Michigan 4-H Volunteer Webinar Series: Preparing 4-Hers For Fairs & Showcases

May 29, 2024

As summer approaches, youth have many opportunities to showcase their skills and knowledge. 4-H volunteers are important in helping youth develop their interview skills, public speaking, presentation, and leadership skills as they participate in various events and activities. Watch this video to hear about some opportunities and techniques to prepare 4-Hers for fairs and showcase events.

Video Transcript

All right. I'd like to welcome today to the Michigan four H volunteer Webinar. I'm preparing youth for fairs and showcases. I am Christine Heavey. I'm an extension educator. I use the pronoun She her hers and based in Clayton County, and I have a role on our volunteer team around training and supporting volunteers across the state of Michigan, and I will let my co presenter, Lori give a quick introduction. Hi, everyone. I'm Lori Riveto. I'm also an educator with MSU Extension in four H. I am based in Wayne County just outside Detroit, and I'm on a work team that really gets to help young people prepare for the future. So some of those interviewing, resume, money management type skills, which comes in handy when preparing for fairs and showcases. So we'll get to chat about that today. And thanks for joining my pronouns Archie her and hers. Janelle. Good afternoon, everyone. I am Janelle Stewart, and my pronouns are she her and hers, and I am located in Leno County. And I am also an educator with a split role of 50% of my time on leadership civic cultural engagement. The other part of my time is spent as program coordinator in Lenoy County. And then my third time is being a fair four H Fair Leason relationship building. So across the state. So excited for everyone to be here. One of my favorite topics is getting youth ready for fairs and showcases. So we're super excited for you all to be here today, and we look forward to some engagement with you over the next 40 minutes. So, MSU extension believes fully in the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We know that human differences enrich our lives work and community. We embrace our responsibility to be a resource for all and are committed to providing programs to all segments of our community. It's also important to understand the longstanding history and legacy of colonialism that has brought us all to reside on the land and seek to understand our place within that history. And the land acknowledgment on the screen is one step in that process. Laura has put into the chat a quick demographic survey. If if everyone could please take a moment to complete this. If you are an MSU extension employee doing this as an employee, please don't complete it, but if you're doing this in your volunteer capacity, you can complete it. So we'll give you guys a moment to complete that. So, this is part of our series of webinars that we've been doing for the last year and a half related to different topics to help volunteers in their roles. We have another one coming up in the month of May on the 22nd. It's managing risks for volunteers. And then we will have additional topics that are this fall. Those will be shared within the next month or so. And then we have a variety of recordings for the ones I've taken place previously, and you can watch those recordings on the website that Lori has put, and you can register also for any of the ones the one that's coming up or watch for the next ones that are coming up. So, we are glad to have you join us today. We're going to cover some important ideas and some activities to help prepare youth for fairs and showcases. We also have a space at the end for conversation and idea sharing. There's a lot of experience in this gym room today, and we want to be able to hear your ideas also. So, let's get started with an ice baker to get to know each other. So I want you to think about sharing one to two words of what you gain from participating in fairs and showcases and expositions. So think about what some words are and type those in the chat. What's the one to two words of what you gain from participating in fairs, showcases and expositions. Confidence, friends, Leadership, Knowledge, more confidence. Ole setting, public speaking skills, public speaking with judges. Awesome. Persistence, friend making, interviewing, interviewing, entrepreneurship. Awesome. Great ideas, everyone. Those are all things that youth gain through participating in fairs, showcase expositions, time management. And no matter what projects or activities they choose to participate in, these are things that they can gain in those. So FH we get the opportunity to work with youth in many non formal settings. Fair showcases, and expositions is one of those settings. These spaces can provide youth a place to belong, matter, and explore their personal spark. The relationships youth have with each other have with each other, And as with forage staff and volunteers, helps build those skills, the development, engagement, and belonging that makes forage programs impactful, helps gain those different skills you have. And it's super important that we find those ways to help you thrive. We want to find those sparks. We want to give them that belonging, we want them to have relationships, and that leads to engagement. And that's where we help to build those time management, those interviewing, those confidence, those leadership skills, all through those experiences that we're giving you. Sparks are those internal strengths in someone that are good, useful, and provide purpose in life. In some cases, fairs and showcases allow youth to share this spark with others. It's also a chance to demonstrate or present something that gives them joy and gives them energy. It can be a chance for their spark to shine brighter. Helping young people prepare for that space is important so that their sparks grow and doesn't dmnish Fairs and showcases are a great opportunity for youth to showcase Spark, explore options or what they might have as a spark, and for leaders to call out things that could be a spark so that they can start to think about it. As your role as a volunteer, you should be really paying attention to what you are doing, what gets them excited, help them recognize those and call them out and give them kudos for those pieces or say, Hey, you did such a great job helping Johnny with his showmanship practice or Oh, you did a great job talking to the judge about your photography project. I could tell you're really passionate about that. Giving them those callouts helps them see what they're good at and might help them find their sparks even more. So, one of the areas that I really get excited about is the opportunity for having youth voice and youth leadership in during shows or during fairs. So we aim and four H to have our youth actively engaged in their own learning process. It's one of our guiding principles. It's also what we find out when young people are looking for their Spark is that when they have a voice or when they have the opportunity to be engaged in actually making decisions in their roles in that. So Having a young person can choose what they want to show, what projects they want to give is just one way that they can have a choice in their youth or their growth and development and fairs. In for H, we also like to listen and value the opinion of the young people. So there's a lot of things moving into fair where we can actually get the voice, get the opportunity, to ask young people what we would like. Provide that space where we as adults can step back and allow them to take the leadership opportunities. The ability of the share the work with others and receive back for improvement allows young people to actively and be involved in their own development in areas that matter to them. Giving them a youth the opportunity to take meaningful roles during Fairwek. Yes, giving their projects judge, having an opportunity to talk and sit down with a judge and have that opportunity to get feedback. But more importantly, how are we looking at the roles and responsibilities that we do as an adult and how we bring along those young people next to us in order for them to have active roles. So we have several news articles. I think one of them is going to drop it in our chat box. But yeah, thank you, Lori. There's many different ways that we can look at having young people take active roles, like clerking our shows, being the ones that are handing out the ribbons versus all being adults, having them announce at our auctions, having the young people, be upfront so that they are showcasing, introducing the judges in our livestock shows. So there are many different ideas, and these articles will just explore a few of those ideas on how we can have young people be seen in a leadership role, having their voice heard and be an active part in the fairs and fair opportunities that we provide for them. Sorry, next thing here, we're going to talk about building success from the start. So it's super important as we're getting ready to get to fair, not just when we get the fair that's one thing, but how do we get to the fair? How are we helping them to build success for this? So we're going to take this approach by looking at the who what, where, when, and how we are going to get them to our fair. So trying to get it to click? Okay. So the whoo. So when we really start about this, who? When we think about those fairs and showcases events, we have to think about who? What are the who requirements at that event? Are there age requirements on different project areas or skill sets or just just that whole age piece? Is there a residency requirement for people? Do they have to live within a certain county or go to school within that county or those pieces? Those are really important things. Those two right there to make sure you understand what the rules are on who can do it. And then also, is there a requirement if they're a four H enrollment. Do they have to be enrolled in four H or not to participate in it, and is there a set deadline by that time? So really knowing who is the requirement piece for that and having the understanding. And that varies by each fair showcase or event. So you have to look at each one individually, determine what those pieces would be. So what is the what? What are the requirements for the project area deadlines, such as tagging. Is there a tagging? Is there not a tagging? Do you provide pictures of the projects beforehand? What are the registration deadlines? What are the display requirements? The size limit, if there is a size limit on a display, what other things are needed? For example, I remember a young person in our county who Her biggest learning lesson she is in her late 20s now, I will tell you that she forgot to put the index card with her cooking project for her recipe. And the judge said you would have been extra special honors if you had completed the project. She was like, Oh, my word, you know? So just those little details on what's needed, index cards, recipe cards. What is the display size? What's the poster board size? Making sure that we as leaders are working with our young people for them to be successful and knowing what are those requirements. For where we're going to look at some components about registration as well, right? Where do we submit it? Where do we send it? How do we handle that process? And the we also can include, where do we go to check in or drop off projects. And all of these questions, I like to think about the fact that sometimes when we're involved in anything for any length of time, we just know it, right? And it's just we just understand how to do it and know that you need to go to this place to see this person, to drop it off, and they're going to be there from this time. But having all these details and sharing them with the families and the youth can help them have that success from the start. So where do they have to go? And what time? So So I'll change it over to Christine, I think for more on the win. The win. This is a super important one. It's like, when are the things? When is the tagging deadline? When when do they have to be tagged by? When do they have to have their entries entered by online or on paper or dropped off? When are those due? When is the pick? When is the check in time? What time do they bring in those things to showcase off? What is that time frame? When is the pick up or hall out time. When do they pick up that project after the fair showcase, and when is the hall out time, when does it leave and making sure that they're fully aware of these because there can be consequences if you miss it from the start, you might not even get to exhibit their project. And then if you aren't there at the pickup time or hall out time or want to take something early, that could have consequences on participation for future years. So really understanding when are those things and having those dates. And again, as Laurie said before, we might know these because we've been doing it for a while. But when we have new families, or things could change. We really want to make sure we're communicating these to you and helping them understand what they are too, because they're incredibly important. I'm going to do. I'm going to do the how. And so I'm just going to continue to reiterate the theme because I remember that when my children, so I have been working here for several years when my children became a aged show and they took poultry for the first time, and that was not a project area that I did as a young person, but it was a project area I worked with directly for many years prior to, and it was the most overwhelming experience as a parent who works for the system that was like, Oh, my words. So just as we said before, making sure that we are always looking at this from the very first year exhibit. And now, if your club is very experienced, then no one is changing and everyone's taken projects that they've always taken. That's one thing. But I think usually we always have someone who is chaking on something new that we need to start back and remember what a first year exhibitor looks like, no matter how long they've been in your club or your for each program. So with the how, how do you check in? How do you get into the fare? What's the route? What how do you drive which gate in order to get into the location? Where do you park at? How do you drop off your project area? How do you get judged, depending on what type of fare you have face to face judging or if you have drop off judging? Where's your parking? Where's your unloading? So how you do all of these things and remembering that every year, this may be feel redundant, especially for our very experienced and long time committed leaders. But know and remember that each year, we have new exhibitors participating, and it's important that we help them be successful so that they don't start their fair week of extremely stressed. So So record books. We are going to have some resources that we're going to be e mailing out, and I'm going to put a bunch in the chat right now on record books. But record books can be a fantastic part of lots of fat and showcases, but also can be kind of stressful for families and youth. And so I just want to acknowledge that the that component of it. And the best way to kind of help through that is to emphasize the why. Talk about the why of how records are part of our lives, right? So all of us have records that we have to keep track of in our lives. We have insurance, we have taxes, we have property, we have finances, and all of those things require keeping track, right? And that's essentially what a record book is is keeping track of this project that we have been involved in and Keeping records of our experience, of what it costs, of what the process has been for us. And it also provides a lot of benefits. So when we think about any of those records that we mentioned that we keep now personally, it really helps us for the future. So it helps us with setting new goals. It helps us with making decisions. It helps us with planning. And it can also help us with reflecting on what we've experienced, looking at things that we can improve or change and using it to inform others of what we did. So record have been great part of some of the fairs that I've gone to because they can show, for instance, if an animal is being sold or a still project is being sold, it can show the process of creation, what that project costs and help give a better starting price point than without having all of that information to go on. Also, the record book can be really helpful with awards and portfolios, scholarships for college or getting a scholarship for any type of event. Because again, you get to talk about the actual process and what went into it, as opposed to just having this final product without reflecting on the journey that got you to where you are. So it also really helps to give tips. Similarly, we were talking about the who what, where, when, how, spend some time at meetings, going over tips for success, working on them together. Some of the tips are things like keeping everything in one place, keeping a diary or a journal or a calendar where write down notes, and then you can reflect on the year what went well, what did not, what you would do differently. It really helps to get feedback from others, and you as a leader can provide some of that feedback on the progress on how that book is going. Working on them together or spending a portion of time at meetings also allows everyone to help each other and allows you as a leader to provide some of that feedback. And of course, take pictures. So this can be a really fun way to document experience and skills. It doesn't have to be a negative experience, and it can really be building those skills that all of you talked about earlier. So there are a couple of fillable record books that we shared in the chat as well for animal science and then just a personal record book, so these can be guidelines to support you in this process of creating record books with your group. So I'd like to talk a little bit about in person judging, too, because, again, some of you mentioned this as an opportunity for public speaking skills development. And there's a lot of skills that can come into it. But if you look at this picture on the screen, what do you think this youth might be feeling as they're going through in person judging? Or what kind of emotions or feelings have you known young people to experience with in person judging? Scared, not prepared. Yes. On the spot. Nervous. Yeah, nervous. Yes, that freezing experience, Debbie mentioned on the spot, but you can't explain their project well, even though their project. Similar, we experienced that with interviews, right? We're being asked to talk about ourselves, something that, in essence, we should know pretty well because we spent so much time with ourselves, but it ends up being hard. Like we end up freezing and kind of struggling to answer some basic questions. Yeah, she looks freaked out, veers off topic. Yep. It can, for sure. So let's look at a couple of ways that we can help our young people be more prepared or feel more prepared. So maybe they don't have some of these uncomfortable feelings or they aren't as strong, right? So a large part of that, of course, is helping young people prepare. So spending time asking them questions about their project so that they know information about their project, which again, seems kind of counterintuitive. Like, that's their project. That's what they're doing, and they should know it. But when we don't think about explaining about our own experiences or talking about the things in our life, it can be really hard to do that in a different setting. We're not prepared for that situation. So Okay. As young people are working on their project, ask them about it. Help remind them on some of the important points that they might want to talk about and ask questions throughout the whole time that you're getting together, the questions that might come up during judging. You can explore some of the common questions, and we're going to dig into the common questions a little bit more in just a second. But explore some of the common questions with youth individually or as a group. Youth can actually write out their responses. This is a really helpful technique, which helps them take the thoughts that are in their brain, you write them down and sort of have that physical connection to the words and ideas. Which will allow them to find it a little bit easier when they're in that space of actually verbally responding. You can have them practice with each other or other adult leaders. So mock interview practice or mock judging can take place at some of your meetings or events. And then, of course, provide feedback and not just praise, but the encouragement concept. So with encouragement, you're being specific, descriptive and focused. So you're thinking about the things that they can control, their process, their choices. So giving that praise for the fact that they maybe pause before they gave a response or that they gave details or that they shared a personal story. Those would be things that you can be encouraged, not just just saying great job on your interview or Great job with your answer because that doesn't give that specific descriptive feedback. And it's always good to ask open edded questions. That's how this process will be for them, and it's great to have those open edded questions without a yes or no response as part of the discussion you're having with young people throughout their projects. So let's talk about some of those common questions. What questions do you like to ask youth when having them share about their projects? Go ahead and put those in the chat. What are some questions, open ended questions that you like to ask or that a in person judge might ask. Oh, how long have you been doing this project? What was your favorite part of completing this project? What did you learn about your project that you didn't know before? What can you tell me about your project? What was your favorite part? What is the toughest part of your project? Oh, how old is your animal in the proper term for a male and female? Good. And we might have additional ones. I like the fact we talked about things we liked, things we didn't, what went well. So what is something that you did this year that was successful? That could be another look. Oh, good. What would you do different this year versus what did you do different this year versus last year? And what might you do differently next year? That would be a next follow up on this. What is the most important thing in their diet and why? Anything you did not like about the project, ideas to improve your project. Why did you choose it? Oh, John, Awesome. You asked that one as well, the one I said, Yeah, what might you do differently next year? So we're kind of talking about the progression, too. Last year, this year, next year, why did you choose this particular project? Yeah. So these are great. And these are good ones to ask throughout the year and to use as practice with young people, even better see if they can come up with some questions that they would use to ask each other about projects. So that they're building the skills on seeing it on both sides, right? As being the in person judge themselves and also being the person who's being evaluated. So they see both sides to it. Sometimes when we have that experience of being able to be on the other side, it gives us a better understanding of what that experience is like. It makes it less scary and also helps them understand what a judge might be looking for. And did you meet your goals too? Good. These are great questions. And we will make sure the follow up e mail includes all the questions that you will share, plus questions that get shared in the evening session too. Perfect. I love that, Christine. Thank you. So, you win, you lose. Winning is not everything. We're going to talk about sportsmanship here. Good sportsmanship is important. It's also one of our responsibilities as a leader is to help our young people learn how to win. As well as lose graciously. And I don't know. Sometimes I think that it's harder to teach young people how to win graciously than it is to lose graciously, but we spend so much time focusing on losing graciously. So one of the things that we can do is to role model what it looks like to win graciously and lose graciously and interact with young people who are having success, as well as interacting with young people who may be disappointed in how things went for them at the fair this year. So there's a lot of great activities and messages on the Michigan Forage competitive event resource webpage, including information on Michigan Forage Animal Science Sportsmanship Award typically do in the fall. So we have resurrected here in Michigan the young persons Sportsmanship Award, and it's an application process. It's not very difficult. It's something real basic that you can fill out that you would like to recognize a young person that maybe had a difficult time or had an experience that wasn't as positive as they had hoped, but they handled it graciously, or they won graciously, as well, and maybe they're helping other people. So So it's important for us to help do that. So role modeling that behavior, how do you think that if you want to put it in the chat, how do you think that we can role model winning and losing graciously for our young? Congratulating the winners. Absolutely. What are some other things that we can do that shows graciously winning or graciously losing and how it looks in sportsmanship. Congratulate everyone. Yes, Gene, shaking hands. Giving examples of a day you lost and what you learned and what you changed to do better next year. Great idea, Jenny. Absolutely, showing that going up and asking to take a photo with the winner. Love that one. Compliment on things that they did well, absolutely. As well as then offer the opportunity of things that they can do to improve on is we're always learning and growing here. So, kinds all situation, considering our feelings, emotional intelligence. Thanks. Great ideas. So these are all things that we can do, as well as the possibility of using the signage that we've dropped in the chat here already regarding the sportsmanship messages that we can put out there for everyone. I'd also encourage you if you see someone who is not winning graciously or losing graciously, that we can have side conversations with them to suggest how that they can go and support a young person who maybe didn't have the success or how a young person could support a person who is winning because I can tell you it's lonely at both ends. My daughter told me her happiest times that Farris was the year she did not win. Because she was just able to be herself and have fun versus concentrating on the fact that she did win and what people were saying and things like that. So it should be a good feeling, no matter what, but how do we get those young people to feel good about themselves? And as I said, graciously win and graciously lose. So always thinking about that. And I think it's also important that we talk about that going into Fair week instead of waiting. For fair to happen and have those experiences. So if you're going into your meeting before, fair week can be a concentration or an effort to talk about this, I think that it sets everyone up for a positive experience for their week. So, as Lori talked about already, I'm just going to touch on this real quickly is the opportunity to practice. So those meetings prior to fair week offer an opportunity for the young people to have a judging experience, recruit those gold level volunteers that we have in our four H club to sit down and do a face to face interview with the young person. So we prepare them for that public speaking appearance during fair week, that opportunity for them to be confident and comfortable when talking with a judge during the fair. And so, having those practice sessions, we like to call them pop sickles and practice. And at your club meetings prior to getting the fair makes those young people feel a little bit more confident. There's also the youth Business guide to success. This book has sample questions, sample interviews, communication, things like that, that can help you with those, as well as you will get this recording or the suggested list that you already gave that we're all outstanding that you can put together for those leaders to sit down and have a conversation with the young people. This book, also Youth Business guy success will help you with record keeping. Buyer letters, all of those wonderful things that we all do prior to Fair in order for them to be going into fair with a success. And then we'd also like to give you an opportunity here. We're going to switch gears on you a little bit. A different type of fair experience that we hope everyone will think about. So Michigan State Fair is held over Labor Day weekend in Nova. We do realize across the state that this is not always an opportunity for young people to travel to that location in order for them to have an experience at a state level. So during COVID, we offered what we call the Michigan State Fair four H and youth virtual showcase and we continue this because it's a relationship that the State Fair has felt that has been positive for youth all around the state. So we would like to give you the opportunity to know about this, as well as promote it in your four H clubs and with your young people. But the virtual showcase is an opportunity for young people to upload photos of their projects and or upload videos of their livestock projects in a showmanship setting. And so it may does not have to be in a ring. It can be a created showmanship setting from your at their home. But they all they do is upload the pictures or upload the videos. We have judges that evaluate these photos in these videos and give helpful and encouraging feedback and opportunity for the young people to learn and truly grow from the experience as far as the feedback that they get from our judges that do the virtual showcase. An outcome of all of this is there's an opportunity for them to be recognized. We do do videos or if you approve, obviously, if everything that we do, we are looking for young people their parents to give approval that we can showcase these pictures and videos. But we do do that during the actual state fair. And when they upload these videos and pictures, they have an opportunity to apply for scholarship. So during with a partnership with the Michigan State Fair, we have up to $10,000 that young people can win for higher education does not mean to have to be at a college, but it is advanced education, post post higher education outside of high school. And so these scholarships are offered every single year to participants who participate in the four H youth virtual showcase. So the links are there? We have not uploaded the new hierarchy for this year or I should say the registration, we're waiting for the state fair to get theirs around as well to open up, but we will send out messages through for each online to everyone when the Michigan State Fair, for each org and Youth virtual Showcase opens up. I'd also like to encourage for those who can travel to by to attend the State Fair to do that, as well. But this meanwhile is another opportunity. Is there a PEP division Janel in the State Fair? A PEP division. Yeah. D d do. You know, I will have to look. But if there's not, if there's interest, absolutely, we can add it. That is the beauty of this showcase is that if there's interest, then we can add it because the state fair is very interested and our young people have an experience and a great opportunity. So if there's an interest out there, definitely, we can add a PEP division, so great idea. So And there is no cost to enter. I will say that, as well as you can use your current projects that you are using in other fairs. So Christine Pep is proud of question program. So it is for young people with different abilities, riding horseback and an opportunity for them to showcase their skills. It would be a great idea. So thanks for that. And I saw there was a comment about the cost of the Youth Business Guides success book. A lot of county staff people also have that. You could work with them about if there's particular pages you want copies of for youth to utilize, you can probably work with them to have those done more easily. Or it could be bought as just the leaders utilized within the whole club to guide those experiences through that. But we are now to the point of today's presentation where we want to hear from all of your ideas because your experts with your experiences and your county programs and your four H clubs. So, what have you done that helps prepare youth for their fair and showcase experiences or what challenges and questions might you have? What I am going to do is I'm going to stop the chat so that this can be more of an open discussion. Not the chat. Stop the recordings. This can be more of an open discussion.