4-H’ers go online for annual public presentations

Posted 26 February 2021 at 8:47 am

Topics covered the spectrum – toilet paper, engines, origami, and hot cocoa bombs

This screenshot shows Grace Batt, 9, of Albion, who made her first “real” Public Presentation this year entitled: “My Best Made House in Minecraft.”

Press Release, Orleans County 4-H Program

KNOWLESVILLE – For the first time, 4-H Public Presentations in Orleans County were held virtually Feb. 6, 13 and 20. The decision to go to an online only format this year was made to ensure the and health and safety of both participants and evaluators during the ongoing pandemic, said Kristina Gabalski, CCE Orleans 4-H Program Coordinator.

Nearly 40 youths, ages 5-18, took part and adapted well to the new format.

“They did an amazing job, whether they needed to set up for a demonstration or decided to use slides or PowerPoints, the presentations were excellent,” Gabalski said.

Some presentations were especially well suited to the on-line Zoom format.

“Three youth presented on horse-related topics and were able to be with a live horse in the stable to help show and demonstrate what they were discussing, something which would be difficult in the Ed Center at the 4-H Fairgrounds where the event normally takes place in person,” Gabalski explained.  “Another youth, 12-year-old Amelia Barton of Middleport, did a make-up demonstration and Zoom allowed us to follow her up-close as she applied make-up to her face.”

4-H Public Presentations help youth practice the skills needed to present before an audience.  “Youth who participated this year were able to learn skills related to virtual presentations which have now become very common for both professionals and students,” Gabalski noted. “Youth can present on any topic of their choice, including an ongoing 4-H project.”

This year’s event covered a wide range of topics. Tresza Vinca, 11, of Holley did a recitation of the nonsense poem, “Jabberwocky,” by Lewis Carrol and was joined later by her 9-year-old brother, Marcus, for a dramatic interpretation of “The Owl and the Pussycat,” by Edward Lear. Their 14-year-old sister, Ariel, did a demonstration on how to make your own sewing pattern. Ariel explained that she is self-taught in the skill, utilizing books as a guide. She said she does have an interest in clothing design.

Luke Gregoire, 13, of Murray, chose a timely topic – “How Toilet Paper is Made,” and 13-year-old Carissa Klossner of Clarendon demonstrated the Japanese Art of Origami – making a bird out of paper.  She said sometimes she makes mistakes in the process, but that can lead to very interesting and unexpected creations.

This screenshot shows 18-year-old Will Gregoire of Murray. Will made his final 4-H Public Presentation this year on a topic that he says fascinates him: the internal combustion engine.

Several youth chose cooking-related demonstrations which included apple pie making by 13-year old Allison Merle of Holley and making hot cocoa bombs by 10-year old Jackson McGrath of Medina.

Adele Mathes, 9, of Barre changed her topic from Anne Frank to her grandfather, who passed away early in February. Adele spoke of how much she learned from her grandfather and how much she will miss him. She discussed his many talents including crafting historically correct shoes for Civil War re-enactors and family trips to the Adirondack mountains.

Cloverbuds (ages 5-7) were also part of the event. Their topics included making a personal pizza, Tae Kwon Do, and changing a baby diaper. Five-year-old McKenna Richardson of Barre demonstrated how to change a diaper on a doll, but she is getting some real-life experience with a new baby brother. When asked what might be the best diaper available on the market, McKenna responded, “My brother seems to prefer the expensive kind.”

“These are just a few of the dozens of topics covered,” Gabalski added. “We learned about playing the tuba, termites, woodworking, horse bits and so much more, the presentations were all very impressive.”

Youth work to improve their presentation skills from year to year and receive constructive feedback from teams of volunteer evaluators, Gabalski said.  “I can’t thank our evaluators enough, we could not do this without their help, and they bring so much expertise, knowledge and experience to the process.”

Participants will be able to move on to Western District 4-H Public Presentations in Erie County and Region 1 4-H Horse Communications (virtual) both planned for April.