West Virginia University
24 Jul

An incredible week at Alpha II

Meredith | July 24th, 2008

Hey everyone! It’s Meredith. I hope everyone has been enjoying reading all the blogs people have written about their incredible 4-H experiences. Sadly summer is quickly coming to an end, but I’m writing today to tell you all a little about one more of our state 4-H camps, Alpha II.

Alpha II is held at Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County and is for 4-Hers going into 5th grade up to the age of 21. The theme of Alpha this year was medieval so every day was planned to fit to the theme and our song even talked about ruling the kingdom.

There are many traditions that are unique to Alpha that are the highlight of many people’s week there. One of these activities is LEOs. LEOs stand for Leisure Educational Opportunities. They are your chance to choose from a long list of activities that fit every kind of personality. In other words, those of you who love sports can show your skills on the field, on the court, or in the sand. Those of you creative crafty styles can create anything you set your mind to. We are lucky enough to have a creativity lab a.k.a. “craft heaven”. You can find almost anything in order to make anything from a cute ankle bracelet to a tie dye t-shirt.

Another favorite of Alpha II are “grow groups.” At the beginning of the week, they separate the entire camp into all the different age groups and then those groups split into even smaller groups of about 10 to 15 people. You spend a good amount of your time with this group, learning about each other, playing games, and having discussion. This is a great place to make lifelong friends and also many peoples’ motivation to come back to camp year, for those few special people in their grow groups. I mean who else is going to understand you or relate to you any better than boys and girls your own age? You are going through the same times and you simply just get each other.

Alpha II is a chance to discover who you are, to step outside of your comfort zone, and live your life. Don’t ever pass up a chance to be you. I encourage all of you who do go to camp to keep coming back until you age out and then send in your information to be on staff. Those of you who are yet to experience 4-H camp, it’s never too late. Send in your registration next summer and I’ll see you there. I promise it will be the best week of your life.

14 Jul

Our new 4-H friends from up North

Catherine | July 14th, 2008

Catching fireflies, biking, and making semores-I know it sounds like I have drifted back to my childhood. The truth is last week, five Canandians from Alberta spent the week in Morgantown, WV with our family and two other 4-H families and so we spent some time catching fireflies, biking and eating the usually forbidden semores. Nine exchange students and two chaperones arrived from Canada last Monday. On their first night here, they discovered fireflies and finally they said that they understood the Huck Finn concept of the glowing jar with a stick.

We had such fun with these folks from up North exploring our town and state. Five of them stayed in Morgantown for the week and six visited in Morgan, Roane, Preston and Doddridge counties. This is all part of an exchange that was suppose to be somewhere else for both groups. The West Virginia 4-H’ers were planning to go to Russia and the Canadians had planned a trip to Quebec but there were complications with both of those plans so Gayle Plante, one of the Canadian chaperones and a 4-H leader searched on the Internet and read about Jeff Orndorff (aka-my husband) who had taken 4-H’ers on exchanges before to Russia and other states. In the meantime, Meredith(our daughter), had attended National 4-H Conference in Washington, DC in April and had met some other Canadian students. When she came home, she shared how much she loved the Canadians with their spontaneity and enthusiasm. So when Jeff got the call and he mentioned it to Meredith, she really gave her Dad a push. Even though he already had a very tight schedule with his Extension job of running 3 state camps, Operation Military kids and the State Fair, the exchange was a go. So what has happened?

Meredith was right…what a great group of people and we are so lucky they are a neighboring country! We have shared ideas, recipes, games and revisited our state and neighboring states. Some activities included touring Blackwater Falls, Cooper’s Rock, downtown Morgantown, biking at Ohiopyle; swimming in 2 friend’s pools, a round of golf, playing spoons, listening to their own Garth Brooks sing and play guitar,-Ian Brousseau, and laughing almost all of the time.

What have we discovered? We are more alike than different and the differences make life much more interesting. One of the kids told a story, that we call a knitted winter cap a tobaggan, while of course a tobaggan to the Canadians is a special sled. There weren’t too many words that we didn’t understand but we liked they way that they said, “Ay” at the end of many sentences. It sure beats, “Huh.”

The Canadians, this week are Alpha II at Jackson’s Mill. When I returned home from camp last night (some of us must go to real work), my house was too quiet.

Gail Plante and Shelley Tymofichuk, the chaperones from Canada are the Big Foot’s tribe, Chief and Sag this week. If you are a 4-H’er you know that unlike the regular tribes, the honor of being Chief and Sag in the Big Foot tribe always goes to the newest adults in camp because they will definitely have the most fun with it. I heard that they have something very special planned for tonight’s Council Circle.

So next year, the West Virginian’s will travel to Alberta to visit for about 10 days. I’m sure they will learn even more. If you are interested in 4-H, contact your local Extension Service in your county and if you are interested in learning more about 4-H exchanges and need advice, write to Jeffrey Orndorff

The Canadians particpating are: Ian Brousseau, Clayton Poulin, Marc Lamontague, Gabrile Corbiere, Darren Tymofichuk, Laura Plante, Amanda Meger, Martine Chamberland, Jennifer Brousseau and chaperones Gail Plante and Shelley Tymofichuk.

Hosts and their families included:
Doddridge County – Chelsea Welch and family ,Mandy Yeater and Shane Yeater and family
Monongalia County – Ashley Sydney Lavengood, Sydney Lavengood and parents Mike and Sheri Lavengood; Meredith Orndorff, Joel Orndorrff and parents Jeff and Cathy Orndorff; and chaperone, Connie Williams
Morgan County – Ronald Fifield and family
Preston County – Charles Brown and family
Roane County – Kati Hildreth and family

How, how-to a super bunch of folks from up North!.

3 Jul

Not too late to attend Alpha Camps!

Jeffrey | July 3rd, 2008

It is not too late to attend Alpha I or II. Alpha 1 begins on Sunday, July 6, 2008 and registration is from 2 -4 p.m. Alpha II begins on Sunday, July 13 and again registration is from 2-4 p.m. At this point the state scholarship is no longer available, but we will provide anyone registering now to get a $40.00 staff scholarship provided by our Alpha staff members. Alpha I numbers are up and Alpha II is about the same size as last year, so we are looking for two wonderful weeks. If you would like to attend I or II, the easiest way to do this is to register online at the following address:

http://www.peopleware.net/2633a

This will allow you to pay via credit card or to make payment when you arrive. You will be able to get the $40.00 scholarship even if you walk in on Sunday. Letting us know in advance makes your trip through the registration process faster, so get to your computer and sign up. Remember to bring your own towels, but Jackson’s Mill has linens. You might want to bring a light blanket if it remains cool. Oh, btw the theme is “The Kingdom of Alpha-A Noble Journey.” It’s a medieval theme-in case you don’t recognize the word-it was the time around the middle ages. See you at camp!

2 Jul

Health Rocks!

Meredith | July 2nd, 2008

Hey, it’s Meredith again. My last blog was all about Older Members Conference which was a blast and if you didn’t read it you should take a minute to learn all about the wonderful camp that it is! After camp, I headed to the beach with my family for a few days then I flew from Myrtle Beach to Little Rock, Arkansas. I bet you’re wondering what in the world I was planning on doing in Little Rock but it was actually yet another 4-H opportunity.

I was headed to the Arkansas 4-H center where I attended a conference on a program called “Health Rocks” which teaches children about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use. The conference was called “Health Rocks! Train the Trainer Institute.” They implement the program by teaching the lessons to teenagers so that the teens can teach the lessons to the children. This is because we understand that a child is very likely to listen to the teen that they look up to.

We arrived Friday and learned all about the program’s goals and what we were going to do during the weekend. Then we played a lot of get-to-know-you games to help us feel more comfortable with all the teams we would be working with.

On Saturday, we learned many different lessons from the books they gave us and even got to practice teaching the lessons to a group.We only had about a half hour to put together an entire lesson and address it to a certain audience. This was a challenge but my team pulled together and we received very good feedback about our teaching skills.

On Sunday, we received certificates that prove that we have completed the “Health Rocks” program and are ready to teach the information. In order to complete the children to complete the program, they must receive ten hours of actual instruction.
Ashley Lavengood and BeccaFint-Clark, Monongalia County’s 4-H Extension Agent, were the other people on my team. I want to thank Becca for giving me this opportunity since I am very interested in health topics. We plan to teach other teenagers in our community, from the 4-H Teen Leaders and possibly students at MHS from the National Honor Society. These students already work with the Boys and Girls Club which is the organization we were thinking of targeting.

There were people from many different states such as: New York, Utah, Ohio, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Idaho, Louisiana, Kentucky, Michigan, South Carolina, North Carolina, and of course West Virginia. It
was great getting to know the people from the other states and learn a little bit about their 4-H programs. When you go to a National 4-H event, you really get an idea of how different 4-H programs are when you go from state to state.

Another interesting thing I noticed about this weekend is that the problems we face day to day vary so much by the places that we live. Yet many children are being influenced in the wrong way and we can change that if we just take that extra step. 4-H itself is a wonderful organization to keep kid’s away from many dangers in life, but the Health Rocks Program is associated with 4-H and teaches young children specifically about the dangers of drug use. This is an issue that many children are not educated about and they need to be.

If you would like any more information go to the Health Rocks website to see more about the program , contact the Monongalia County Extension Office at 304-291-7201 to see how to get involved, or contact me through email Meredith.o32@gmail.com or try Facebook. Also, if you have an organization such as the Boys and Girls Club or an afterschool group of kids that you think could use this information in their lives, let me know. We plan on educating as many people as we can about the dangers of these awful drugs and just about staying healthy to make their lives the best that they can be.

1 Jul

P.S. Nothing but Nets

Meredith | July 1st, 2008

P.S. At National 4-H Conference this year I learned about an organization called “Nothing But Nets,” which is a grassroots campaign to prevent malaria in Africa. This organization sends bed nets over for $10 a piece and a family of four can sleep under them. This will protect them from the mosquitoes, so also from malaria. At OMC I told the campers a little bit about the program and that I was raising money for the campaign. I held a lemonade stand where the lemonade was free and people could give donations. I came out of camp with a little over $200, which means that we are buying 20 nets. Yipeeee! Twenty nets covers around 80 to 100 people directly and then the more nets there are in a community, the insecticide that the nets have sewn into them will spread and keep the mosquitoes out of the area, so thus we might be saving even more lives.

I appreciate all of you that donated, it means so much. If you would like anymore information on this campaign or malaria in general, their website is http://nothingbutnets.net/ . All the information is there and it’s
something that you as a teenager, 4-H club, or adult can do easily. Ten dollars is something that most everyone could afford to donate or to raise if you give up 10 cans of soda, a movie theater trip or a new shirt. Thank you again, and the more donations I get I will keep posted so you know the success of OMC 4-H Camp 2008. Helping others is a great feeling!

If anyone has any questions about camp or 4-H or anything, my e-mail is
Meredith.o32@gmail.com and I’m also on Facebook, and would be more than
willing to help you out!.

1 Jul

Recapping a fantastic week at OMC 2008

Meredith | July 1st, 2008

Hey everyone, it’s Meredith. So I haven’t had much of a chance to write because my summer has been so busy. First I was at Monongalia County 4-H camp which was so much fun! My brother was chief of the Mingo tribe which I’m a part of and he also won the Head H so that was very exciting. Then I came home Friday night, washed my clothes on Saturday and was headed to
Jackson’s Mill on Sunday for Older Members Conference.

OMC is by far my most favorite week of the year and I was so excited to be back. This year there weren’t nearly as many people as normal, mostly due to high gas prices and the economy-may teens must work to help their families out. Even though we were missing so many people, everyone still had the same amount of spirit and enthusiasm about camp!

The theme at camp was “Carpe Confusio,” meaning confusion was our theme. We would spin a wheel to determine the schedule and theme for the day. I think it was hard on the counselors but the campers liked it. It was interesting because you could go in any direction with that theme. We started camp off welcoming in the “Outspoken for 4-H” bike riders who
traveled on their bikes all through the mountains of the state finally reaching Jackson’s Mill. This year many more people took part in the bike ride and they seemed like they had a LOT of fun. Then we continued that night with “The Journey,” the new ceremony replacing High Council and then we all headed off to our cottages to get a good night’s sleep for the week ahead.

Also another wonderful thing that happened for me was that my brother was voted sagamore for our tribe meaning he will be chief next year! My Dad had this same experience 39 years ago, so it is full circle once again for our family in their 4-H experiences and a tender moment for my Dad.

At OMC, we have a speaker each day who talks about an issue then we separate into small groups to talk about our opinions and later we meet back together as a whole camp to have open discussion about the day’s topic. This year we
had very good speakers who addressed many issues we face everyday. The first speaker spoke about the “Access 4-H Program,” which was really cool because it is going to be a website for all 4-Hers nationwide to keep in contact with
each other. Also you can keep track of your community service hours and many other neat things. It should be coming out sometime later this year, so keep an eye out!

Another speaker we had addressed the topic of sexual ethics which is a very popular topic when you are speaking to a bunch of teenagers. So the discussion that day was pretty interesting. She was an Assistant Professor
at West Virginia University and even talked about some of the classes she teaches at WVU.

Another exciting thing that happened was All Star Consecration where many young 4-Hers were awarded with the highest honor in 4-H, their All-Star Pin, for their years of service and dedication to their 4-H life and making the
best better.

On Wednesday, every camper signed up for a certain community service activity and we spent the afternoon cleaning up the place we love, Jackson’s Mill. The jobs varied from mulching gardens to painting the old council circle to picking up trash. Just a few hours of service helps us to be proud of the camp and give back for all the great memories it has given us. Also when you come back the next year, you get to see that what you did really did make a difference to help the camp look its best, which is definitely a
great feeling.

On Thursday, Marlon LeBlanc the Men’s Soccer Coach at WVU, came to speak about diversity and how WVU is starting a program called “One WVU.” This program will help to teach students to accept people that are different from them in anyway and make the school a whole, “One WVU.” I think this is great program and some 4-Hers even volunteered to help make another commercial
for their program so the news can be spread even more. The informal banquet was also Thursday night, which is always a lot of fun. Everyone puts on their best outfit, we have a very delicious dinner, and the award winners from last year give the camp a few words to hold on to. Then the party happens! We all go to the Assembly Hall and dance the night away!

On Friday, the speaker was actually multiple people. It was a few groups of campers who spoke on different topics such as what we can do to “go green” and recycling. With the shape that our environment is in these days, I think it’s very important that our generation learns about the little things we can do to make a difference. Friday night was our last Council Circle but it was by far one of the best I’ve ever been to.

OMC is a wonderful camp and I encourage all of you that have never had a chance to go, come next year.
Those of you that were there this year, come back. Then those of you that used to come, come back as a staff member. Camp is something that will be fun no matter how old you are and 4-H is a lifetime experience. If you are a
4-Her now, you will be forever! =]

18 Jun

What Service means to me

Caroline | June 18th, 2008

This Wednesday here at OMC the entire camp participated in a service project to Jackson’s Mill. To be honest, before this year I have always taken the easy way out of service projects here at camp. I always do something, that while it?s helpful, it doesn?t involve a whole lot of effort. This year I changed my mind and decided to get down and dirty. I signed up for weeding, mulching, and grooming the flower beds in front of the Administration building. For those of you who have been to the Mill before you know that the flower beds I am speaking of outline almost the entire outside of this building. I didn?t know exactly what I was getting myself into. We arrived a little after one this afternoon ready to work. I learned to use certain tools to help me remove weeds from the flower bed and how to spread mulch over an area. We worked, and by we I mean about seven of us, until four o?clock this afternoon. While I walked away from this project with more aches and pains than ever, I had the best feeling in my heart. It made me proud that I put all of my time and effort into beautifying this area. I love Jackson’s Mill for all the wonderful things it?s done for me and I feel the need to help it and it?s staff in return. This is why we do community service, not for what we gain from it, but what others gain from our passion and drive to do something for them. Although, that warm, fuzzy, good feeling inside helps too. I got to work first hand with the director?s wife today, who is in charge of all the landscaping here at The Mill, and she taught me a lot. So, I just want to give a hand to all the Mill staff for everything they do! My life would not be the same without this camp. Also, to my group that worked so hard today, HOW HOW!! My fellow 4-Hers truly inspire me everyday with their hard work, enthusiasm, and leadership.

Always,
Caroline

17 Jun

OMC: Mass Confusion

Caroline | June 17th, 2008

Hello all!! It’s nice to be back and blogging again! Well, just as the title says this years OMC theme is “Carpe Confusio” and I’m here to tell you that it has definitely been true. The way this works is every night we spin “The Wheel” which looks like a game show wheel and has six different themes on it. Whatever we get is what the next days theme is. It’s very original and crazy! Yesterday’s theme was Star Crossers a.k.a. space. It was pretty fun. We played a massive game of space invaders, you know the old school video game, but with real people. We lined up and got to throw water balloons at the chiefs armed with squirt guns, which were the spacecrafts, and the Big Feet were their blockades. It was pretty fun, but turned into an all out war at the end. There was an alien fashion show at council circle last night, which was quite entertaining. I’ll be posting pics from throughout the week at a later date.

Today’s theme was “Anything but Anchovies”. Our speaker this morning came to talk to us about sex education. I know, interesting topic! We broke up into our small groups and discussed the topic then went back in and had a Q & A session as usual. The interesting thing I felt about this topic was how our speaker presented it. She presented it in a very positive manner that I feel made everyone else more comfortable sharing their own opinions. All-Star Consecration was this evening and ran very smoothly. This All-Star ceremony meant so much to me this year because next year I will be eligible to receive my pin and I knew so many people being inducted. It was almost like a little reality check for me about where I am at in my life.

Always,
Caroline

13 Jun

Still room for YOU at OMC

Jeffrey | June 13th, 2008

I am getting calls wanting to know if they can still come to OMC.
You all should know me well enough to know it is never too late to
come to camp. You can show up on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and we will get you
signed up and will still give you a $40.00 scholarship. What better
deal do you need?

Our enrollment is down about 100 and we all know council circle is
more fun when it is rocking with 300+ in camp. We will miss you if you aren’t there.

The theme promises to be fun, “Carpe Confusio.” So seize the confusion,
pack a bag and head for the lovely county of Lewis for a week you will
never forget.

See you there!

Big O

9 May

National Land Judging Trip: Day 7

Unknown | May 9th, 2008

It is the day of the big competition and the beautiful weather of the previous days is overcome by a wave of rain and thunderstorms. We head to the Biltmore to find where the competition will be held and join in the caravan of vehicles. Unfortunately the weather led to an accident on the interstate, which delayed the caravan from leaving for about 45 minutes. We sat in our vehicles and watched the rain pour down by the buckets. We finally got to the site and are told that the competition might be delayed even further to let the lightning subside. However most of the vehicle needed to find a bathroom, so we ventured out. By the time we walked to the port-a-potties, we are all drenched by rain. One of the kids said that they weren?t sure if they would be drier with or without the poncho. I felt like I had taken a shower with all of my clothes on. The kids trudged on though. The competition was soon underway and the contestants were faced with about 18 inches of water standing in each hole. The weather finally broke and the reminder of the competition was rain free. They finished up about 1:30pm and the rain started again. We had barbeque at the Cheyenne Arapaho reservation where the contest took place. Everyone was muddy and exhausted, so we cleaned up and rested a bit before going to the Cowboy and Western Museum for the Awards Banquet. We got there with only about 10 minutes to look through the museum before it closed. Then we had to wait until the banquet began. The other West Virginia teams were still at the hotel when we left, but they wanted to sit with us at the banquet. We waited and waited until Roane County?s team finally showed. They said Clay County was behind them. However 15 minutes past and they still hadn?t arrived. When they got to the museum, it turns out that they had been routed off the interstate to wait while a tornado went through the Oklahoma City area. Roane said that they had heard the sirens, but hadn?t seen anything. We hadn?t heard them at the museum. Turns out the tornado went through the area where we had been practicing on Saturday and Sunday. The awards ceremony was nice even though we didn?t take home a trophy. We headed back to the hotel to find the overall scores posted on www.landjudging.com. Everyone began to wind down from the night and prepare for their trips home over the next few days. The people who flew were going to catch a flight at 6:20am and the rest of the group plans to take off by 8am to make the trip back.

The Gilmer County 4-H team placed 8th out of 21 4-H teams in the 2008 National Land Judging Contest. Individually Melissa placed 23rd, Tyler 24th, Allyson 29th, and Emma 42nd out of 79 individuals. The team didn’t practice for homesite judging which led them to a 13th out of 14 place finish. The other West Virginia teams were Clay County 4-H, Clay County FFA, Roane County FFA, and Pine Grove/Valley (Wetzel County) FFA. Clay County 4-H tied for 9th in Land Judging and 4th in Homesite. Clay County FFA placed 3rd in homesite Judging and took home the regional trophy. They tied for 12th in the land judging. Roane County FFA placed 23rd in Land Judging and tied for 21 in Homesite. Pine Grove/Vally FFA placed 37th in Homesite and 88th in Land Judging. There were 43 FFA teams that competed in Homesite Judging and 96 FFA teams in Land Judging.

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