Award-winning program brings teens together for camp training

Teens reported fun and friendships among the takeaways from the first Wyoming 4-H Counselor Camp. In Wyoming, 17 counties host or co-host summer 4-H camps.

The idea was simple: Instead of each 4-H camping program preparing teen counselors, get everyone together for a statewide training.

The result, said Kimberly Fry, 4-H educator in Campbell County, was that 21 teens in 2018 contributed more confidently and competently to the experiences of 475 Wyoming campers last summer.

In recognition of the Wyoming 4-H counselor camp, on Nov. 7 University of Wyoming Extension presented its Creative Excellence Award to the 4-H educators and state youth development specialist who piloted the program.

Group photo with award winners holding plaques
Left to right are Bret Hess, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Mary Kay Wardlaw, UW Extension associate director-east; Warren Crawford, state youth development specialist; Kimberly Fry, Campbell County; Amber Armajo, Washakie County; Megan Brittingham, Goshen County; Kelly Crane, UW Extension associate director-west; and Mary Louise Wood, Albany County.

Those receiving the award at UW Extension’s state conference in Casper were 4-H educators Amber Armajo, Washakie County; Megan Brittingham, Goshen County; Robin Schamber, Uinta County; Mary Louise Wood, Albany County; Warren Crawford, state youth development specialist; and Fry.

“This camp opened my eyes to new ideas we could bring to our camp,” said Carl Gray, a first-time camp counselor from Campbell County.

Teenage volunteers typically take on planning, organizing and teaching roles and act as group leaders, cabin leaders, friends and mentors. The April 2018 counselor training at the Wyoming state fairgrounds in Douglas was organized around 15 core competencies, said Fry.

Organizers included sections on teaching, facilitating, teamwork and leadership, child and adolescent development and camper behavior management. Participants shared practices for flag etiquette, vespers, camp songs and recreation.

Wyatt Bullock, an Albany County 4-H’er, said he hopes the counselor training continues next year. “I want our camp to get better and this would help, but also it was a lot of fun!”

For more information on University of Wyoming Extension and to find a county office, see www.uwyo.edu.

Extension educators earn recognition for special efforts on behalf of youths

Group photo with award-winners holding plaques
Bret Hess, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Mary Kay Wardlaw, UW Extension associate director-east; Mary Louise Wood, 4-H youth educator; and Abby Rux, Cent$ible Nutrition program assistant

Special needs students in Molly Martin’s class at Laramie Middle School learned teamwork, gravity, motion and food choices last year from Albany County University of Wyoming Extension educators Abby Rux and Mary Louise Wood.

For adapting and delivering science (Wood) and Cent$ible Nutrition (Rux) programming to students of varying skill levels and abilities, the two received the diversity enhancement recognition award from UW Extension Nov. 7 at its state conference in Casper.

“The students I work with have disabilities that vary from moderate to profound,” said Martin.

“Mary Louise engages them in lessons full of discovery and exploration and brings lots of fun and positivity to my classroom,” she said. “Abby uses visuals and props and is very dynamic as she educates students about making smart food choices in their daily lives.”

Eloise Riley, who nominated Rux and Wood for the recognition, said, “The cool part is the programming they do is traditional 4-H and Cent$ible Nutrition, but they make adaptations.”

Riley is the Wyoming senior family readiness support assistant with Cybermedia Technologies, Inc., a special needs contractor to Albany County School District #1.

School professionals and paraprofessionals described development of fine motor skills and goal setting and interaction with caring adults as outcomes of the extension education for these students in grades 7-9.

“This group is not generally considered your average 4-H population but can gain the most from the 4-H experiential model,” said Wood, who joins them at least once a month.

Rux first worked with the students last year, bringing weekly lessons for 16 weeks throughout fall and spring.

“I am a great advocate for the work of UW Extension,” said Riley. “And I think their work is exemplary in the world of really good work.”

For more information on University of Wyoming Extension in Albany County, see wyoextension.org/albanycounty.

Horse judging team takes top-ten spot in world’s largest horse show

Team members in group photo in front of 2018 Quarter Horse Congress backdrop
Front left to right: Paris Starn, Ashley Rinetti, Hannah Jankovsky. Back Jory Goetz, assistant, Mikaela Moore, Josey Bailey, Amy Olson and Lacey Lindsay, coach

The UW horse judging team took 9th high team overall at its first and largest show of the season Oct. 17. The All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio, is the largest horse show in the world.

In the collegiate judging contest, UW placed 8th high team in performance and 10th high in halter and reasons. Mikaela Moore of Ranchester was 8th high individual in performance in a field of 55. Moore and Hannah Jankovsky of Cheyenne placed in the top 20 overall individuals.

Other team members are Josey Bailey, Moorecroft; Amy Olson, Baggs; Ashley Rinetti, Parker, Colo.; and Paris Starn, Honolulu.

Coach Lacey Lindsey says the team will compete at the Reining Horse futurity Nov. 27-28 and National Cutting Horse Futurity December 1-2.

For more information or to register, contact Lindsey at 307-760-3519 or lteigen@uwyo.edu.

Crook County 4-H educator receives UW Extension honor

Photograph of Sara Fleenor
Sara Fleenor

Increasing the depth and scope of Crook County 4-H and building the program through nontraditional ways has helped Sara Fleenor earn the University of Wyoming Extension’s Newer Employee Recognition Award.

Fleenor was recognized during the organization’s training conference Nov. 6-8 in Casper.

“Sara strives for excellence in her 4-H programming with a keen interest in developing leadership skills in youths,” said Mary Kay Wardlaw, associate director of UW Extension. “She is often behind the scenes making sure the youths are supported and successful.”

Nominators cited her work in providing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math lessons in local classrooms and in afterschool and summer recreation programs. She has also revitalized the Weston-Crook County 4-H Summer Program since joining UW Extension in 2012. The number of campers has grown from 15 to over 50 in 2017.

Fleenor is also credited for helping the success of the 307 Livestock Judging Camp in northeast Wyoming. The camp rotates between Weston and Crook counties year-to-year. The livestock judging series builds skills and increases participation in statewide contests by presenting scholarships and awards to the top 4-H members.

Colleagues also noted her fundraising efforts. She has grown the shooting sports program through grants and donations and has raised nearly $5,000 a year through community fund drives and competitive grant writing.

UW Extension’s livestock marketing specialist receives organization’s highest honor

Extension livestock marketing specialist Bridger Feuz provides a market outlook to those attending this year’s Wyoming-Utah Ag Days in Evanston.

Developing programs for ranchers focusing on increased production and efficiency and collaboration with peers are among reasons why a Uinta County University of Wyoming Extension educator has received the organization’s highest honor.

Bridger Feuz, based in Evanston, was presented the Jim DeBree Award at extension’s training conference Nov. 6-8 in Casper.

“Bridger Feuz is undoubtedly an exceptional extension educator who contributes significantly to the University of Wyoming’s statewide engagement mission,” said Kelly Crane, associate director of UW Extension.

“Bridger’s resounding success as an extension educator is attributable to his genuine obligation to listen and respond to the contemporary challenges facing Wyoming farmers, ranchers and community members.”

Feuz is extension’s livestock marketing specialist and involved in extension’s range initiative team. Programs he has developed include the Wyoming Master Cattleman Program and Ranch Management Institute. The multi-day workshops focus on topics such as assessing ranch marketing and financial analysis, partial budgeting and investment analysis tools, range management, genetics and livestock risk protection.

At the end of each production strategy session, producers work through examples using tools from earlier sessions.  Each strategy is analyzed for its potential from a goals/risk perspective and a financial “what if” analysis.

Feuz started the annual Wyoming-Utah Ag Days, first held in January in Evanston, two years ago.

Nominators also cited Feuz’s involvement in his local community, his willingness to draw in extension educators from surrounding states for his programs and his involvement in other extension professional areas, including nutrition and youth education.

The Jim DeBree Award is named in honor of the retired Wyoming extension administrator and given to those who demonstrate a high level of professionalism, performance and leadership within their program areas and communities.

Feuz joined UW Extension in 2004.