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, says 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 will be selected and announced July 1.
"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 adds. "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 says 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 says.
* 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 in this "real-time" challenge, says Holly Bignall, 4-H program coordinator with ISU Extension's 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 says.
"We appreciate Bratney Companies continued sponsorship of this event," she adds. "Their dedication to helping youth develop skills is advancing our next generation of leaders in science and technology, which ultimately impacts the future of our state."
* 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 says.
"Interested youth may apply in three-member teams, in pairs or individually, in which case we will match you with other youth," she explains. 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 will be held throughout the 2012 State 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 says.
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. "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 notes. "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 says. "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."