I took my first dressage lesson when I was 18 years old. This was eight years after buying my first pony “Stormy” for $35 when I was 10. There was a little issue with my parents when the pony arrived unexpected, but I will be forever grateful for my brother who helped me withdraw the money from my savings account to buy him. The unexpected arrival of the pony in our backyard is still something of family lore, but I do think it was the moment that my parents realized I was SERIOUS about this riding thing.

I took my latest dressage lesson a week ago Friday, wedged between two out of state trips. Part of me thought, “oh, why do you want to add this to everything you have on your plate right now?” But the bigger part of me said “you are making so much progress all of a sudden, it is worth the effort.” So I loaded up Little Scholar (yup that is really his name) on a Friday night and drove 47 miles Continue reading

I live in a neighborhood full of young families and children, which has come in handy whenever I have some chores that need to be done. I am getting so well known for my “chores” that more than one random kid has come by just to see if I had anything that he or she could do. Last summer I hired the neighbor boy to paint our fence. We agreed on the price, and that he would start work every morning at the same time and paint two sections each day. He was just barely in middle school, and had never worked, let alone painted before, so I knew I would have to work with him to teach him how to do a good job. He was excited about the money (which I paid him at the end of each week), but less excited to get up and start painting before 8 in the morning. Continue reading

Y’all need these in your teaching kit!

Practitioner Tip Tuesday

By Guest Blogger Kristen Moore, 4-H Companion Animal Programs, Portland Metro Region

Brightly colored sticky notes. They are my go-to answer for most things in my life: grocery lists, house chores, gentle reminders to my husband. Sticky notes create a physical connection to the important things, be it large or small. And they were my go-to answer when I introduced the 4-H Thriving Model to a room full of teachers and parents.

Portland 4-H is focusing on delivering a comprehensive school based 4-H program that engages students in every grade level with hands-on learning. For most of the teachers at Continue reading

Hello Friday!

My apologies for being a day late on my regular blog post. But, I have a great excuse! I was out and about the country this week talking about the 4-H Thriving Model, trying to raise support for the development of a training curriculum on the model for 4-H staff. I am hopeful my travels will bear fruit – but we will have to stay tuned for more.

As always, however, my thinking about the 4-H Thriving Model was front and center as I traveled, especially as my plane pulled in early to Salt Lake City late on Continue reading

4-H Member Claire and her 4-H leader leading a session called “I don’t mean to be rude, but you look like a dude” at the Idaho State Contest.

Practitioner Tip Tuesday

By Guest Blogger Claire Sponseller, 4-H Educator

Umatilla County, Oregon

I have thoroughly been enjoying Mary’s blogs as they are driving me to think more on what we as professionals can do to see 4-H youth thrive. So on that note, I’ll throw caution to the wind and hope to aid more thought on a thriving Oregon 4-H.

I, too, was a product of 4-H in Ada County, Idaho and had a pretty special relationship with my 4-H leaders and fellow club members. I started in 4-H because I was asked, which seems how most things still happen in 4-H. I dabbled in a little bit of everything, from livestock projects to youth leadership, but I keep landing back on: “What made my 4-H career a professional career?” It was those youth-adult partnerships and the comradery with my peers. Those same peers and leaders were at my wedding 20 some years later. They became my extended family, supporting me through college and guiding me to Extension and where I am now. Continue reading