This past summer I had the pleasure of being the summer intern for the Dunn County 4-H Youth Development program that I so dearly love. Growing up I was always involved in 4-H. I joined the Rock Falls Rockets 4-H club after Kindergarten and never left.
Throughout my time in the Rock Falls Rockets (RFR) club I was involved in the drama fest, the music fest, the annual roadside clean-up, our summer 4-H softball leagues, June Dairy Days events, attended summer camp and was a camp counselor. I showed animals and projects at the Dunn County Fair. Some of my favorite projects to show at the fair were swine, dairy, and plant and soil sciences. After graduating out of 4-H and high school in 2015, I knew I wanted to stay involved. I continued to direct Rock Falls Rocket’s plays, which included a trip to the Wisconsin State Fair in the summer of 2016. 4-H has always played a huge role in my life and when I saw the opportunity to be the summer intern on the Dunn County 4-H Facebook page, I jumped at the chance without hesitating.
I knew that working in the extension office was going to turn my summer into quite the adventure, but I was not quite prepared for all that happened in May and June alone.
I was told right off the bat that I was going to be doing a lot with the meat animal project, which suited me just fine. I had shown hogs for six years and my sister still shows. I was also given instructions on my first day to prepare for summer camp and plan a day just for Cloverbuds (members who are in grades K-2). This was a little intimidating to me because I was going to work with Erin, the Eau Claire County intern. However, we soon got to know each other and became friends. A quick improv version of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” at camp didn’t hurt either.
After camp, I moved on to planning Open Science Days, a new program offered by the extension office to help introduce younger members to the world of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). I hosted three of them during the summer, and each one focused on different aspects of those four core subject areas.
With summer camp and my first open science day behind me, we moved into July, which held big changes including the implementation of the FairEntry system for the Dunn County Fair, a new online entry system. FairEntry opened on June 1 for entries, but once July rolled around it was pretty much nonstop calls with questions all day until the system closed on July 5. It was hectic but the 4-H families were understanding and patient with the implementation of this new system, and for that I could not be more thankful. After the entries were all in the system, it was time for the fair.
New view of the fair
Seeing the fair through an administrator’s point of view was certainly different than what I was used to. I saw all of the backstage things that need to happen in order to pull off a successful fair, including the approval of fair entries, printing tags, pen counts, and working with superintendents to make sure each department had everything they needed — and much more.
In August, I turned my sights to my last Open Science Day and Cloverbud Day Camp. The final Open Science Day focused around volcanoes and how they work. My final benchmark of the summer was Cloverbud day camp. It was the second day camp I had planned for Cloverbuds, the first being a day at summer camp with Eau Claire County.
This is an opportunity for the younger members of 4-H, Cloverbuds, to have a camp experience. Cloverbuds are members who are enrolled in Kindergarten through second grade as of Jan. 1. This year’s Cloverbud camp was zoo-themed and it was quite fun to plan all of the details and remember going to the zoo for the first time.
Overall, this summer has been quite the experience and has allowed me to have many different opportunities that I never would have had without this internship. I am so glad that I had this chance and I will never forget my time as the summer intern.
I learned many aspects about UW-Extension that I didn’t know before this internship, like the distinction between Extension and the fair board, and about how much each person in extension works and cares about the citizens of Dunn County. I also learned a lot of skills that will help me in my future career as a nurse, such as prioritization, interpersonal skills, and how to effectively manage hectic situations. Thank you to Dunn County UW-Extension and all of the 4-H families that made my experience as the 4-H summer intern a great one!