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Focus on Youth

News for OCES staff working with youth.

4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.


January, 2012

Dear Educators and Volunteers,

We are pleased to welcome one of the newest members of the State 4-H Staff, Suzanne Simpson. Suzanne will be working with special events, events, marketing and promotions and the awards program along with several other tasks. I have asked Suzanne to provide a brief bio about herself to help you get to know her better. You will also get to know her by following Oklahoma 4-H on Twitter and on Facebook as she will be the new administrator of those social media tools.

My name is Suzanne Simpson, and I am your new marketing coordinator! I am incredibly excited to be in this position, and I would welcome any suggestions you have to help promote 4-H, its diverse programs and its countless amazing young people.

As the daughter of an Extension educator, I grew up surrounded by 4-H. I remember giving numerous unexpectedly comical demonstrations, participating in countless nerve-wracking speech contests, and performing various rather unconventional Share-the-Fun acts. I recall six memorable Southwest District Youth Action Conferences and State 4-H Roundups, as well as an exciting trip to Denver Western Round-Up and a life-changing trip to Washington D.C. I remember countless hours spent learning, giving and growing with other young people who continue to be my friends to this day. More than anything, however, I remember the life skills the incredible Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development Program ingrained in me, and I credit much of my current success to my participation in this truly outstanding organization.

After my 4-H career ended and I graduated from high school, I attended Oklahoma State University and received a bachelor's degree in agricultural communications with minors in agricultural leadership and agricultural economics. Directly after graduation, I began graduate school at OSU, and I lack six hours before I receive my master's degree in agricultural communications.

Though I am only 23 years old, I hope my unique background in 4-H and my experience with marketing and communications will help me fulfill the expectations inherent in my new position. I have always been passionate about 4-H, and I am looking forward to promoting it throughout the state.

To begin accomplishing this goal, I would like to ask each of you a couple of questions. First, do you have any unique story ideas for this year’s annual 4-H report? I would love to write something about exceptional 4-Hers, special new programs or interesting grants. Second, I'm sure all of you have heard of the vast new sums recently donated to Oklahoma 4-H. While these funds are restricted for uses related to scholarships for new and continuing students and for travel awards, do you have suggestions for how to select award winners? If, so send me a note.

As I said earlier, I would welcome all suggestions. I am looking forward to getting to know each of you, and I hope our work together will help make the best even better!

- Suzanne Simpson

Next month we will be introducing at least one additional new staff member so be sure to check your inbox for Focus each month.

Charles Cox
Assistant Director, 4-H Youth Development
Oklahoma State University


4-H Game Day

Attached is information related to the upcoming 4-H Day with the Cowgirls. The event is a Saturday afternoon event, so it will be a good family outing. If families are planning to attend and bring other 4-H members with them as an official 4-H trip, ask them to let you know so you can take out the one-day event and activity insurance.

Charles Cox

Team America Rocketry Challenge


Student Rocketeers Wanted!

Registration for the 2012 Team America Rocketry Challenge is open.

Now in its tenth year, the world's largest rocket competition can accept 1,000 student teams in grades 7-12 from any US school, home school, or non-profit youth organization. Registration forms can be found at .

The annual rocket contest, sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), challenges teams of three to ten students to design and build a rocket that will climb to 800 feet with two raw eggs as the payload and stay aloft for 43 to 47 seconds. The eggs must then return to earth unbroken. The complete 2012 contest rules and information are available at
TARC is a vital part of the aerospace industry's outreach to young people. NAR is the organization of rocket enthusiasts who can assist you and your students on rocket projects, answer rocket questions and support your launches so you can have fun and fly safely and successfully. You can connect to the rocketeer network through your nearest NAR section that can be found at
The top 100 TARC teams will be invited to compete at the National Finals on May 12 competition just outside of Washington, DC. Student participants compete for $60,000 in prizes, scholarships and a trip to the 2012 international air show in Farnborough for an international fly-off. Last year nine 4-H teams attending the Finals and the Bond County 4-H team from Mulberry Grove, IL finished fifth in the nation.

The contest has proven to be a great catalyst for increasing student interest in math and science. Inspire the future engineers and rocket scientists in your 4-H group by flying with TARC!

2012 Oklahoma 4-H High Adventure Backpacking Program

If you want ADVENTURE—THINK 4-H! If you want a CHALLENGE - THINK 4-H! If you want the ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE - THINK 4-H HIGH ADVENTURE! Interested in a challenge, one that requires outdoor skills in backpacking, camping, compass/map reading, outdoor cookery, safety and working with other people? A challenge demanding physical conditioning to take on mountain hikes of 4-5 miles a day carrying a 35-45 pound backpack? The 2012 4-H High Adventure Backpacking Program can offer you those challenges. For the first time since 1994 Oklahoma 4-H will be offering this statewide 4-H High Adventure Program and Trip. Crews made up of 4-H youth and adult volunteers from across the state will have the opportunity to experience this unique and challenging program.

The 4-H High Adventure Program is an outdoor leadership program designed for teens, with guidance from adults. The purpose is to develop character and integrity in young people through the teaching of teamwork, leadership and outdoor skills. Young people are able to share their knowledge and skills with others and see themselves from an entirely new perspective. Experiencing the challenge of the out-of-doors, participants grow personally, developing an understanding of themselves and their limitations. By being a member of a crew they learn to understand and appreciate the needs of others and the team. Involvement in the program instills a new respect for the natural environment and helps participants develop those key life skills. It is a comprehensive education program that encompasses many 4-H project areas and develops in young people an appreciation for and respect of the outdoors, animal life and other areas of nature.

A required one-day training will be held in March for participants and at least one parent/guardian and an additional weekend training for the high adventure participant will be held in April. The climax will be a 9-day trip to the Pecos Wilderness area in New Mexico, July 7-15, 2012. The Pecos Wilderness Northeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is located in both the Carson and Santa Fe National Forests and encompasses approximately 230,000 acres. Plans are to have four backpacking crews. The final day of the trip will be spent in Amarillo, Texas, with tours and a trip to the Palo Duro Canyon to see the Texas Musical Drama. Youth must be 14 years of age by January 1, 2012. Additional information on the application requirements for youth and adults will be available from your OSU County Extension Office in January, 2012.


Youth who are 14 years of age by January 1, 2012, and adults 21 years of age or older (Lead adult advisor must be 25). Two selected adults/crew will serve in advisor roles.


March 3, 2012 - Parent/Camper Training - Oklahoma County Extension Office - Required for participant and one parent/guardian

April 13 - 15, 2012 - Shakedown Training - Location TBD - Required

July 7 - 15, 2012 - Trip to New Mexico


$630 per participant. A limited number of $300 adult scholarships will be made available through an application process. Fees include Parent/Camper Rally, Shakedown Training, transportation for participants, meals in the backcountry, lodging and four meals en route, and insurance. (Participants will be responsible for four meals while on trip).


Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will be available in January 2012. There will be a $75 non-refundable registration fee. The deadline for applications is February 15, 2012.

Kevin Allen and Mike Klumpp


Pack your bags for Overseas Adventure

Perhaps backpacking is not your bag and you would like to still have some adventure this summer. Consider Scotland and Ireland. Are you looking for an adventure that involves travel outside the United States? Do you enjoy having fun and learning about the rich history of other countries? Want to experience international travel with teens from another state? Then this adventure is for you!

Oklahoma 4-H is organizing an International Travel Experience to Scotland and Ireland July 3-12, 2013! Our group will meet up with a 4-H group from Texas to experience the exciting and historic sites of Ireland and Scotland! More details are attached including a coming registration deadline.

Cheryl Newberry

4-H Pet Contest


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Make plans to bring your pet to the 4-H Pet Fun Day in Tulsa on February, 18, 2012.  There will be games that you can play with your pet as well as contests that you and your pet can enter.  Your pets will be judged on many of their fine and unusual attributes such as being the shortest dog, best dressed dog, being the dog that most resembles their owner and much more. 

If your pet is not a dog, don’t worry we will have categories for non-dog pets as well.  There will be prizes for the longest haired pet, the tallest pet, the most unique pet, the best pet trick and many more.

For more information on categories available and rules for the pet contest visit or contact Steve Beck.


Steve Beck

2012 4-H Pet Photo Contest

Get your cameras out, and start taking pictures of your adorable pets, because the 2012 4-H Pet Photo Contest is coming soon. The contest is going to be held in conjunction with the 2012 4-H Pet Fun Day on February 18, 2012, but there will be opportunities to mail in pictures before then.

If you don't have a dog, don't worry. There will be categories for both dogs and non-dogs. Don't wait. Get out there and take a picture of your goldfish swimming circles, your cat being bossy or even your pet rat sitting on your sister's shoulder.

Entries must either be received by the State 4-H Office (Attn: Gloria Baum, 205 4-H YD, Stillwater, OK 74078) by Feb 13, 2012, or brought to the 4-H Pet Fun Day registration in Tulsa on February 18, 2012, before 9:30 am. Entries may be mailed or delivered but must be in place by the listed dates. All photographs will be available for release at the close of the 4-H Pet Fun Day or will be returned to the District 4-H office after the show.

For complete rules and a copy of the photo release log on to or contact Steve Beck, (405) 744-8886.

Steve Beck

2012 4-H Companion Animal Display Contest

Do you have a great display about your pet, or would like to make a display to show off your 4-H pet project? Then the 4-H Companion Animal Display Contest may be the event for you. All displays entered will be exhibited during the 4-H Pet Fun Day on February 18, 2012. For a complete set of rules and more information about the 4-H Pet Fun Day log on to or contact Steve Beck, (405)744-8886.

Steve Beck

4-H Hamster Ball Races

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All 4-H hamsters, gerbils, mice and rats are invited to participate in the 4-H Hamster Ball Races as part of the 4-H Pet Fun Day February 18, 2012. Registration for Fun Day begins at 9 am at the Tulsa Fairgrounds, Ford Truck Exhibit Hall. You must bring your own appropriate-size ball. For a complete list of Pet Fun Day Rules and Animal Health Guidelines log on to

Steve Beck

2012 Oklahoma 4-H Animal Project Leader, Parent and Educator Conference

For All Volunteer Leaders, Potential Volunteer Leaders and Extension Educators in Oklahoma with HORSE, LIVESTOCK, AND DOG PROJECT INTERESTS! Plan now to attend!

We are excited to announce the first-ever Oklahoma 4-H conference that will bring together people with interest in livestock, horses and dog projects. Conference organizers Steve Beck, Rusty Gosz and Dave Freeman invite certified adult volunteer leaders, potential volunteer leaders, parents and Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Educators to this one-day training. Our ultimate goal is to equip our 4-H leaders with skills that build up the technical, leadership and civic success of our 4-H members with animal projects.

The one-day training will be held at OSU - Stillwater on Saturday, January 21, 2012. Most of the morning will be spent in small, activity groups intended to facilitate discussion via problem-solving, case-study scenarios that leaders may face with animal projects. We'll also provide short presentations on essential character traits of champions and issues important for new leader success.

Attendees will break out into their area of interest in the afternoon. The horse project group will spend the afternoon sharpening their ability to rate horsemanship skills of riders using the Oklahoma 4-H Horsemanship Levels curriculum materials. The livestock project group will work through a hands-on nutrition activity with interactive tours and applied exercises that reinforce fundamental applied nutrition that can be taken back to the project club. Those with dog project interests will review new dog training curriculum and materials that are available. In addition, dog project volunteers will discuss strategies to organize clubs, activities to do with dog clubs, and how to find help in running a 4-H dog club.

The organizers of the conference will be joined by several fellow Cooperative Extension educators, OSU faculty and students and 4-H'ers to make this a fun, informative, active day of learning. A brochure detailing the day's activities, along with registration information was forwarded through the Oklahoma Extension offices in November. Pre-registration will be required so that materials, refreshments and organizers can be prepared. Feel free to email, David Freeman, Rusty Gosz, or Steve Beck for more information.

Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF)

Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) is a week-long 4-H citizenship program for youth that takes place at the National 4-H Conference Center, just miles from Washington, DC. Youth, ages 15-19, will learn about the history and culture of our nation while having fun and meeting new people from across the country. Information regarding the Oklahoma upcoming trip can be found on the 4-H website at This year's Oklahoma group will be traveling and attending June 14-24, 2012. Registration information is due by February 29, 2012. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the state 4-H office.

Tracy Beck

Application for Trip Chaperone

Attached is the form to be completed by educators and/or volunteers who are interested in chaperoning an upcoming 4-H out-of-state trip. All applications must be sent through both the county and the district offices.  Note: Denver applications are for 2013.

Tracy Beck

4-H Has Got Talent

Do YOU have what it takes to be a STAR? Have you always pictured yourself performing on the Roundup stage? If so, the 2012 Oklahoma 4-H Roundup 4-H Has Talent competition is for you!

Get the chance to show your skills on stage in front of nearly 1,000 fellow 4-Hers, parents/volunteers, and educators. Sing a song, do a dance, tell a joke or just do something unusual. Use YOUR creativity and wow the crowd! Details about this new and exciting 4-H performing arts competition are attached.

Cheryl Newberry and Jeff Sallee

4-H Bright Nights (Oklahoma Science Museum Camp-In)

The time has come again! 4-H'ers can sleep under a giant dinosaur, by a rocket engine, or in an oversized mouth. They can experience explosions, mad scientists, ride a Segway, explore the stars, or try their hand at the physics of bridge-building.

This year's 4-H Science Camp-Ins are scheduled for Feb. 17 and Feb. 24th. Last year's program continued to grow, and we will once again offer two camp-in opportunities in an effort to accommodate scheduling conflicts.

Registration is due February 1, 2012. We have upgraded the breakfast in response to past year's feedback and hope we can continually improve this event. The Oklahoma Science Museum Camp-In has a been a terrific opportunity to introduce 4-H member to science in a fun, interactive, and exciting manner. We will schedule a dome show, along with the planetarium, to enhance the evening.

Registration forms, flyer and more information can be found on the website:

Jeff Sallee

New 4-H Partnership Model

Some of you may have heard about efforts to create a new partnership model for 4-H nationally. Here is some information from Gaines Smith, Chair of the National Leadership Task Force. As 4-H Professionals you may wish to create a user name and follow and react to this information.

The Task Force met in Atlanta on December 5-6, 2011.

We developed a new and actionable multi-sector partnership model that will elevate 4-H into an impactful, sustainable, world-class youth development program.

That proposed model is being shared and discussed with the 4-H Summit participants for their consideration and input during a webinar on December 12, 2011.

Following in cooperation of their input, the proposed model will be posted on the 4-H Summit website at

Everyone in the 4-H community is invited to review the model and provide feedback.

Also, everyone is invited to visit the website on a regular basis to keep current on developments in the transition to the new leadership model. This will include a section of Frequently Asked Questions.

Thanks for your continued engagement in the process!

Gaines Smith via Charles Cox

Discovery Unlimited

In November, 60 counties participated in a survey regarding participation in the "tweener" event, Discovery Unlimited. This program began as a back home action plan of the 1999 National Conference delegates.

The first program planned and conducted by teens was held in 2000, and it continues to be planned and conducted by teens on the state leadership team (national conference delegates, state council and zmbassadors). Feedback from counties, youth and families has always been complementary and, as an event, determined to be beneficial. Counties tend to be return participants, yet the event has not grown over the years.

Based on the results of the survey (Emailed to county staff 11/18/11 - Attached) we are indefinitely suspending this activity as a state-sponsored event. The state committee, district staff, district youth leadership teams and county educators will be looking into ways to blend the objectives of this event into existing programming at the county/district level and/or into existing distinct and state programming.

It is fully understood and recognized that motivating and retaining 11 and 12 year olds is critical to 4-H. We are committed to finding creative alternatives which communicate a single unified message, but in a way where we reach a greater number of 11-12 year olds.

Volunteers and staff will be kept apprised as discussions and alternatives progress.

Karla Knoepfli

Updated RAM Form

We have made a minor revision to the RAM Form that we encourage you to download and begin to use. This new version has a link to the American Income Life website so families can see what the insurance will pay and what it does not pay. This is simply a good faith effort on your part to make them aware that the insurance is a supplement at best to their own policy. Of course by using this form you are also obligated to make sure you actually apply for the insurance! You can do this online for each event and also on an annual basis. The revised form is attached.

Charles Cox


All Due Dates listed in this publication are the dates that county staff are to have items in the state 4-H office or other designated location. Each county will establish due dates prior to the dates posted here. These dates are set to accommodate things like screening of applications, processing payments, and adequate mailing time. All forms should be submitted through your county Extension office unless otherwise indicated. Forms that require an Extension Educator's signature may not be processed if mailed directly.