March 2016
Youth Matters

4-H Extension Corner: Showing Great Skills

 
  Group picture of all Skillathon and Quiz Bowl participants.

Alabama 4-H club members excel at state livestock contest.

Senior 4-H Club members from Cherokee County recently took home top honors at the Alabama 4-H Skillathon and Quiz Bowl event held at the 4-H Youth and Development Center in Columbiana. Eason Reece, Wesley Rogers, James Isaac Rogers and Autumn Daniell comprised the Cherokee County Skillathon team. They will represent Alabama at the national contest later this year at the International Livestock Expo in Louisville, Ky.

Cherokee County Quiz Bowl team members Taylor Parker, Eason Reece, James Issac Rogers and Wesley Rogers will represent Alabama at the ARKSARBEN Stock Show in Omaha, Neb.

 
Senior 4-H club members from Cherokee County won first place at the Alabama 4-H Skillathon and Quiz Bowl. The Skillathon team members are (from left) Eason Reece, Wesley Rogers, James Isaac Rogers and Autumn Daniell with Richard Meadows, vice president of Alabama Cattlemen’s Association.  
   

"We are incredibly proud of our senior teams and what they accomplished at this year’s contest," said Danny Miller, Cherokee County coordinator for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. "It has been exciting to watch them develop their skills and knowledge through 4-H programs over the years. Each of these young people began their involvement in a county 4-H Home Livestock Project. These team members have stepped up and taken advantage of some of the very best that 4-H has to offer."

Cherokee County 4-H Foundation Agent Mirandi Watson echoed Miller’s sentiments.

"The teams worked very hard and it paid off for them," Watson said. "I hope this will inspire more youth to get involved in 4-H as well."

 
  Senior 4-H Club members from Cherokee County won first place at the Alabama 4-H Skillathon and Quiz Bowl. Richard Meadows, vice president of Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, with the Quiz Bowl team members (from left): Taylor Parker, Eason Reece, James Isaac Rogers and Wesley Rogers.

In addition to senior level competition, there were also junior and intermediate levels. A Pickens County team won the intermediate Skillathon division, while a combined team from Cherokee, Clay and Jackson counties won the intermediate Quiz Bowl. Choctaw County’s Junior Quiz Bowl team won first place and Pickens County’s Junior Skillathon team took top honors in their division.

Jason P’Pool, an Extension specialist for 4-H Youth Animal Science programs, said the Skillathon contest teaches participants the fundamentals of the livestock industry.

"Youth study a wide range of material on the production and management of beef cattle, meat goats, sheep and hogs," said P’Pool. "The event has elements where team members must work individually and also work collectively as a team."

Dr. Lisa Kriese-Anderson, an Extension animal scientist who serves as the Quiz Bowl coordinator, said competition is always fierce.

"In addition to learning a wide range of livestock information to prepare, Quiz Bowl team members develop decision-making, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills," Kriese-Anderson said.

Now in its second year, the Alabama 4-H Skillathon and Quiz Bowl event is steadily expanding with increased participation of individuals and counties. About 75 young people representing more than 10 counties participated in the 2.5 day event.

"Participation at the county level is open to any young person willing to commit the time and effort to learn the material," said Landon Marks, an Extension regional animal science agent.

"You don’t have to own any animals to be on the team. You have to be willing to work and study hard. That’s the key to success in both these contests," Marks added.

Dr. Molly Gregg, Extension assistant director for 4-H, said contests that open the world of agriculture to young people from towns and cities are important.

"Programs and contests that do not require actual animal ownership are an excellent way to expose children, teens and their parents to farming and help them understand where their food comes from," Gregg said. "In addition, these programs teach important life skills young people will be able to use their entire lives."

Both P’Pool and Marks noted that 4-H’s rapidly growing Chick Chain program seems to be a natural feeder for both contests. Marks said many of the junior and intermediate team participants have prior experience with 4-H Chick Chain programs in their counties.

If you are interested in getting involved in the 4-H Skillathon and Quiz Bowl event, contact your county Extension office or visit Alabama Extension at www.aces.edu/4-H-youth/AL4-H/.

Jason Miller is a student writer for the News and Public Affairs of Extension Communications and Marketing.