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Preparing for 4-H Safety Competitions

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Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 7:15am

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about preparing for 4H safety competitions. Hello, I'm Amy Myers and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Doctor John Long, Mississippi State University Extension 4H Youth Development Specialist. John, 4H Safety Program used to be called 4H Shooting Sports. And now, it's 4H Safety Program and it stands for Safe Archery and Firearms Education and training for Youth. When will competitive events start in 4H safety?

John Long: Well Amy, there will be several county and multi-county events and some of them we've already had. Some of them are still yet to come. But in order to find out the one that is in your area, you'll need to contact your local Mississippi State University Extension agent.

Amy Myers: To find out who our Mississippi State University Extension agent is, how do we do that?

John Long: Well if you don't know who they are, you can go to www.extension.msstate.edu. Look under the county agencies that we have there listed and you can, actually has a pull down menu for selecting a county. So you select your county and they'll tell you exactly who's in your county that can assist you.

Amy Myers: Okay and that's extension.msstate.edu. What are some things that youth need to do in order to get ready for these upcoming 4H safety competitions?

John Long: First and foremost, make sure that your equipment is in safe and working order, whether it be a bow or whether it be a firearm of any type. You need to make sure that it will still function correctly. You do not want to get on the line at a competition and have something that could have been prevented happen just by simple maintenance check. Also, make sure that you have a copy of the rules when you're practicing. The 2019 event handbook is what covers everything from county all the way through the district events. And if you don't have a copy of that, you can go to the website as well that we just mentioned and look under 4H safety and you can look under the publications and find that publication.

Obviously you need to practice. Be prepared for the event. Also, know those rules backwards and forwards, and most importantly, if you don't know something or have a question, do not wait until the day of the event to ask it. Questions regarding any type of rules or equipment need to be addressed prior to the competition, weeks in advance. Sometimes accommodations need to be made based on a number of potential limiting factors a participant may have whether they're physical, temporary or permanent or other issues. A doctor's written explanation and other documentation will be required and submitted to the district and or state office prior to the event.

Amy Myers: So let's talk about mental preparation.

John Long: Individuals can make a competition a positive or negative event. Some people thrive in a competitive environment and others do not. This does not mean that one is better than other but the one thing to remember is that you, and only you, are the one responsible for the outcome of your score. Have fun and enjoy the event. If you are not having fun and stressing out over your performance then you really need to step back and think, did I really do all that I could do in order to prepare? You will find out that the more relaxed you are, the better attitude you will have and more times than not, your accuracy will be better as well.

Amy Myers: Now what about physical preparation for these 4H safety sporting events?

John Long: Most of, if not all, 4H safety events are held outside. The weather could be severe. Heat and cold and even rain. So be prepared for any type of weather event. Eating right and getting a good night's rest are going to help you be a better competitor. Don't drink caffeine right before you go to shoot, don't intake candy or any other high sugar content food as these can cause jittery bodies.

Amy Myers: Where can we go in order to learn more about 4H Safety Program?

John Long: You can go to extension.msstate.edu and look under the 4H safety programs.

Amy Myers: Today we've been speaking with Doctor John Long, 4H Youth Development Specialist. I'm Amy Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: 4-H Youth Development

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