Retreats and more Retreats. Plus Other Stuff.

April 29, 2014

Hey Pennsylvania 4-Hers!
I have had quite the 4-H filled month, let me tell you.  I started off the beginning of April at the Buckeye Leadership Workshop in Ohio, which my 4-H camp sent me to as training for being a Senior Counselor at camp this year.  I have been looking forward to going to Buckeye ever since I started counseling 4 years ago.  Basically, it's camp for adults. There were teenagers there who were my age and younger, as well as many adults who have been attending BLW for over 20 years! People came from all over the states AND CANADA to be at BLW.  Although not everyone there was in 4-H, most people at least had a connection to 4-H, whether they were an educator, leader, or former member.  I met State Council members from other states, like Ohio, Tennessee, and Florida.  Learning how every state does it a little differently was very interesting (I'm of course partial to the way we run things). It was kind of cool to go back and be a camper again after being a counselor for so long.  
Not long after I got back from Buckeye, I found out that I was accepted as a trend spotter for the 4-H Mall! Every month, I submit designs to the 4-H Mall, and they are considered to be sold at the store. As a fashion major, I think this is going to be a great experience working with two things I love: 4-H and fashion!
But the highlight of this 4-H month was the Western PA Teen Leadership Retreat.  The theme this year was Cirque du 4-H, and the dining hall was set up to look like a circus and each Senior Counselor was dressed up like a different circus character (that is why my Facebook profile picture is so weird).  This was my first year as a Senior Counselor for TLR, and I was excited and nervous all at the same time.  Not only was this the first time I conducted interviews to help select the camp counselors for Jr. and Intermediate 4-H camp in June, it was my first time teaching a workshop all by myself to my peers.  I taught a workshop on creative thinking, which ended up being a lot more creative than I originally thought.  I had two groups complete brain teaser worksheets, and they could get hints by performing challenges. Here are some examples of different challenges they had to do:
Come up with an original team handshake 
Make up and perform a song about how awesome Sophie is 
Use Sophie’s phone to take a group selfie 
Say the alphabet backwards as a team (without messing up!) 
Sing “Grey Squirrel” twice with a British accent 
Have the whole group loudly sing “I Love You” from Barney while holding hands 
Lay down in a line with your head on a teammate’s belly and play the HA game
 Have someone ask my stuffed cat out on a creative date (if he rejects you it doesn’t count!) 
Name the seven Dwarfs from Disney 
Give the opposing team one answer that they don’t have that you do 
Have the whole group run around pretending to be magical unicorns 
Have 6 group members do their best impression of each senior counselor 
Correctly sing “I’m a super 4-H’er” 
Have the group pretend they are performing in a circus as trained seals with 1 trainer
And you can bet I videotaped every embarrassing second. Now my next creative challenge is to figure out how to set all those songs about me as my ringtone...After 3 great days that I couldn't even begin to explain and still sound like a sane human being, my final TLR was at an end.  It's crazy to think that only one person who was at my first TLR was there at the last.  It was a little strange for me to think that there was nobody left for me to look up to, because I was the Senior Counselor that all the younger 4-Hers had as an example.  I hope that I was a good one.  If I could explain the weekend in one picture, it would be this. Have a magnificent May!Sophie Hutchinson, Council Representative and part-time ferocious catToodles.

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