4-H Project Day draws a crowd

Published 6:55 am Monday, April 12, 2010

Three boys took turns pedaling a stationary bike as fast as they could to power light bulbs, a group of girls pieced together corsages and a third group rocked.

These were just a few of the things local youth got the chance to do Saturday morning during 4-H Project Day at the Mower County Fairgrounds.

“It’s just kind of a taste of what 4-H is like,” said Gayle Perkins, 4-H ambassador advisor. “Hopefully, it will get the kids interested in joining 4-H and becoming part of a great youth organization.”

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4-H ambassadors and other 4-H leaders led a number of sessions to show those attending a glimpse of what a potential 4-H project could be.

About 30 area children participated in 4-H Project Day, which ran from 9 a.m. to noon in the 4-H building at the fairgrounds. The 4-H ambassadors had extended duties this year, as about 10 of the ambassadors helped out and even ran some of the demonstrations.

“This is just a tremendous group,” Perkins said of the 18 ambassadors around the county. “They’re true leaders. Whatever you need them to do, they’re there.”

Ambassador Lauren Nelson described herself as a city kid, and said 4-H is a great program because it has exposed her to new things.

“You get to see a little bit of everything,” she said. “We’ve got gardening. We’ve got shop, robotics. We’ve got llamas out there. It’s just showing kids some stuff they probably wouldn’t see.”

Nelson, 17, held a session on robotics and participates in FIRST, For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, at her high school.

She had the students draw what they think a robot looks like, and then she showed them pictures of the robot her team built for FIRST. Nelson said she was going to have them work on problem solving activities. Robotics is something a student could potentially do a 4-H project on.

Dan Fischer, who is in the electrical program at Riverland Community College, led a session called Do You Have Pedal Power?

Participants pedaled a bike attached to a generator that powered different kinds of light bulbs. This taught them which bulb used the most energy. The participants had to pedal faster to power incandescent light bulbs than they did when powering LED lights, meaning the incandescent bulbs uses more power.

Earlier in the morning, Fischer had hosted a session on wind power. Those involved could put together kits of small wind turbines made of PVC pipes with blades made of pieces of paper plates.

Fischer said some of the model wind towers came with small generators and could produce up to one volt of energy. Some of the children tied baskets to the blades and pointed a fan at the blades to turn them.

Just outside the 4-H building, many of the area youth had a chance to learn about llamas. They learned about things like raising llamas, and they learned about llama fiber, which are fine hairs than can be spun into yarn.

Other projects included a session on how to make your own corsage and Geology Rocks 101.