One Monday, every month, our club gathers at Escuela Bilingue Internacional in the main gallery to have an hour-or-so meeting. This is mainly to catch up with everyone, see how the projects are going, and give presentations to the club members about local (mostly Alameda County) events that will or already did happen. These include Presentation Day, Small Animal Field Day, the Mini Maker Faire and more. Project members present about what they covered in previous project meetings. Project leaders talk about projects that they will be leading in the next semester. Every once in a while, we will have a guest speaker (a “Cool person”) come from outside 4-H to talk about an interesting topic. The meetings also include times for parents and middle-schoolers to branch off and discuss things while K-5th graders do a fun activity or game.
The president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and youth facilitators run these meetings. They make transitions between speakers, open and close meetings, take minutes, present the club’s status money-wise, and switch PowerPoint slides depending on their jobs. Before each club meeting, the officers gather to talk about the meeting agenda so everything will be organized and run smoothly. Every year or so, the club votes for new officers. Those who wish to run give a speech at a meeting to tell everyone why they want to be an officer. The officers are ages 11+. The officers are kids because it helps give members an idea of what leadership is, and what kinds of responsibilities are needed to run 4-H.
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In this project, we began by learning all about chicks. We were shown a PowerPoint presentation or a Google Slide that was filled with information about different breeds of chicks, handling chicks, feeding them, chick diseases and more. By the end of the presentation, we were mini-experts. Now, the main point of this project was to foster chicks for about 8 weeks (2 months) for the EBI chicken coop, which was still in progress. Each participant would be caring for 3-4 chicks by the end of the project. The family that raised the most friendly and social chicks would get to send theirs to the EBI chicken coop, and the rest of them would go to a family-owned farm in Petaluma (Somar Farms). A couple of families would even be keeping their chicks and watch them grow into full-grown hens. (There would be no roosters.) So we needed to know how to care for chicks and what materials would be required to do so.
After that, there were many steps to complete this project. First, a few families went to Home Depot to retrieve bins and chicken wire for the building of their habitats. A bit later, the families rendezvoused to build the habitats. We used screwdrivers and rulers to measure the chicken wire and cut holes in the big plastic bins to put the chicken wire on top. Then, we added small sticks that stretched across the width of the bin so the chicks could practice perching. After building what would soon be their homes for 8 weeks, we brought the bins home.
Then, the day we had all been waiting for finally came, near the end of March. This was the day that we would meet our chicks. We all gathered at BioFuel Oasis and got oriented, and then each child participant chose their chicks according to the breeds that their caretakers had chosen. We brought home our chicks and filled the bottoms of their bins with newspaper so they could be cared for for the next 2 months. After that process was over, the chicks that would be permanently living at EBI were chosen, and everyone went to Petaluma to see the farm, and the families that were leaving their chicks there brought them over. That pretty much summarizes the 2017 chick project.
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