4-H members tackle public speaking

About 70 4-H youngsters participated in the public presentation day, held at the Morrisville-Eaton Middle/High School on Saturday, March 7.

The experience, a 4-H tradition, is an important way to give young people the skills to speak and present in front of other people, said Terry Lanterman Becker, the Cornell Cooperative Extension educator in charge of the event.

Presenters selected a topic of their own interest and organized what they wished to share in an engaging and informative way.

A survey of adults labeled public speaking as their most feared situation, Becker said.

While there were some jitters, most of the presenters had practiced and organized their material so that they were comfortable. Picking a topic they are familiar with also helped. There were presentations on everything from softball, snowboarding, rocks, NASCAR and felting to goats, cows and horses. Popular among the judges and the audiences were favorite recipes that the audience was able to taste.

Allison and AJ Casseroti-Wilson, both students in the Hamilton school district, presented "A Recipe with Milk." In her presentation, Allison, who is a junior dairy ambassador, showed the audience one good way to get kids and adults to get their 3-A-Day of Dairy, a popular theme for the dairy princess and her court. By mixing in sherbet, the milk drink becomes sweet and easy to enjoy. For Allison, who is a 5-year veteran 4-H member, this is only her second public presentation. Her little brother, AJ, acted as the server and he made sure everyone got a chance to taste their delicious treat. Their older sister Arica, who is a senior dairy ambassador, also helped. She reminded the audience that to get three servings of dairy you could include yogurt and cheese in your daily diet along with drinking milk drinks.

Kayla McCaulley, a Cloverbud member of 4-H, told her audience how to "Wash a Cow." She carefully assembled all the necessary items and ran through a list of reminders to do a good job of washing your favorite bovine. Her supplies included such simple items as paper towels and soap to more exotic items like a hoof brush and tail brush.

A team of at least two adults familiar with the evaluation process judges the presentations. Regular members receive an evaluation sheet that lists the best parts of the presentation and suggestions for improvements.

Cloverbuds, the youngest 4-H members, received different sheets that emphasized the positive aspects of the presentations. Students who qualified will make the presentations again at regional for the horse club members and at districts for other topics.

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