My name is Makena Calame, I am 13 years old and live on a farm in Huron County Ohio.
We raise beef cattle; dairy goats and we own 3 commercial chicken barns with 36,000 chickens as well as a grain farm. So, farm life is the only life I know, and I would not want it any other way!
I have been in 4-H since kindergarten. I started as a Cloverbud*; some of my experiences with 4-H:
Cloverbud camp, ( I was so nervous about doing a demonstration in front of my 4-h club that I had to have my mom stand with me); going in the show ring for the first time showing my dairy goats (I again was so nervous I got sick before the show but still managed to win reserve grand champion! not once, but 2 years in a row.)
My twin brother wanted to show pigs, so my parents said we had to have at least 2. My brother showed one and I showed the 2nd pig. (I really didn’t want to, but my mom convinced me that it would be a good experience, so I did it.
I found controlling a pig with only a whip is very hard, but I really did enjoy it enough that
I just showed pigs for my 2nd year this past August.)
I feel 4-H has been very important in my life. It has taught me how to talk in
front of large groups, how to care for animals, and how to manage money, (I am treasurer of my 4-H group.) It has also given me the opportunity to meet so many new people at the fair which has led to best friends.
Some of the 4-H projects I have taken on are dairy goats, pigs, boar goats, baking, photography and crops. I hope one day I qualify to do Showman of Showmen; that is one of my big 4-H goals. ** My other goals include winning grand champion and fair queen one day.
I encourage kids who have not been in4-H to give it a try! So just go to your local 4h extension office and they will help you find a local club***.
Next year I will be a freshman and will be starting FFA. **** I'm super excited as my dad was really good in everything, he did in FFA. My grandma has one whole wall of the awards he won so I hope I can be just as good or even better! (shhh…. don’t tell him! )
Info regarding 4-H and FFA programming:
*(Ohio's 4-H Cloverbud Program is for youth age 5 and in kindergarten until they reach age 8 and in the third grade.
Cloverbuds explore areas of healthy lifestyle, earth/environment, citizenship, plants and animals, consumerism and family science, science and technology, personal development, and community expressive arts.
The primary goal of the Cloverbud program is to promote children's healthy development—mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally. The Cloverbud program provides an excellent opportunity for every child to reach his or her highest potential because early life experiences, even subtle ones, affect future development. VISIT https://ohio4h.org/families/cloverbuds for more information about Ohio 4-H)
**Showmanship is concerned with how well an animal is shown by the 4-H participant. The animal’s conformation or its breeding is of no importance although the grooming of the animal is considered. The emphasis is on the handler’s presentation of the animal both standing still and in motion. Each handler should present their animal to the judge in a way that demonstrates the animal’s best qualities. Knowledge is also a part of showmanship. The 4-H participant should be prepared to answer questions about their animal and the species in general.
***Contact Your Local 4 H Office 4 H is the youth development program of our nation’s COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SYSTEM. The Cooperative Extension System, comprised of land-grant universities and local county offices, supports 4 H programming in rural and urban areas across the nation. Learn more about 4 H clubs and programs in your area, enroll youth in 4 H, or become a 4 H volunteer by contacting your local county Extension office or go online to 4-h.org/find/ .
****FFA “Future Farmers of America” was founded by a group of young farmers in 1928. Their mission was to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population. They taught us that agriculture is more than planting and harvesting – it’s a science, it’s a business and it’s an art.
FFA chapters all across the nation grow leaders. They strengthen communities. And they support the local agriculture industry. An FFA chapter is the student organization arm of a school-based agricultural education program. That’s why FFA is considered intracurricular and not a “club.” Students learn about an area of agriculture that interests them, then they gain hands-on experience in that field through FFA. Visit www.ffa.org for more info.