Hello everyone! I’m Alyson Yates, and this summer I’ve had the pleasure of working with 4-H and agricultural Extension in Lake County for a second year. My internship concluded last week with the 103rd Lake County Fair and Roundup.
After preparing for several weeks, my county fair week began with static 4-H exhibits. This year, our Lake County 4-H members entered projects in a large variety of areas, including floriculture, Legos, fused glass, photography, fiber arts, food preservation and more. I assisted as a clerk and got hands-on experience with check-in, interviews, judging, state fair qualifications and final set-up processes.
I had a few different objectives throughout county fair week, both within my internship and through my volunteer position as a 4-H leader. One of my goals was to photograph all of our 4-H livestock shows for use in future publications and media. This was a continuation of the work I did last year, which I greatly enjoyed as it incorporated my love of photography into Extension. I covered shows for 10 different species this year, from swine to dairy cattle and everything in between. I am very happy with the photos I captured, and I am excited to see them used in future media!
One of the challenges that we were faced with this year was Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as avian flu, in the state of Oregon. We had several poultry 4-H members in our county, and in order to maintain good biosecurity, non-market animals were not allowed at our county fair. To allow our poultry 4-H members to still show their knowledge and skills, we used stuffed “dummy birds” and a knowledge test for poultry showmanship. I worked closely alongside our small animal judge to coordinate this effort. Also, with the threat of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHDV2) in the region, we worked hard to sanitize all contacted surfaces and keep visitors from touching the animals. As an Extension intern and county fair small animal superintendent, this was one of my top priorities during fair week.
My final area of focus was preparing our annual 4-H Recognition Ceremony. This year we had six fantastic youth speakers who worked as our emcees, and one of my responsibilities was to help them create their scripts and practice their speaking roles.
Additionally, I have spent the last month assisting with the re-installment of the Lake County Ambassador program, and it was an honor to welcome four youth leaders to the team at this event. Outside of my internship work, I also had a fantastic time judging meat goats in our Round Robin Showmanship competition.
Looking back at everything I did with Extension this summer it is hard for me to believe that my internship has come to an end. I want to extend my thanks to all of the Lake County staff that I’ve worked with, who have given me so many valuable opportunities to learn and grow in Extension and beyond. I am so grateful for the time I’ve spent working in Lake County, and I am confident that I will carry what I have learned into my future endeavors in Extension programming.