Demonstrating excellence in animal science programming
The Arapahoe County CSU Extension 4-H team in June received a Western Regional Award for Excellence in Animal Science Programming, for the Urban Ranchers Day Camp program. The team will be recognized by the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals at a regional brunch in October in Madison, WI, and advanced to the national award competition.
Urban Ranchers Day Camp–a weeklong program led by Arapahoe County CSU Extension 4-H staff and volunteers—was created in 2015 to connect County youth from urban areas with youth from rural communities and help bridge the gap in knowledge of where food comes from. The camp gives youth the chance to experience what it is like to work on a ranch or farm.
Each year, youth ages 8 to 13 attend Urban Ranchers Camp and care for farm animals, from feeding and watering to grooming goats. Campers learn how to take care of many livestock species, including cattle, chickens, horses, sheep and rabbits, and receive a basic animal science education on livestock skeletal structures, how they move, and how they digest food.
Campers get hands-on experience with Western agricultural activities, including sheep-shearing, roping lessons, horse handling and cattle branding, and are introduced to careers in animal science. The program culminates in a goat show, where campers demonstrate their newly learned showmanship skills and answer questions in front of a large audience.
“It’s rewarding to see these kids shine by the end of the program, says Arapahoe County CSU Extension 4-H & Livestock Extension Agent Ethan Cahill. “In a short amount of time, they develop important life skills by learning how to handle and care for their animal. We have seen families join 4-H as a result of the program, to stay connected and continue to grow their interest in animal science.”
Parents each year give the camp high reviews, highlighting the value of exposure to livestock for kids who don’t live on a farm and for giving youth the chance to be hands-on with animals.
Last week, Urban Ranchers Camp was held at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds with 15 youth from the Denver metro area and 25 youth from Buckley Space Force Base in Aurora. Arapahoe County 4-H supports Buckley’s youth through a partnership with the base’s Child Development Center and Youth Centers. 4-H staff provide educational program opportunities, including STEM, agriculture literacy, gardening, and healthy living.
Special recognition goes to Arapahoe County CSU Extension 4-H Outreach Program Supervisor Claudia Meeks and 4-H & Livestock Extension Agent Ethan Cahill for demonstrating effective leadership in program development and implementation, and to the entire Arapahoe County CSU Extension team.
To learn more about Arapahoe County 4-H, program enrollment, and other CSU Extension programs and services, visit https://arapahoe.extension.colostate.edu