This week, October 7 - 13th, is National 4-H Week. A week set aside to showcase the great things that 4-H offers young people. 4-H started off in rural communities but now can be found everywhere - city streets, schools, neighborhoods and universities. The group focuses on promoting a learn by doing education for their participants. What once was only agriculture based has now branched out into STEM, health, agriculture and citizenship.
The reach of 4-H goes much further than one would imagine. The group consists of a network of 500,000 volunteers, 3500 professionals that provide mentoring and nearly 6 million participants.
Locally 4-H holds many events. This past August, Whiteside County hosted a 4-H show. There were many categories that 4-H’ers could participate in beside the STEM section; Leadership Development, College and Careers, Creative Arts, Home and Family, Global Citizenship, Animal Science… One STEM exhibit allowed participants to display their 3-D design and 3D printing projects. This year there were four entries. Recent Morrison Tech graduate Brian Slater was on hand to judge these projects. Brian graduated with an Associates in Applied Science Degree in Drafting and CAD design. Judging these displays and models were right up his alley. Brian volunteered his weekend to evaluate each project. Members enrolled in these projects were required to show a simple rendered version of their 3-D printed design as well as a prototype. CAD software was utilized to perform these tasks. Exhibitors are expected to use the engineering design process to complete their designs and must keep a log outlining the step-by-step notes, sketches, and documentation from throughout the design process.
Brian spent time with the youth discussing their designs and offering advice. The day consisted of Brian judging each project and awarding each with an A rating. A few projects were chosen as Best of Show and Reserved Best of Show. Two exhibitors were chosen to represent Whiteside County at the Illinois State Fair.
“Inspire kids to do” is the 4-H theme this year. The new Innovation Center at Morrison Tech will be a wonderful place for 4-H members to explore new ideas and try new things. The 4-H STEM category includes such projects in Aerospace, Computer Science, Crops, Electricity, Robotics, Small Engines, 3D Printing and Design. Many of these projects could be executed and completed in the Innovation Center. The college looks forward to being a helping hand with the 4-H’ers in the area.