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The 4-H SAFETY program from a 4-H participant’s perspective

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 6:00am

Mary Audrey Long sits down with John (her father) and Cobie to discuss the life skills learned and relationships developed through the first years in 4-H.


Announcer: This is 4-H-4-U-2, a podcast from the Mississippi State University Extension Service promoting 4-H programs and positive youth development. Here now your host, Dr. John Long and Cobie Rutherford.

John Long: All right and welcome to another podcast of 4-H-4-U-2. I'm your host, John Long.

Cobie Rutherford: And I'm Cobie Rutherford.

John Long: And we are broadcasting live from Mississippi State University in the wonderful podcast room in Bost Extension Center here.

Cobie Rutherford: Yes sir.

John Long: Excited to be here and even more excited about the guest that we have on today, and that is Mary Audrey Long. She is joining us in the studio. Mary Audrey, how are you doing today?

Mary Audrey Long: I'm doing good.

John Long: Good, good, good. What have you been up to?

Mary Audrey Long: Enjoying the first full day of summer.

John Long: That's good, that's good.

Cobie Rutherford: Oh, I remember those days. Summer was always something to look forward to.

John Long: And it seemed like as a kid, I don't know, Cobie, do you feel like that summers are just much shorter now than they were when we were kids?

Cobie Rutherford: It does. It seems way shorter.

John Long: Yeah.

Cobie Rutherford: And I always looked forward to spring break and summer, and there for a while, I always tried to take spring break, but it seems like the older I've gotten, the less that's happened.

John Long: Yeah, that's true. That is true. I've had folks actually say, "Are y'all off all for spring break?" I said, "No, we're working."

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah.

John Long: I mean we've got things to do. We've got a lot of stuff to get ready for, and one of them being one that's coming up next week, which is Congress.

Cobie Rutherford: That's right. It'll be here, 600 4-Hers across the state will be here on Mississippi State's campus.

John Long: That's a lot, that is a lot, and it is a lot of fun too.

Cobie Rutherford: No doubt.

John Long: Yeah. We get to see a lot of different contests and workshops and get to see some really good talent too.

Cobie Rutherford: So Mary Audrey, you're probably too young to come to Congress, but I know you're probably looking forward to that one day.

Mary Audrey Long: I really am. I've heard so much about it and I've just been looking forward to it.

John Long: So good. How long have you been in 4-H Mary Audrey?

Mary Audrey Long: I think ... What's the age limit for it?

John Long: It's eight.

Mary Audrey Long: Eight, I did club and that was when I was about five.

John Long: Yeah, that's about right, when you did Cloverbuds.

Mary Audrey Long: Cloverbuds, and then I did archery, the shooting sports, it kind of hooks onto 4-H too and I've done that since I was old enough to and love it and it is the best thing.

John Long: That's awesome.

Mary Audrey Long: We've just had District too.

John Long: That's good, that's good. How did you do at District?

Mary Audrey Long: I actually got first place. It said in the bracket I got second but on my certificate it said first.

John Long: Actually that was last year certificate I'm sorry to disappoint you.

Cobie Rutherford: Wow.

John Long: Dead air.

Mary Audrey Long: Are you kidding me?

John Long: Oh me. We are really winging this today and reason we're winging it is because we don't have our sound or our chief engineer, Art Shirley with us. We are going to get through this. Dead air or not, we're going to do it. But anyway you are saying ... Now let me ask you this. Why did you choose archery as far as being in the safety program? Why did you choose archery? And don't say it because I made you do it.

Mary Audrey Long: Well, I chose archery because I had been doing archery since I was ... I don't know what, four?

John Long: Yeah, probably.

Mary Audrey Long: Four, maybe three, three, four. I don't know.

John Long: Yeah, I got you a really little bow when you were little. I mean, little, little. Yeah, probably four.

Mary Audrey Long: Yeah, but I have shot it since the day I can pick up a bow and I have loved it ever since.

John Long: Good.

Mary Audrey Long: [inaudible 00:03:56] So happy, when I found out that I could do it.

Cobie Rutherford: Now I don't really know how a lot about safety programs and shooting sports programs. I didn't grow up a hunter, didn't participate in 4-H, but I know a few things about a bow and what is it when you pull back on on the string, if there's not an arrow on it, you shouldn't do that, right? If there's not arrow loaded on the bow?

Mary Audrey Long: You should really not do that, it'll break the bow basically. I did that once, I forgot about the arrow not being in my bow and it just broke. What was the daddy? Was it my peeps? Did my peeps come off?

John Long: Yeah, it was a lot of stuff came off.

Mary Audrey Long: Yeah, it's a really bad thing.

John Long: It's called dry fire.

Cobie Rutherford: And see, that amazes me because I learned that in physics class-

John Long: Oh, really?

Cobie Rutherford: In college actually. It's like Mary Audrey's already got a jump on some physics and different mechanisms of bow and arrows before she even gets to that upper level sides. That's pretty cool.

Mary Audrey Long: You can learn a lot in 4-H, especially shooting sports, a lot of science, physics.

John Long: Yeah it is, it takes a lot of that.

Cobie Rutherford: And the other thing we learned was how you have to ... If you're shooting far away, have to adjust for the wind and you may have to aim a little bit higher than you wanted to because it might drop. Do you use all that kind of in your strategy when you're competing?

Mary Audrey Long: I actually ... Before competition were not allowed to move anything during competition unless we're senior at State, but we can only adjust it before competition. We can't do it while we're shooting. I always shoot before my competition to find out where I'm needed to aim and all that and where my site needs to be. And then that's just how I kind of get ready for competition since we can't move it.

Cobie Rutherford: That's cool.

Mary Audrey Long: When I'm a senior at State or District, isn't it District you can do that daddy?

John Long: It's at State what you're telling him about.

Mary Audrey Long: Yeah, at State you can only move it while you're competing.

John Long: Right, right. When you have an archery practice-

Mary Audrey Long: I do.

John Long: ... How does that work exactly? What do you do during that practice?

Mary Audrey Long: Basically what you do is we have the whole team from our County, [inaudible 00:06:24] County, and we have a coach named Johnny Thompson. I think a lot of people know him from horse riding and all that. What we have to do is at the beginning of the year, we make a line and we lay out targets. And then all the people from [inaudible 00:06:44] County, they come and we will all shoot, well we go in rounds like you would at District or State or whatever.

John Long: Right.

Mary Audrey Long: And the junior will shoot inside, since we had to switch facilities and the seniors will shoot outside.

John Long: Okay.

Mary Audrey Long: If there aren't enough kids to go on the line, then we'll have sections that you do at District or State, which will have one round of kids and then another round, like morning one, two and three.

John Long: That kind of prepares you for going to a District event, really.

Mary Audrey Long: It really does because you can fit in people at certain times if people aren't there, so that's a good thing that we use in practice.

Cobie Rutherford: That's pretty interesting. What about with the firearms? What do you participate in that side of the safety program as well?

Mary Audrey Long: Well, we actually have to get them checked at District and stuff like that and State too.

Cobie Rutherford: Do you shoot a pistol or a .22 rifle or any of that stuff?

Mary Audrey Long: I do not, but I really kind of want to shoot .22 rifle next year.

Cobie Rutherford: Okay, good deal.

John Long: Yeah, because you'd be old enough to do it at that point. Yeah. What do you feel like ... Like you mentioned you've been in different parts of 4-H and the club level. Like I said, pretty much and grown up in 4-H, what do you think is one of the main things that you have learned while you've been in 4-H?

Mary Audrey Long: I think it's being more responsible and being more careful because before I went to the club and before I went to doing archery and shooting sports, I was not as responsible I should have been with firearms. I had a BB gun when I was little, I was not as responsible I should have been with that.

John Long: Yeah, I know.

Mary Audrey Long: Thank you.

Cobie Rutherford: Sounds like you've got a story behind that.

John Long: We're not telling anything no, but go ahead. I'm sorry I interrupted you.

Mary Audrey Long: And I was not as responsible I should've been. I'm more careful with how I shoot and what is around me while I'm shooting and that has just changed me a lot and it actually helped me be more comfortable shooting stuff.

John Long: Right.

Mary Audrey Long: Because since my dad's one of the ... We'll have to go Nationals and stuff like that when I was a baby, I basically grew up around guns and stuff like that since I hunt too.

John Long: Right.

Mary Audrey Long: And that's just helped me want to shoot more.

John Long: Right.

Mary Audrey Long: Actually shot my first Clyde in December and busted it and I was crying.

Cobie Rutherford: That's cool.

John Long: Yeah, it was pretty awesome right there. When she shot, I turned around and she was crying, I thought she was crying because of the gun-

Cobie Rutherford: Because it kicked her.

John Long: ... Right, but it wasn't, I said, "Are you okay?" She's like, "Yes." And I said, "What's wrong?" She's like, "I'm just happy."

Cobie Rutherford: I'm just happy.

John Long: But anyway, that was pretty cool too.

Mary Audrey Long: I had ate three waffles that morning. Dominic, the guy we were hunting with, we're actually duck hunting. He was like, "I guess it was because of those waffles.?"

John Long: Yeah, that's right, it's the waffles that'll get you. I don't know if that's good advice, eat waffles before you get out of line, but hey, it might work for some people I guess.

Mary Audrey Long: Oh, I don't know.

John Long: Yeah, I don't know either.

Cobie Rutherford: That's funny.

John Long: You mentioned safety and I think safety first and foremost, and we preach that all the time, don't we? And even around guns. What is one of the main things I tell you to do when you're handling a firearm? What's the first thing you do once you have it in your hands?

Mary Audrey Long: Check it because you have no clue, you might've forgotten if you have a ...What do you call it?

John Long: A bullet or a shale or something like that.

Mary Audrey Long: What do you call it? One of them things, you know how you stick in your rifle? A magazine.

John Long: Yeah, a magazine.

Mary Audrey Long: Might have a magazine and left a shell in there or something, and that safety might be off. I mean, and you could be aiming it and then you know how you can kind of click it?

John Long: Yeah, we don't want to do that first thing.

Mary Audrey Long: No, the gun might go off. You just always want to be safe and make sure that that gun is not loaded, so something bad could happen-

John Long: Exactly.

Mary Audrey Long: ... It always can. I mean there's a 99.9% of it happening. 50, 50, whatever.

John Long: You don't know unless you check it.

Mary Audrey Long: Exactly.

John Long: And all guns are to be treated as if ...

Mary Audrey Long: They are a person.

John Long: They are loaded.

Mary Audrey Long: Same thing.

John Long: But do you ... Yeah, right. I guess some people are loaded, I don't know.

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah, that's one thing that my grandpa taught me. He was a hunter and he told me to never ever point a gun at anything unless you intended to shoot it.

John Long: Shoot it, yeah, that's right. That's exactly right. Same for a target.

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah.

John Long: I mean, you don't want to ever point a barrel at anything that you're not ... You want to keep it in a safe direction, and another thing is too, is that that goes for archery as well.

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah.

Mary Audrey Long: It really does.

John Long: For sure.

Mary Audrey Long: You just need to be careful because that end on that arrow could kill somebody right when it hits them, you always need to make sure what is around you and what could be coming through the area that you're shooting.

John Long: Target, that's right, and always be careful to be aware of-

Mary Audrey Long: Your surrounding-

John Long: Who's behind you too.

Mary Audrey Long: Yeah.

John Long: You want to make sure, you don't want to jab.

Mary Audrey Long: And you don't want animals outside while you are shooting.

John Long: Yes, that's right. That's exactly right. I think that goes to the fact that we preach safety, safety, safety, and I think that goes a very well for the safety record that we do have in shooting sports. I think that one of the things that emphasis goes just is always at the forefront and it always should be at forefront, but what do you feel like you as a person ... How do you think you as a person, what do you think one particular thing in four H safety that has taught you responsibility or good sportsmanship? Can you think of any moment in 4-H Safety that really was memorable and was kind of a learning experience for you?

Mary Audrey Long: Last year. Basically last year I was not shooting my best at all, it was a learning experience to listen what other people had to tell me about getting better. And that was a really learning experience because at the beginning of this year I was not shooting my best, but as it went on, I kept getting better because I would listen to people's advice for me and that was a really good learning experience and stuff like that. The first year I shot the first ever shot I shot all in the practice line was in the bullseye and that was a really fun moment for me.

John Long: That's good, that's really good. What about friendships? Because I know that we have friends at school and then we have friends in sometimes those in 4-H Safety and sometimes those actually overlap. But do you feel like you've made new friendships with people in 4-H and how has that been for you as far as that experience?

Mary Audrey Long: Yes. I've made so many more friends and I love it because they can help me get better and I can help and give them good advice and they can help me and give me good advice and I love making all these new friends because they're are so nice. And I mean, I just loved it.

John Long: That's good.

Cobie Rutherford: You probably have a chance to meet people from outside of your club and your County too, don't you?

Mary Audrey Long: I do actually. I stood on the line this year at District with this girl and she was actually from ... What's Columbus County?

John Long: Lowndes County.

Mary Audrey Long: Lowndes County, she's from Lowndes County.

John Long: Shout out to Lowndes County 4-H.

Mary Audrey Long: Yep, and she was really nice and we talked every time we got off the line and it was just fun, I love standing by people I don't know. And because I always don't want to get by people I know, even though sometimes I do-

John Long: Right.

Mary Audrey Long: ... Because then they'll keep talking to me while I'm shooting, shout to that other dude.

John Long: To Trey. That's who you're talking about, who's on the line.

Mary Audrey Long: I'm talking about that dude who would not shut his-

John Long: No, no, no. We're not talking about that.

Cobie Rutherford: That talked a lot.

John Long: Yeah, yeah. You can't be too talky.

Cobie Rutherford: That would be distracting I think, shooting beside chatty Cathy. You pull back your bow and then she gets loud or something, then you might shoot up in a tree.

John Long: No, that's exactly it. You don't want to do that. For sure.

Mary Audrey Long: But it's good to not get by people who you don't know, it'll keep you from talking to them, but you also need to learn how to keep that stuff out of your head-

John Long: Right, right.

Mary Audrey Long: ... Which I did not have good handle over.

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah, because that's probably part of the strategy. If you're beside somebody that was really, really good and you're like, well I'm going to try to get them off their game. That's not very good sportsmanship-

John Long: Right.

Mary Audrey Long: No, it's not.

Cobie Rutherford: But it's kind of probably a fine line between being friendly and aggravating.

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

Mary Audrey Long: And I'm pretty competitive, so it's hard to ...

John Long: I've told her before that when you get on the line, it's only you in the target and you are the only thing that's in control of that moment and once that arrows gone, you can't take it back. So you have focused on the next arrow

Mary Audrey Long: Yeah, I've always kind of learned from that and it's been good.

John Long: That's good, that's good. What do you feel like ... You said you think you might try .22 next year, that'll be good.

Mary Audrey Long: Yes. I basically got it from Santa Clause, I got a .22 rifle, and I've been shooting it forever.

John Long: Yeah, you've been going through my bullets pretty quick too.

Mary Audrey Long: Well at least I'm shooting.

John Long: Well, I said that that I would buy all the bullets you needed.

Cobie Rutherford: Wow.

Mary Audrey Long: And I've loved it. It's been one of those little Crickett ones and it's camo, which I love, and it has a side arm, this .22 rifle.

John Long: It has a little scope on it too.

Cobie Rutherford: It fits you.

John Long: What do you think is one of the things that if you had a young person that would be interested in the 4-H safety program, what would you suggest that they do? How do you think they should get into it?

Mary Audrey Long: Well, it would have to depend on what they would want to do, I guess, because I mean, I might don't want to make the decision for them-

John Long: Right.

Mary Audrey Long: Because they might have an interest in stuff, but it would probably be archery, shotgun or .22 rifle.

John Long: Yeah, and probably a little bit biased on archery, I would guess, because that's what you're doing, right now.

Mary Audrey Long: Yeah, yeah.

John Long: That's good, that's good. Well, Mary Audrey, we thank you so much that take a just a few moments out of your busy schedule.

Mary Audrey Long: Oh, so busy, so, so busy.

John Long: So, so busy.

Cobie Rutherford: On the first day of summer.

John Long: First day of summer, that's right.

Mary Audrey Long: So busy.

John Long: For you. Thank you for coming in and sitting down with us, we appreciate it.

Mary Audrey Long: You're welcome, I really liked it.

Cobie Rutherford: Yeah. Good deal. You did a good job.

John Long: Yeah, popsicles on me.

Mary Audrey Long: Yay.

John Long: All right. Well, this has been 4-H-4-U-2, and for more information on 4-H in your area, go to and please go to our podcast and subscribe and Cobie, you got anything else before we go?

Cobie Rutherford: I don't hope everybody has a good rest of the week-

John Long: That's right.

Cobie Rutherford: ... And hopefully see you at Congress.

John Long: All right, we'll see you then, we're going to keep it green from here on out.

Mary Audrey Long: Oh, yes.

John Long: Oh, yes. All right. Thanks for listening.

Announcer: Thanks for joining us for 4-H-4-U-2. For more information, please visit and be sure to subscribe to our podcast. 4-H-4-U-2 is produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Office of Agricultural Communications.


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