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Hi! My name is Kaitlynn Foster I’m 14 years old and a member of the Kountry Kids 4-H club in Lincoln County and Science matters in St. Louis County. It has been a crazy busy, super exciting and great year! My projects are rabbits, shot gun, air pistol, gardening, computer coding and breads.

I started out this year in 4-H attending the 4-H state speech competition in Columbia, Missouri. It was held on the campus of Mizzou. I competed with a speech I gave at judging and achievement entitled “The History of the Cinnamon Rabbits.”  I was able to listen to all the other intermediate prepared speeches and was able to get many pointers from the older 4-H members and the judges on how to be a little more at ease in front of a large group of people and how to write and deliver my speeches better.

Then in January I attended a trip to Washington DC with my Science Matters club. It was a conference hosted by 4H and Bayer to showcase the importance of science and technology on our agriculture. As a group we came up with our community focus project and presented our plans for the year. We also got to tour many of the monuments around DC and have a snowball fight while we were waiting for our plane which was delayed.

This year in the rabbit project I breed and raise cinnamon rabbits and showed them in the Lincoln County Fair. It was a rough year for my rabbits because some weather got to a litter of babies and I didn’t get to show as many rabbits as I usually do. I was able to be a jr rabbit leader and enjoyed helping newer younger members with their rabbits and any questions they had.

I have been in shooting sports for 7 years. For the last 6 years I competed in the state shoot and the Lincoln county shoot. At the beginning of the 4H year I competed to take a place on the air pistol team, which would practice together and travel to Grand Island, Nebraska to compete against other states. I was so excited to learn that I made the team, not knowing all the work required. We practiced as a team one time a month from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in Marshall, Missouri. We were also encouraged to practice at least 90 rounds 5 days a week with either silhouettes, slow fire or rapid fire with a spinner. After months of practice time had come to travel to nationals. It was a nerve-racking time, especially when one of my pistols jammed during competition and I’m the only left handed shooter so there is no equipment to change to. It was also the most fun I had all year! They had social activities for all the shooters, state gift exchange and I met a group of great shooters from all across the country. In the end my team didn’t make the top three to get medals, but we had a great time that was well worth it!

This year for gardening I re-established a garden at a women’s shelter so that they might have a place to grow their own produce. I also gave vegetables from my garden to a elderly couple that were unable to grow their own. I enjoy working with my hands. Also, that I like to make others happy. I learned that it is a lot of work to garden but it is all worth it in the end when I saw their happy faces.

In my shotgun project I started practicing at Lolar Branch

And was having a great time, but soon learned that it interfered with my air pistol shooting accuracy. Unfortunately, I had to sacrifice this project to continue on the state air pistol team. I will pick up shotgun again next 4H year.

This was my first year in a computer coding project. My goal was to try to establish a group of youth who would be interested in learning coding and robotics. I had many classes that youth from our county attended and plan on more this coming 4H year. I was able to attend Code Your World classes,

Danforth Women in Technology camp and Girls Tech Challenges to learn new and exciting things that I can’t wait to share. Such as turning vegetables into a piano by computer coding! I also had the opportunity to be on the state robotics committee. I was able to go to the state robotics competition and work with youth creating animate a name and then was able to judge all entries for prizes. Through this project I have learned that coding is my passion. I can see myself in the future working in the technology field having to do something with coding.

One other opportunity I had this year was to be apart of the Native Bee Challenge. It was a class in which 20 youth from Missouri met and learned about native bees. We were then challenged to go out into our community and teach at least 50 kids. I ended up teaching over 200 youth and was given an award from Tractor Supply called “The Great Neighbor Award”. I was nominated because of the importance that the native bees have on our agriculture and the impact I am making to protect this industry. I am looking forward to the next Agri-science challenge being taught.

My last project is one of the tastiest! Breads. In this project we learned to make Stromboli, sticky buns, country white bread, coffee cake and pretzels. This was definitely a fun project. I learned the importance of proper measuring and measuring, and watching your dough as you mix in ingredients. I also learned how to hand kneed dough. My family probably liked this project the best because of all the great tasting bread that I brought home after each meeting.

I also had the opportunity to attend 4H State Congress May 29-31. While there I was able to attend classes on the legislative workings at Jefferson City and I was elected as a Urban East regional representative for 4H. As a regional representative I attend meetings to make decisions for the upcoming 4H year. I am suppose to attend regional activities and find out what the youth want and need from 4H, then take that information back to my regional meetings to find ways to make it happen. I am looking forward to my term and hope if there is any ideas that the youth have that they feel free to let me know.  My duties are to make their voices heard!

Throughout the 4H year I rang the bell for the Salvation Army, I organized a collection for a local womens shelter, I led my club in making dog toys for a local animal shelter, went to the state speech, county and state shoot, was elected as a regional representative, was on the national air pistol team and competed in Nebraska, taught the importance of native bees and worked at the state fair all while having fun. 4H is not just about raising animals to me it is about helping my community, family and friends while being able to participate in projects that are fun; that’s what 4H means to me.

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