4-H Announces Special Events for 2012 Iowa State Fair

AMES, Iowa – A youth robotics challenge and a culinary challenge are two of the featured Iowa 4-H events at the 2012 Iowa State Fair.

The Bratney Companies 4-H Robotics Challenge and Cook This! 4-H Culinary Challenge return to the 4-H Exhibits Building for five days of competition, said Shelly Greving, marketing director for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development. Applications for both events are available online from the Iowa 4-H website. Iowa teens and pre-teens may apply now to participate in these events.

Applications for both events will be accepted until June 1, and teams selected and announced July 1, Greving said.

“This is an opportunity for any of Iowa’s youth to participate in science and cooking. Applicants do not have to be 4-H members to apply for these team challenges. However, at least one member of each team must be a 4-H’er,” Greving said. “We hope that many youth, even those who are not enrolled in 4-H, will apply to participate. If selected, they will get to see first-hand what 4-H is all about.”

Greving said it’s easy to join 4-H. “Simply contact your local Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office, find a club that suits your interests and sign up. More information about how to join 4-H is on the 4-H website,” she said.

Robotics Challenge

Robotics Challenge Aug. 10-11

The third annual Bratney Companies 4-H Robotics Challenge takes place Friday, Aug. 10, for the junior division, grades 5-8, and Saturday, Aug. 11, for the senior division, grades 9-12.

Iowa youth will show off their robot designing and programming skills is in this “real-time” challenge, said Holly Bignall, 4-H program coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach Science, Engineering and Technology (E-SET). Robotics clubs or teams composed of three to 10 youth and up to two adult leaders/coaches may participate.

“Real time means your team arrives at the event not knowing what the challenges will be. The challenges are announced at the event and your team must work together to design a robot to meet each of the challenges. At the end of the working period, you’ll enter the Challenge Field and set loose your robots to the cheers of spectators,” Bignall said.

“We appreciate Bratney Companies continued sponsorship of this event,” Bignall said. “Their dedication to helping youth develop skills is advancing our next generation of leaders in the areas of science and technology, which ultimately impacts the future of our state.”

Cook This!Cook This! Aug. 12-14

The third annual Cook This! 4-H Culinary Challenge, Aug. 12-14, gives teams of fifth through 12th grade youth the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity in food preparation as well as their knowledge of kitchen equipment, menu preparation and their ability to identify produce, cuts of meat and other food items. Ten teams will participate at each of three age levels, Greving said.

“Interested youth may apply in three-member teams, in pairs or individually, in which case we will match you with other youth,” Greving said.

The junior level competition, grades 5-6, takes place Sunday, Aug. 12; the intermediate level, grades  7-8, on Monday, Aug. 13; and the senior level, grades 9-12 on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

Exhibits and Activities throughout the Fair, Aug. 9-19

“Every year the 4-H Exhibits Building features well over 3,000 exhibits from 4-H’ers around the state. That usually includes more than 800 photographs, an assortment of delectable baked goods, fantastic furnishings and other unique items,” Greving said.

Each day of the fair, visitors to the 4-H Exhibits Building can watch educational presentations and Share-the-Fun entertainment shows, and participate in hands-on learning stations, Greving added. “There will be something to see and do every day of the fair.”

Other Events to Return in 2013

Two events from 2011, the Iowa 4-H Film Festival and the Stitch This! 4-H Design Challenge, will return to the Iowa State Fair in 2013, Greving noted. “We will be evaluating and refining both events over the next year to develop new and improved challenges for 2013.”

The Research behind the Challenges

There’s a reason ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development offers educational challenges for youth at the Iowa State Fair, Greving said. “Youth development research shows that youth perceive competitive events as a way to learn new things, develop skills, set goals and achieve excellence.

“These 4-H challenge events provide an opportunity for all youth to become engaged in learning and have a sense of accomplishment as they practice problem solving, meet new people, work as a team and have fun.”