Spring is a time in 4-H to celebrate skills and share them with others.  Several 4-H members from throughout the county came together with family and friends to share their skills in the county communications contest.  Two Cloverbuds, ages 5-8, five pre-juniors, ages 8-10, and two juniors, ages 11-13, and one senior member, age 14-18, presented.  The communication events allows youth to learn skills in preparing, practicing and presenting before an audience.  

To start the evening, Matthew Haas got the crowd all packed for a big excursion.  Matthew showed the gear needed for a 50-mile hike into the mountains.  He shared what to pack, how to make the pack as compact as possible and how to distribute the items for easy access to those needed most.  The audience was particularly engaged the whole evening asking many questions of each presenter and enjoyed hearing from Matthew about his Boy Scout trip where he used what he learned about packing.  Kyle Haas was next in line with an illustrated talk where he put the Ford Shelby head to head with the Chevy Camaro.  Kyle’s enthusiasm for engines and vehicle details was evident.  He explained many of the components under consideration, such as horse power and torque.  

Kyle Haas

Kyle Haas

Claire Long had the judges tied up in knots as she demonstrated two techniques for tying neck ties.  Using her great-grandfather’s vintage ties, she showed two of the easier knots and shared the importance of knowing how to tie a tie.  Long involved the judges having them follow along with the methods as she taught.

Claire Long

Claire Long

Nolan DeBruycker, an eight-year old Cloverbud, gave his first illustrated talk on the parts of a rifle.  His interest, and that of the audience, was apparent.  The communication event allows 4-H members not only to learn how to prepare, practice and present, but also how to think and respond to questions from the audience.  Nolan fielded multiple audience questions.

Nolan DeBruycker

Nolan DeBruycker

Addi Christensen demonstrated how to make bath bombs using citric acid, baking soda, cornstarch, special dyes and essential oil fragrances.  She entertained the crowd explaining the use of bath bombs.  Other 4-H members were obviously interested in trying the techniques she shared as many of the crowd questions were from the other 4-H members at the event.  Ayden DeBruycker pulled us back in time with her apron strings.  She demonstrated the multiple uses of an apron in a cleverly woven presentation.  From gathering eggs, garden produce and new baby chicks to hiding a shy youngster or quickly dusting the house when spying visitors coming up the road, the apron has many uses.  She became interested in aprons when reading the book, Nothing to Tell:  Extraordinary Stories of Montana Ranch Women by author Donna Gray.  Ayden’s research became even more interesting when she made the connection with Bonnie Crary who was friends with Marie Walker Converse, from the Fairfield area, who was featured in the book.  

Addi Christensen

Addi Christensen

Ayden DeBruycker

Ayden DeBruycker

As the evening progressed closer to supper time, Natalie Hodgskiss got us ready with her demonstration on the proper technique for washing hands.  She showed not only how to wash, but where to wash.  Her elementary school teacher, Rachel Christensen, was excited about the idea of Natalie giving her demonstration for her classmates!

Natalie Hodgskiss

Natalie Hodgskiss

Waverly and Annika Konen prepared a team demonstration sharing the work of preparing lefse for the crowd.  They showed how to rice the potatoes, mix and prepare the dough and how to move it on and off the griddle.  They shared sweet potato lefse samples with the judges and brought regular potato lefse for the shared evening meal.  Again, the crowd was enthusiastically engaged with questions and comments, including one from Karen Forseth sharing that she has even made lefse with purple potatoes!

Waverly and Annika Konen

Waverly and Annika Konen

The event also featured audience participation.  One of the fun activities was “two truths and a lie” where volunteers stand in the front and tell three things about themselves. The audience picks the one that is not true.  Audience member participants included preschoolers to grandparents.  All the activities give experience speaking to and in front of others.

Justin Forseth finished the communication event with the video category.  Forseth introduced and showed a video that he had created based on a year of work on the family farm and ranch.  The video used drones, an action camera (Go-Pro), phone video and more. Several of the shots were time lapsed from a variety of interesting angles and locations.  The crowd was mesmerized.  Forseth’s interest in technology was apparent as he explained the various tools, techniques, equipment and editing software he used.  

Justin Forseth

Justin Forseth

The evaluators for the event were Courtney Duke-Graves, Courtney Cowgill and Mitchell Peters.  Forseth was awarded grand champion in the senior division for his video.  The other 4-H members also did an excellent job.  Claire Long was grand champion in the pre-junior category with the next several participants not far behind and tying in points.  The event was fun, entertaining, interactive and completed with a meal and comraderie.   The 4-H Communications Committee, who planned the event, included Susan Snyder and Heidi Konen. Kwin Briscoe, Teton County 4-H Ambassador, served as the master of ceremonies. The Teton County 4-H program appreciates all who were involved to further communication skills of our youth.