From Student to Teacher

A young boy wearing a NASA sweatshirt stands on a sidewalk holding a camera by his side.
4-H'er Aaron Lampley created an instructional video about photography to educate people in a safe way during the pandemic.

4-H’er creates instructional video

Story by Keri Collins Lewis • Photos by Kevin Hudson

4-H’ers learn by doing, pandemic or no pandemic. So, even though Aaron Lampley could not meet with the Winston County Photography Club, he could leverage technology to increase his own skills and share his expertise with other photo enthusiasts.

A 16-year-old junior at Noxapater Attendance School, Aaron participated in the Video Instructive Production, or VIPs, project developed in the northeast region by Jim McAdory, Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Winston County. Aaron selected a photography skill he wanted to teach and created a video to share on social media.

“Aaron is expanding his skill set and becoming an instructor. 4-H turns students into teachers and leaders.”



“The pandemic put everything on standby, and it was up to 4-H’ers to keep up their skills during this period of not doing what we usually do,” Aaron explains. “Our agents encouraged us to do different projects, including videos, so we would use our skills to teach others, but also so that we ourselves would learn more. This really helped my video editing skills.”

Using photos from his portfolio and copyright-free content he found online, Aaron created a video that teaches how to adjust shutter speed to capture subjects in motion.

He began editing videos on his smartphone when he was 11 and jumped to more sophisticated computer-based video editing programs 2 years ago, about the time he got a new computer and joined the Mississippi 4-H Youth Development Program.

“Everyone is very friendly,” Aaron says. “People in the photography club like to learn. You get to go to new locations, have a lot of fun, and practice your skills, like blurring backgrounds, shutter speed, aperture, ISO—everything technical.”

Overhead shot of a young boy holding a camera standing between two women.
Aaron Lampley shows his sister and mom, Megan
and Rosemary Lampley, his camera.

One highlight of Aaron’s 4-H experience was the annual 4-H Photo Safari, a spring break trip for a small group of photo club members from around the state.

“We went before things shut down and got crazy,” he remembers. “I’ve never experienced something like that—all the different locations, like downtown Meridian and the zoo. We stayed at a cabin in a state park. Being able to stay with different 4-H members was wonderful. 4-H has helped me get out of my shell.”

Aaron says there are a lot of different reasons kids should join 4-H and identifies the opportunity to learn as his main motivator.

“Extension has a lot of people who have skills others want to learn about and do, but they don’t have access to what they need to do it,” he says. “4-H can provide teaching and help you learn new skills. It’s a great way to get out there and have fun, meet new people, and get recognition for your work.”

McAdory explains that what many consider non-traditional 4-H projects, including photography, have been the reason for Winston County 4-H’s growth.

“There’s a stereotype that 4-H is for kids who want to participate in livestock events,” he observes. “We don’t have a tremendous number of kids around here who do that.”

McAdory, who has worked in Winston County for 2 years, has broadened the program’s reach. He and volunteers have created bicycle, photography, sport fish, kayak, grill, and citizenship clubs.

“We got out of the box and have built a really good program where our needs are,” he says.

Video by Leah Barbour

McAdory emphasizes that Aaron is a talented photographer who made the most of the new VIPs program.

“Knowing Aaron and his abilities, I talked to his mother, Rosemary, and suggested he participate,” he says. “Not only is he having to look up and learn things about video, he’s expanding his skill set and becoming an instructor. 4-H turns students into teachers and leaders.”

Click here to watch Aaron’s Facebook video about how to adjust your camera’s shutter speed.

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