Thursday, December 14, 2017

Live for the Moments You Can't Put into Words

I was recently given the opportunity of a lifetime.  I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia and stayed at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta for The National 4-H Congress event.  All expenses were paid by my local 4-H County and I flew on a plane with several other Pennsylvania 4-Hers.  Pennsylvania was represented with a large group of 38 youth from all over the state.  This event included workshops, tours, a dance and a gala, speakers, networking, team building, and it really gives you the chance to step out of your comfort zone and learn a lot about yourself.  I met so many people who I will continue to talk to and create a lifetime bond.  We were there for four days.  On Black Friday, we traveled out and that evening, we had a wonderful motivational speaker.  After that, all delegates met in one room and we all participated in ice breakers.  I met so many people that night and learned so many new ways to "break the ice".   Every night, each state met for a state meeting so we could be prepared for the day after.  We were all dismissed to our rooms after our meetings.  I shared a room with three other girls from Pennsylvania and by the time the event was coming to an end, we were pretty good friends.  

On Saturday, we started with a morning assembly which included our speakers, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, and the Principal of one of the schools we visited later on in the week.  After the morning assembly, each color group (all delegates were divided up into color groups) split up for different workshops.  My group started out at the Speed Meeting workshop.  Here, we were giving a short amount of time to meet with delegates and introduce ourselves.  I learned that I had a lot in common with some people and I even met a few 4-Hers from Maine who I actually later had the chance to hang out with.  We then went to our next workshop called Expanding Horizons.  This was more of a team building exercise and we were divided up into several different groups.  Each person in my group was given a picture puzzle piece and just by using our own descriptions, we had to put this puzzle together and learn how each piece was connected.  By this time, each 4-Her went to lunch and prepared for our afternoon workshops.  For my afternoon workshop, I was selected to go to a service learning training which meant that I would be put with a group of five and we would all learn what we needed to teach to elementary students on Monday.  You see, we were all given different Service Learning activities.  Some 4-Hers cleaned up a park, some cleaned up schools, and some, like my group and I, taught elementary students about the poultry industry.  We were given different supplies and information about poultry and were then dismissed to prepare for the International Dinner and dance that night.  The International Dinner was split up into different parts of the world.  In those parts, there was food that was well known for that area.  For example, Italy had pizza and pasta, that was my favorite.  Throughout the event, different 4-Hers showed their talents.  That night, the Hawaiian delegation Hula danced and explained the different moves.  Then there was a dance and our DJ was younger then me!  He did a great job keeping everyone excited about being there and definitely made it a memorable experience.  

On Sunday morning, I, along with a few other 4-Hers, were selected to meet with The United States Secretary of Agriculture's Deputy and staff so they could speak with us about our futures and the current events in agriculture.  We then met up with out states for the morning assembly.  I cannot explain how honored I was to hear our speaker that morning.  He was a survivor of the Holocaust.  It was amazing to hear him speak about how he had to live and his life after that.  We all were dismissed for our state lunches.  Pennsylvania went to Pitty Pat's Porch for a delicious meal.  We then walked back to the hotel for our afternoon sessions.  I participated in The Coolness of Science and The Power of Service Learning workshops.  Both involved team building and were very informational.  That night, we were split up into our color groups for and evening of culture.  We went to the Atlanta History Center to learn about history in Georgia and we then listened to a comedian and speaker.  We also had the choice for African Dancing or a Blue Grass workshop.  I choose the African Dance which I very much enjoyed.  They had so much energy that just filled the room!  

On Monday, after breakfast, we all split up into our groups for our Service Learning projects.  My group and I met up to teach elementary students about poultry and we were very excited.  Within the class we taught, the students were all very well behaved, listened, and learned.  Their teacher was doing a great job with them and she was also very nice.  We all had a great time with them.  After we had lunch, we went on different tours.  When you apply to go, you can select which tour you would like to go on and I selected Hotlanta.  Our tour guide was super nice and informational!  She showed us different landmarks while we were on our way to The World of Coke.  There, we learned all about the history of Coca-Cola and even tasted different sodas from all around the world.  Did you know that Coca-Cola created the look of Santa?  Speaking of Santa, he went to the Gala that night!  During dinner at the Gala, Christmas music started to play and Santa walked in!  We listened to a few speakers, including Miss America!  After the evening program, there was a dance.  

On Tuesday, we had the closing ceremony where there was a speaker and some entertainment.  We all went our separate ways and traveled back home.  

I will forever be grateful for this opportunity that I had!  I will never forget the memories I made and the things I learned.

After we arrived  

Dinner at the Gala 

We saw a sign, we took a picture

One of the Olympic torches at The World of Coke 

We met the Coca-Cola Polar Bear!

We saw so much at The World of Coke!

Coming home
A quote from the Holocaust survivor and our speaker


The Best Thing About Memories is Living Them

In June this year, my team and I participated in poultry judging at Penn State.  To our surprise, we won and were given the opportunity to compete nationally!  With all expenses paid, we, along with my mom (our coach), Phillip Clauer, Penn State Poultry Specialist and Senior Instructor, and the rest of the Pennsylvania participants for other contests, traveled to Kentucky.  

On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to visit a few Louisville Landmarks including Churchill Downs and the Louisville Slugger Factory. Wednesday night, the entire delegation for the whole National 4-H Poultry Conference met at a bowling alley for a pizza party, trinket exchange, and a few rounds of bowling.  
On Thursday, we competed in the contests. We had to judge three classes of past production hens and for two of the classes, give oral reasons to a panel of two judges. We also had to judge four classes of carcasses in different sizes, interior quality of eggs, exterior quality of eggs, broken out egg quality, and poultry parts. The contest lasted for the entire day and later that evening, we attended the banquet. In production hens and reasons, I was awarded first place and my team placed third, which we did not expect at all! In the carcass class, Alyssa Neff, a member of my team, was awarded first and I was third!  Our team placed first overall! The final category that was announced was the overall top scoring individual for the contest and Alyssa Neff was 19th, Addison Neff, also a team member, was 15th, and I was 1st place! As a team, we placed 2nd overall!  

I cannot even begin to say how thankful I am for this opportunity.  It taught me so much, I met so many people from all around this great nation, and I was able to form a close bond with my team as well!  Thanks to our wonderful coaches, we were prepared to give our all and do well.  I formed so many friendships and I made so many memories that will last a lifetime.  

After we arrived!
Pennsylvania 4-H’ers at national conference, from left: Heidi Wentz, Matthew Eyre, Michael Eyre, Kim Munden, John Riemann, Kimmy Reisinger, Sabrina McClintock, Gregory Martin, Madison Shaw, Andrew Rheam, Alyssa Neff, Addison Neff, Angie Shaw and Phillip C
Our lovely Pennsylvania group

My individual awards

My team and our couches after the banquet

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Good Friends Work Together

Better late then never, right? This American Rabbit Breeders Association nationals was one to remember! This convention is a rabbit show for ARBA members all around the nation to come and show their rabbits. This year, it was held in Indianapolis, Indiana and was from October 1st to October 5th. I had a lot of fun seeing and catching up with everyone I knew. I participated in the youth contests and I showed rabbits. I showed Giant Angoras, English Angoras, one Satin Angora, and one Flemish Giant. I was very excited to show my Flemish Giant, Sandy, since her coat was in molt all summer, but, right before nationals, her coat came into prime condition! I wasn't really sure what to expect, especially when I learned that there where over 100 youth Flemish Giants and 15 in her class alone, but when her class was called up, I watched as the judge was sending one at a time back to their coops and my Sandy was still up there! She placed first in her class and went on to win Best of Variety and Best of Breed! All of the Flemish breeders were so nice and excited for me and my bunny! That night, I had the opportunity to participate in an Escape Room with a few other D9 youth and adults, which was a lot of fun! We did escape the room after finding all of the clues, but we may have been about 20 seconds over our time... 

The next day, the youth Angoras showed. In English Angoras, my Senior does placed third and fourth in their class and received wonderful comments from the judge. Their placing was understandable since they recently turned senior age and they had a rough start resulting from them being raised on goat milk as kits after their mom unfortunately passed, but I am excited to continue showing them.  In Satin Angoras, my Senior doe placed second which was great considering she wasn't in the best show condition that day after beginning to blow her coat from the extreme temperature fluctuations in the weeks leading to convention. Finally, Giant Angoras showed. My senior buck, intermediate buck, junior buck, and junior doe all placed first in their classes and my intermediate buck went on to win Best of Breed and Rachel Penterman won Best Opposite of Breed with her beautiful intermediate doe! In the youth contests, I participated in the Management contest as well as the Achievement contest which are both contests that you send an application in on your achievements in your project as well as the caring and time you put in with your animals. I was the district winner and the national second runner up in the Management Average category and in Achievement, I won in my district and I was the national winner in senior! In breed ID, a contest where you identify the breed, size, and the variety of a rabbit or cavy, my team won third and in team judging, where you judge four classes of rabbits or cavy in 7 minutes, we placed second! I was so excited about everything this week brought!! I can't thank the Indy team enough for putting together a fantastic show. Also, I am so happy to be a part of an organization with such great leaders and role models! Looking forward to the next national convention!
Sandy and all of her awards!

My scarf that I wove won Best Garment in the wool skein and garment contest!

When your rabbit won't stand for a picture...

Sisters show together!

Scooter finally stood still!

Rachel and I with the judge and our rabbits

After Scooter won Best of Breed!

We make a great team!

Scooter on the Best in Show judging table!

And Sandy

A wove and put together a shawl and it placed first in its class


Sandy after she won Best of Breed

Sandy being judged

D-9 at the awards banquet
Achievement awards
Team judging

They are always there to support me!

We love our mom!

The ARBA President, Josh Humphries.  He is always willing to help and spend time and knowledge with youth in this industry. A great role model he is.

The ARBA Executive director, Eric Stewart.  He has taught me so much not only with rabbit and judging, but with my Angora goats as well.  I am very thankful to know him!

And.... photo bombed


Matt was a little tired....

Friday, March 10, 2017

Time is not Measured by Clocks, but by Moments

Sometimes, the greatest things happen when you least expect them.  Luna, my Nubian dairy goat, was due to have her kids, but I didn't think she was going to have them anytime this week.  She bagged up and she was huge, but she still was extremely energetic.  Last year, Luna still had about a month until she was due, but she kidded and her twin bucks that were too young and, sadly, they didn't make it.  So, I was very nervous for this year because I wasn't sure if all was going to go well with her.  I also was very excited to finally have babies from her.

On Tuesday morning, however, Ashley went out to feed her sheep and I was in the kitchen also about to go outside when Ashley came running to the door telling me that I needed to come to the barn.  My mom and I quickly threw our shoes on and ran to the barn.  We heard a cry from a baby goat and we knew Luna had kidded.  Once we were in the barn, we were greeted by Luna and her three kids.  She had triplets!  She had them all on her own without any problems too!  I was very excited by this sight, but now I had to get to work with feeding Luna, who is now half her size, clean her stall, make sure the kids eat, and possibly milk her and bottle feed the kids.  In the morning, she was wonderful with all three of them.  As the day went on, she stopped taking care of the one doe kid, then the buck kid.  This meant that I had to milk her out and bottle feed the two she wouldn't let nurse.  They took the bottle really well and are now drinking a bottle four times a day almost.  They are really healthy and strong now.  Since Luna is named after the moon, I decided to go with a space theme for the kids.  The little buck is Galaxy, the black and white doe is Moonbeam, and the blonde doe is Star.  They are all precious and enjoy playing outside.  I really look forward to seeing them grow.  Now it's time to wait for the Angora goats!

Star has quite the voice!

Moonbeam's first picture

Moonbeam loves being outside


Galaxy is a fan of the camera

Star needed a snack!

Strike a pose, Galaxy!

Star was very tired after playing

Peek-a-Boo was filing a noise complaint... she hardly had the chance to sleep! Silly goats