I know, the national championship.

Cobie Rutherford: Oh yeah, that's right.

John Long: Shooting sports national championship.

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah, in Grand Island.

John Long: In grand Island. Yeah. So I should know that. I stayed out there for a week.

Cobie Rutherford: Now of all those which is your favorite?

John Long: Oh, that's tough. That is really, really tough. I love the national invitational. I just love the excitement of it and I get to see a lot of people that I see every year from different States, and we always joke say it's a family reunion. Which it is. Because that's the only other time we really get to see each other unless it's own computer sometime. But I liked that and I liked the seeing the youth that we take out there really getting to be exposed to other youth around the country. That's a lot of fun. I really like ... I don't know. It's hard to choose. I don't know. I like project achievement days. I love project achievement days.

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah, those are fun. I also remember the other event was the cookouts. Those probably my favorite.

John Long: Yes. Cookouts, I never have been to cookouts nor co-op.

Cobie Rutherford: Those were really good. And now co-op, we just finished that last week and that was a blast. Of course we had the most elite 4-Hers in the state, I think here, the 4-Hers who had won contest at Congress or they were part of the ambassador or leadership team. So they were really an elite bunch. But that was a pretty fun four days.

John Long: So with that, and again, I've never been to co-op, and I know y'all talked about that on another podcast, but I'm going to rob a question from it I guess. But during that time, I know they do several activities and go around and see different I guess businesses and things like that. So what was your favorite part of that?

Cobie Rutherford: So my favorite part of the whole cooperative leadership conference was probably the last night we had leadership Olympics. And we divided the youth up on different teams. We had eight different teams of, some kids on the team knew one another, but most of it was pretty random. And we had them do activities that were team-building and it really brought the kids close together and it made them work together. It made them get out of their comfort zone, made them learn more about each other and it was pretty cool deal.

John Long: So I do have a question in regard to that because I was bringing something in the [Bill and B 00:00:04:28], Bost [Bill and B 00:04:28], while you were doing something with the youth at co-op. And I have to ask this because it's just, not worried me, but I've been curious ever since. It was something you were walking around and saying you're invited to the party. You're like ... Tell me about that. Because I did not know what in the heck was going on.

Cobie Rutherford: So on the very first day we had some breakout sessions and the breakout sessions, one was the youth were learning how to be a part of the media corp or the reflections corp. And basically those were the groups that were taking the pictures, doing all the social media, putting together the video for the end of conference. So they were the media team I guess. Well the other team was called the hospitality corps, and that was just a small group of youth. And what their jobs were to do was to make everyone feel comfortable at the co-op and try to meet people, when we'd go to the tours, greet everybody, shake hands.

Cobie Rutherford: So the first part of that breakout session, we did a handshaking demonstration. Which to me handshaking is pretty universal when you go to meet somebody. And we talked about some different strategies that people use to shake hands and ...

John Long: Because there's a right way and a wrong way.

Cobie Rutherford: There is a right way and wrong way. And we talked about how when you shake someone's hand, always make eye to eye contact and go in as an equal. And that's not offensive to anybody. And we talked about you never want to shake hands and be like a limp rag. No one wants that-

John Long: No I hate that. I'm sorry. I hate to use the word hate, but that's the worst kind.

Cobie Rutherford: Yes. We talked about sitting down to shake hands, when someone is standing up and greets you, you should always stand and just some basic hand shaking etiquette.

Cobie Rutherford: Well then we had some time leftover and I wanted everybody to learn each other's names. So one thing we did when I was a 4-Her was learn about this, on bus trips we'd play this game, I'm coming to a party. And basically the way that worked out is people would start saying they're coming to a party and I'm bringing two things. So if I was going to party, I say I'm Cobie Rutherford, and I'm bringing a cat and a rabbit to the party. So it just goes around and folks finally start associating the items you're bringing with the initials of your first and last name.

John Long: I got you. I got you.

Cobie Rutherford: So it takes a while for them to start recognizing that. And then once they catch on, it's kind of fun.

John Long: Yeah. I ... Excuse me. I played something similar to that, but it's a really good way to learn people's names by association. And it's so funny. The first time I guess I did it was at a national shooting sports training and we had an animal, he had to associate an animal with our names. And to this day, everybody that was in that class still knows everybody's animal. So we'll call Moose Mike, Moose Mike or whatever.

Cobie Rutherford: How about that?

John Long: Yeah, that is cool. So now the mystery has been solved.

Cobie Rutherford: It has been. Yeah. So we'll have to come up with something new for next year. But that was fun.

John Long: I always want to say that, and of course you and I talked about this at lunch, but I always wanted to see the hot dog fry at the four County thing when they electrocute the hot dog. I never have seen that in person. I always wanted to see that in person. It's pretty-

Cobie Rutherford: That was pretty cool.

John Long: It's impressive. Yeah.

Cobie Rutherford: Shows you how powerful electricity is. But I think as far as the stops go, that was a really good stop for our 4-Hers because they showed this really informative video that demonstrated that electricity is still pretty new. A lot of these youth's grandparents and great grandparents may not have had electricity. And how four County for instance, was a group of people in this area that just decided that they were tired of not having ...

John Long: Lights.

Cobie Rutherford: Lights, the electricity that people in the city had. They just got together and formed a cooperative and made it happen. So to me, and I hope that the youth that attended co-op got the big picture of this, is that having a small idea or an idea like that, if you've got the rat team and you're willing to work hard to reach that goal, that you can basically do anything even if it's provide lights and power to the four county area.

John Long: Yeah, just a thing like lights and power. No big deal.

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah exactly, right.

John Long: Which we take for so granted now, just to walk in and flip the switch. It's amazing.

Cobie Rutherford: And they were talking about that too. They said, we feel like we're inconvenienced when the power goes out for a few minutes and we can't charge our cell phones or we can't play our games or whatever it is that the youth are doing. But when the power goes out, it's usually stormy, bad weather, and we ask a lineman to go out and take care of that problem for us, and it's so dangerous and we don't even think about it.

John Long: Yeah. You don't know what it's like until you don't have lights and then it's dark. You better be prepared.

Cobie Rutherford: That's right.

John Long: We had that happened not too long ago. So what about you? I know this is kind of your first full summer through, what was your favorite thing we've done so far?

Cobie Rutherford: So I guess my favorite thing would have been, I really liked the PADs. Those were fun. You see the energy from those young 4-Hers, they're just starting their 4-H career. That's kind of enthusiastic, and see them have some zeal and spunk about 4-H really reinvigorates you a little bit.

John Long: And we are so blessed to have so many talented young people in our state. It's amazing. And that's just a small example of what we have out there. It was really great because there's just so many variety of things that they do or they can do, they compete in, they do the talent shows and things like that, share the fun. And to see them be able to get up there and perform at such a young age. I think that's probably, I think that impresses me the most. I had one little story, and give a shout out to my young lady in Northwest district, she did a great presentation on river otters, and she came up there and she gave this great presentation. And afterwards we were getting ready to leave. I don't know if I told you this or not.

Cobie Rutherford: I haven't heard this story.

John Long: Anyway ... No because you had to, we separated once you left. Anyway, so I was getting ready to go get on the van, come back home and she stopped me and she said, "I just want to tell you that I really appreciate what you said", because I was really bragging on her presentation, she even got the award and I was telling people, I said, "If you want to know about river otters you need to talk to her because she knows her stuff".

John Long: But she caught me right before I was about to leave. She said, "I really want to tell you how much I appreciate what you said", she said, "Because I was really, really nervous giving that presentation". And I said, "Let me tell you something". I said, "I couldn't tell that you were nervous. You did just a really good job".

John Long: So we don't even think about those small things that young people have to go through. You and I may not think about getting up and talking in front of people, but for a younger 4-Her or a young person, that's a big challenge. And to overcome that fear and to say, "Hey, I can do that", and move on, that to me was probably the most impressive thing I heard at PAD for sure.

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah, that's pretty cool. My favorite-

John Long: Maybe that's that appeal to it, I guess. I don't know.

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah. So I had some similar experiences at PAD. The one that I enjoyed the most was actually a failure on our part as specialists.

John Long: Okay, I-

Cobie Rutherford: So at the southwest PAD we had the little robotics competition. And putting that on, there was one team of three children and we didn't have a robotics mat. And so, which could have been a big deal, we had a lot of teams and didn't have that. So we improvised and I think that one thing I've learned this summer is that you better be able to think on your feet fast and improvise in a situation.

John Long: Right, right. That's right.

Cobie Rutherford: So we got together and we had these youth that were on this robotics team to demonstrate the robot, tell about how it worked, all the parts, all the pieces, everything they used to control it. And then we asked them to set up a situation similar to what the mat was. And just to put it into perspective, these robot mats, the 4-Hers control this robot to do different activities on a mat. And this year the theme was a beehive. So in the middle of it you had your honeycomb where the queen bee lived, and you had to take her food, which was pollen, little styrofoam cotton ball like things, or take her water, which was little blue rocks. And then there was several insects around the honeycomb. You had to move them out. So the robots were trained to go collect pollen, collect the water, and then run over all the insects to get them out. So some of them were pretty-

John Long: Over the honey bees?

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah. Or no-

John Long: Aren't they our friends?

Cobie Rutherford: Well no, it wasn't the honeybees, these were intrusive insects that were trying to break into the hive.

John Long: Oh, okay. If they're pests then I'm good with that.

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah, they were pests.

John Long: Okay.

Cobie Rutherford: So all to save the queen.

John Long: Get my entomology ire up.

Cobie Rutherford: That's right. So basically these robots were programmed and then the youth would just set them, hit different buttons, make them go. Well when you don't have a mat and nothing's at scale, that just messes up the whole-

John Long: That throws you off doesn't it?

Cobie Rutherford: ... Thing, well these children set up their mat or set up the room so specific that the robot was still able to do exactly what they wanted it to.

John Long: Wow. Wow.

Cobie Rutherford: And they demonstrated all these things and we talked about it. Then they gave a presentation on how they programmed it, and they did a great job. And then actually they were very happy with the way the contest worked. They all got their blue ribbons, they all got trophies. But that could have been bad really quick. And those kids were just grateful for the chance to compete. And I thought that was pretty special. They could have been woe is me, the mat's not here and ... Disclaimer, part of the rules is that you should bring a mat to practice with prior to the contest. You had that opportunity. But sometimes you just, well somebody else will bring it, and I'm leaving my home and ...

John Long: Right. Well they learned to improvise as well didn't they?

Cobie Rutherford: They did. They absolutely did. So it was a good win-win.

John Long: Well, we just wrapped up this past weekend with the state invitation, 4-H S.A.F.E.T.Y. state invitational. And have to give a big shout out to, and a expression of appreciation, to my cohost Cobie Rutherford as this was his first one and he was invaluable. I appreciate all the work you did. I think you were kind of thrown into a few things, but yeah, I really do appreciate it.

Cobie Rutherford: It was good.

John Long: Yeah, it was good.

Cobie Rutherford: Other than getting the truck stuck.

John Long: Other than getting the truck stuck. But we got that over with.

Cobie Rutherford: That was an obstacle that we just overcome.

John Long: Improvised, we tried to improvise, but a wrecker worked better.

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah, it was fine.

John Long: But that's okay.

Cobie Rutherford: That's okay.

John Long: Lost the keys to the box truck, we got through that. You talking about sweat and that was the one where Friday morning and all my archery stuff's still locked up in the truck and I have no key. So thank you BJ McClinton for your trusty bolt cutters. We got through it, that was one of those things. And we had I'm thinking probably close to, I don't know shotgun numbers exactly yet, but we had 152 kids shooting everything but shotgun. So it was probably close to 300, over 300 kids this past weekend. So yeah, it was a good event. Hot. But it was a good event.

Cobie Rutherford: It was hot. Do it really exceeded most of my expectations.

John Long: Really?

Cobie Rutherford: Because I thought it was going to be loud. I thought it was just going to be bang, bang, bang, bang. It really wasn't.

John Long: Now it's relaxing.

Cobie Rutherford: It was ... Yeah, it was relaxing and planned out and just had a rhythm to it.

John Long: Right. It was pretty smooth transitions. When you have to, especially jocking around ranges, it has to be a little bit of a timing deal there. But yeah, it was fairly seamless I thought. And I think the kids had a good time.

Cobie Rutherford: I think so too.

John Long: Yeah. And thank the Lord that the rain held off. I was glad of that. Mercy.

Cobie Rutherford: Well we just missed it.

John Long: Yeah, we sure did. That was so weird too. Because right as archery was finishing up and that cloud was building in the west, I'm thinking, "They're going to get a rain delay right here at the end". They pull their arrows, walked back to the line, and it thundered. And I said, no, that's good. They're done.

Cobie Rutherford: They're done.

John Long: They're done, so ... But yeah, I really do appreciate that. And I'll give a shout out to all the agents, parents, volunteers. I got to say, thanks to support of the extension and without all of these people that wouldn't be possible. Brad. You know what I'm talking about, Brad stayed. And appreciate your help too. So you did a great job helping with that and getting everything ready. So-

Cobie Rutherford: Facilities looked good.

John Long: Yeah, it did. It just takes a lot. It takes a lot to get stuff done, but when it's done, hey, it's a good thing. I tell you, we had some really good scores turned in this year, so I'm excited about the national team we've got coming up, I think they're going to be really good. So ...

Cobie Rutherford: So I helped out in the score room some and saw all those targets as they were shooting at, and it amazed me how some were so precise. And there was one John, we looked at, that we couldn't tell how many holes it had. Basically the child shot through the same hole multiple times. It was so close to center point. And we finally got looking, turned it over and got a light and showed, you could see where there was three different [indentions 00:00:19:22], kind of like Mickey mouse head. It was very cool. But [crosstalk 00:00:19:29].

John Long: I had a recurve archer score I believe as high as I've ever seen a ... I can't even talk. Recurve Archer. I don't think I've ever had a score that high.

Cobie Rutherford: Really?

John Long: Yeah. That was unbelievable. I'm still amazed at that, I've just never seen a recurrent score that high. So that was an eye opener for sure. But we had some really good, I know air rifle was really tight, the scores were really tight in air rifle. Had a good turnout in .22 rifle and .22 pistol and got even a really great turnout in shotgun. So ...

Cobie Rutherford: How many kids did the hunting exercise?

John Long: Hunting had three this year.

Cobie Rutherford: See, I think if I was 4-Her that's something I would love to do.

John Long: I know, and I wish [crosstalk 00:20:16].

Cobie Rutherford: That had so many different parts to it. You could probably be a mediocre shot and be able to do the other parts really well, do okay in that contest.

John Long: Right. And I think that if more people really got into it and realized how multifaceted this one is, it'd probably be more people that participated in it. And I'll give a encouragement if you're out there in the county and want to take on the hunting discipline, I think you'd be surprised at it, for sure.

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah, I think it'd be fun. With that compass, and what were those other components? Compass [crosstalk 00:20:48].

John Long: Okay, so they had a compass, and then they had a test, and then they had ... Almost said insect ID. I'm still on PA day. Animal ID, or wildlife identification, and then the two shooting components, which is seniors only that had the shooting component and it's only at the state invitational. It's archery. They shoot the archery course and then they shoot paper targets at varying distances, but there's a deer, a fox, and a squirrel. These are all paper. No animals are harmed in this discipline. But anyway, they shoot that at three different distances. Deer's at 50, and I can't remember the other two distances. One's at 25, I think it's the squirrel. But anyway, so they have to exercise that prowess as well. So ...

Cobie Rutherford: Good deal. Fun, fun month.

John Long: Oh yeah. It's a blast. And you know, the year's not over. We still got things coming on down the line and we're looking forward to that too. What is something that we have coming up? I had it my mind just a while ago and I thought, man, we need to talk about that.

Cobie Rutherford: Well, we've got, there are several counties that are starting the County fairs and doing workshops, getting ready for exhibits at those fairs.

John Long: North and south volunteer leaders forum.

Cobie Rutherford: North and south volunteer leaders forum are big. They're coming up soon. Dr. Jousan has got a contest coming up in August with a heifer development contest. So lots of stuff.

John Long: Yeah. It's not over with yet, but I think the bulk of our time is, it's never over with, but I'm just saying the intensity I guess is maybe a little reduced on us anyway.

Cobie Rutherford: I hope this doesn't mean ... I suspect this means that more office work coming up soon.

John Long: Oh yeah, that's exactly what it means.

Cobie Rutherford: Trying to get all this paperwork ready for next year, right?

John Long: Yep. That's what it means. Just get started and turned around and head back in this same direction we're in now. So ...

Cobie Rutherford: That's right. It goes by fast.

John Long: It does. It does. And so does our time today. If you want to learn more about 4-H in your area, go to your local extension office. Or you can go where Cobie?

Cobie Rutherford: To

John Long: You say that so well. I would still be saying W-W-W dot extension dot MS State ... But anyway, thank you very much for all y'all listening. And please, what do you do? You like, subscribe? What do you do on a podcast?

Cobie Rutherford: You subscribe.

John Long: Subscribe.

Cobie Rutherford: Share with your friends.

John Long: And share with your friends. So until next time, I'm John.

Cobie Rutherford: And I'm Cobie.

John Long: Take care.

Announcer: Thanks for joining us for 4H4U2. For more information, please visit and be sure to subscribe to our podcast. 4H4U2 is produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Office of Agricultural Communications.

Select Your County Office