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Seven Years of 4-H@UMaine and Loving Every Second of It

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Newsletter written by 4-H youths, Mason and Laurel

In May, 74 kids ages of 12 to 18 came to the University of Maine in Orono to spend the weekend taking classes to help figure out what they would like to major in when the day comes to send out their applications to the many colleges that would be lucky to have them.

The most popular weekend activities occurred at the New Balance Student Recreation Center, where kids got the chance to either swim or play a friendly game of kickball. Workshops focused on such topics as composites and nanotechnology, dance team, GIS, kinesiology, aquaculture, field skills in forestry, chemical engineering, water and watersheds, starting a business that pops, astronomy — bright stars and black holes, food science, assistive technology and agriculture, and news reporting. 4-H@UMaine ran concurrently with another youth program on campus, the Maine Invention Convention.

UMaine Cooperative Extension Staff Members, Mitch Mason, Debra Kantor and Debbie Lancaster

UMaine Cooperative Extension Staff Members, Mitch Mason, Debra Kantor and Debbie Lancaster, photo by Mason

The UMaine 4-H weekend gives kids the opportunity to explore a college campus and their future options. Mitch Mason, a UMaine Extension staff member from Cumberland County, says 4-H@ UMaine is about “young people exploring universities for their future.” Debbie Lancaster from Hancock County, a mother of two 4-H weekend participants and a volunteer for the event, says, “It is a fantastic weekend and it has inspired my daughter to look at amazing colleges that might suit her.”

For the past three years, Time Warner Cable has provided grants for 4-H@UMaine. Because the grants were only given for a limited time, 4-H@UMaine is now looking for new sponsors. Budget cuts have resulted in the UMaine weekend being reduced from two overnight stays to one night. “We’re trying not to raise entry fees for participants,” says Mason, talking about ongoing fundraising efforts. Debra Kantor from Somerset County, coordinator of the weekend, agrees that the 4-H program is a good way for kids to branch out. “There are so many things to learn that you just weren’t aware of,” she says.

Meet the writing team

The 2013 4-H@UMaine weekend featured a News Writing 101 workshop in which six talented young writers spent the morning interviewing and writing stories for this newsletter, as well as composing letters to the editor for their hometown papers, reflecting on the 100th anniversary of 4-H in Maine this year.


Laurel, 4-H@UMaine 2013 Writing Team

Laurel lives with her parents, three sisters and a cat. The high school student likes to read, write and blog. In her high school band, she plays flute and piccolo. Her hero is her Aunt Jessica because she went to Auburn University and worked for Disney. Most of the people in Laurel’s family are lawyers and she admires her aunt’s ambition to be different. Laurel hopes to go to Auburn to study journalism and photography.   By Dillon



Dillon, 4-H@UMaine 2013 Writing Team

Dillon attends middle school. When he’s not busy participating in 4-H activities or competing with the math team, he is planning a community garden and working on his family’s garden. He says a community garden would help to bring everyone together. Dillon says his inspiration comes from his mother. He enjoys shows like NCIS and would like to become a crime scene investigator. He plans to attend UMaine or Colby College.  By Laurel



Bronwyn, 4-H@UMaine 2013 Writing Team

Bronwyn is homeschooled. She has three siblings, likes to cook, play piano and go horseback riding. Since Bronwyn is graduating two years early, she is planning on taking speed reading, critical reasoning and business classes to become an event planner or a chef. She has come to 4-H@UMaine for a fifth year to learn more about leadership. She has recently started playing piano.     By Traci



Riley, 4-H@UMaine 2013 Writing Team

Riley is a 6th grader on the honor roll who likes singing and swimming. Some day, she would like to attend Maine Maritime Academy in hopes of being a kindergarten teacher somewhere in the world she has never been. She has always enjoyed young children and loves to travel. Riley is inspired by many people, including her father and Michael, her favorite author. In her spare time, she loves to listen to music and hang out with friends.  By Mason



Mason, 4-H@UMaine 2013 Writing Team

Mason is homeschooled. Her favorite sport is archery. She has an older sister and a younger brother. She also has a dog. In her spare time, she plays piano and soccer. When Mason graduates, she wants to go to Harvard University to become an environmental lawyer. Her source of inspiration is her grandfather. What really makes her happy is riding her horse, Zippiwood (Mia). Her favorite place is in the woods, going hunting.   By Riley



Traci, 4-H@UMaine 2013 Writing Team

Traci attends middle school. Her favorite subject is math and she has been in 4-H for three years. She likes to play the trumpet and piano, and sing. When she grows up, she wants to be in the food industry or food business. She has always wanted to go to Harvard or continue the family tradition of going to Princeton. This is Traci’s second year coming to 4-H@UMaine, which she says is a good opportunity to learn leadership.  By Bronwyn


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