Bouncing back from lackluster participation last year, Brookings Livestock Company 4-H now boasts 20 members with animal projects for this year's Curry County Fair.
andquot;Ann Whaley, John Jacobson and myself got things going and encouraged everyone to join,andquot; said Marion Carrillo, who teaches third grade at Kalmiopsis School.
Distributing handouts through the school and listing the club's meeting times in The Pilot generated a good response, said Carrillo.
Many more children wanted to join but didn't sign up by the deadline, said Carrillo, whose daughters Rachel and Michelle have been active in 4-H for several years.
andquot;So we're on a roll,andquot; said Carrillo. andquot;Now we need support from business because we have all these animals to auction off.andquot;
Club members are raising 44 market animals 23 lambs, 19 pigs and two steer for the auction, not counting rabbits, guinea pigs and poultry.
That means a lot of time spent on care, feeding and training of the animals, with opportunities to teach children important skills.
andquot;They develop speaking skills for presentations, and how to dress,andquot; said Carrillo. andquot;They learn how to answer judges' questions and show the animals.andquot;
Charlotte Smith, 10, who has a mini-Rex rabbit, described some of the things she has learned as she gets ready to show it at the fair.
andquot;I have to get her to flip over, stretch her legs,andquot; said Charlotte, andquot;get used to doing the show parts, where you do showmanship.andquot;
The club's meetings were held at Kalmiopsis until summer break, and since then have been held at Town and Country Animal Clinic in Harbor.
Topics at meetings include record-keeping, feeding and weigh-in, worming and medications, said Marion Carrillo.
One of the advantages of 4-H is learning skills not taught in handbooks and manuals, said 16-year-old Michelle Carrillo.
andquot;When I first started out with my lamb, I didn't know much,andquot; said Michelle. andquot;There's a handbook, but you learn stuff like how to maintain eye contact from others.andquot;
Having a calm animal makes a big difference in how easy it is to raise and train animals for presentation at auction, explained Rachel Carrillo, 11.
andquot;Otherwise, it's hard to get to know them and stuff,andquot; said Rachel, andquot;because they're all jumpy and won't do what you want.andquot;
Rachel's pig may not be skittish, but it isn't complacent, either.
andquot;My dad came home and found the pigs running around the deck,andquot; said Rachel, adding her pig chased the family's dog.
andquot;We decided to call her Freedom because she had her freedom that day,andquot; said Rachel.
Alycia Jacobson, 11, agreed training sheep was a lot of work, but said that it's fun.
andquot;For the first couple of weeks, I just walked it around with a halter,andquot; said Alycia, adding she has started rehearsing for the auction with her father.
See 4-H, Page 6Bandquot;I started acting like he was the judge and I was showing the sheep,andquot; said Alycia.
Alycia's father, veterinarian John Jacobson, said he and other 4-H leaders hope local business owners will support 4-H at the fair's livestock auction.
andquot;We're looking for a lot of support from community business,andquot; said Jacobson. andquot;We have lots of animals, so we need lots of support.andquot;