Gaining Experiences as a 4-H Intern

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Hey, I’m Zoe, a summer intern with N.C. Cooperative Extension. I’m a Greensboro native and a rising sophomore at NC State University, but this summer I’m stationed in the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Caldwell County Center.

Zoe intern pic

If you had told me a year ago that I would eat my first steak, ride my first horse and judge my first presentation, I’d think you were crazy. This is because a year ago I was:

  1. a vegetarian (not anymore, I missed meat too much),
  1. told to never get near a horse, and I always do what I am told (well almost always),
  1. and am not good at giving criticism. My one and only reply when someone asks me to proofread something is “looks good” even when it doesn’t look good.

However, after starting this internship I’ve been given so many firsts such as writing this article, another thing I never thought I’d do. I’d like to share my thoughts and feelings as I experienced these “firsts”.

Let’s start with how I ate my first steak. It was the 4-H Grill Skills camp, where youth learn grill safety and the art of grilling. They grilled their own delicious burgers and got to taste different cuts of steak. That’s when chef Danny Bock gave me a piece of steak to try. I was a bit hesitant at first, but after taking my first bite, I wanted more and more and more. So, I ate a lot of steak, like the new york strip and…. I forgot the names of the rest but that just goes to show how good the steaks were. I got to try steak that was medium rare and then rare. The rare one scared me the most because it looked like the least appetizing but once I ate it, it was probably my favorite one. After that experience I now know why so many people love steak and I may become one of them.

cows standing

“ After eating delicious burgers, the campers went on a walk to see the Shipley Farm Cows.”

Then came 4-H Horsemanship Camp, a camp where kids get to interact with horses by washing them, braiding their tails, feeding them and so much more. After training, the kids eventually get to ride the horse and show their parents their new skills. Even though I wasn’t a camper, Lisa (the instructor and 4-H Club leader) gave me the honor of riding Cash Money. Cash Money is now my favorite horse ever.

horse standing

“No pictures of me riding him but I got this fancy shot of him”

The day prior I went to Horsemanship Camp to take pictures and it was the first time I ever got so close to a horse. So, the next day when I finally got a chance to ride, I didn’t feel as nervous. Cash Money seemed like a pretty calm horse, so with the help of Lisa, I got on and took him for a spin. What seemed the coolest to me, was how Cash Money knew exactly where I wanted to go. All I had to do was just lean in the direction I wanted to go and he would go. If I told him “big step” then he took a big step. It’s amazing how people can train such a big animal and even more amazing how they can make horses trust people. This is another experience I’d definitely do again. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’ve become a “horse girl”, but I’m starting to get why they like horses!

Most recently was 4-H District Activity Day (DAD). This is a day where 4-H youth, ranging in age from 5-18, give a presentation on a topic they are passionate about.Volunteer judges then give helpful feedback and score their overall performance. Participants earn awards based on their performance. I had the opportunity to judge poultry presentations.The poultry presentation I judged was on Marek’s disease in chickens. Although I absolutely do not like chickens, the presenter got me interested and informed me a lot. I got the chance to provide helpful feedback and used all my efforts to avoid writing “looks good”.

Caldwell County 4-H serves youth in the community and provides them fun and exciting opportunities to learn new things. Even though I am not a 4-H youth, just by helping with the program I have grown and have had new experiences. So I give special thanks to all the volunteers that donate their time with 4-H. They make a difference in the lives of 4-H youth and all that engage with 4-H.

That’s it for right now so, why don’t you try to do something new today? I promise you won’t regret it! Go Wolfpack!