Chloe H. ’24, a Carondelet High School senior, involved in Cross Country and Track on campus has a unique hobby that takes up her after-school time. Chloe has been a part of her local 4-H Youth Program for eight years. Through educating students on farming skills, the program teaches leadership, community participation, and respect. In her 4-H program, she has been the leader of the Pocket Pets Project for the past seven years, Poultry Team Leader, and the Vice President of the Lamorinda 4-H Club (where she will become the president in the next year).
“Over the years I have done fiber arts, public speaking, vet science, pocket pets, goats, swine, rabbits, poultry, and financial literacy projects in 4-H. This year I did fiber arts, pocket pets, goats, rabbits, poultry, and financial literacy. I raised a market goat this year as well as meat rabbits. I also started my own breeding program for rabbits and will be going to shows this summer. I also have exhibition poultry that I show.”
Chloe recently won Novice Dog Showmanship and was moved up to advanced where she won third place; she also won her Dog Obedience division. With the three chickens she raised and showed she won Best of Division, Poultry Advanced Showmanship, and second place in Master Showmanship. With her goat she got first in their Weight Class and fourth in Novice Goat Showmanship. With her breeding rabbits she also won Best of Breed, an Honorable Mention for Best in Show, fifth place in Showmanship, and Reserve Champion for her meat rabbit pen.
“Through my time in poultry I also started avian bowl, which is a jeopardy-style knowledge bowl about chickens and other poultry. I have been doing this for five years and this past February my team won at the state level and will travel to Kentucky in November for the national competition.”
4-H competitions are more than just prancing an animal around a ring. Along with raising her livestock, Chloe must practice her showmanship. Part of her evaluation relies on her knowledge about the animal. The Showmanship Evaluation involves an examination, presenting the animal to the judge, and general knowledge on the specific breed and species.
In talking about her responsibilities for 4-H Chloe had to say “Prepping the animals for show is not too much work. For the small animals I just have to wash them. For the larger livestock such as goats and pigs, you have to clip them as well. This process takes no more than a few hours. As for preparing myself, it is much harder. I study and practice all year so I can do my best.”
Chloe has competed in various shows throughout California and even Oregon. This summer she will be traveling for rabbit, poultry, and goat shows. She is currently preparing for her biggest events, a Meat Rabbit Show at the California State Fair and the Avian Bowl at the Orange County in July.
“I am very proud of how I am doing in 4-H. While I have so much more room for improvement, every year I feel like I learn something new. I have learned so much from competing in 4-H such as respect, commitment, and sportsmanship. I have learned that everyone is on their own journey and to support them however I can. Even when someone beats me in a competition, I always congratulate and celebrate them with all my heart. 4-H is more than winning competitions. It is about the connections and friendships you make along the way. I have made so many strong friendships through 4-H and have really found a community that supports me.”
For now, Chloe is preparing for the National Avian Bowl where she hopes to place in the top three. In the future she aims to attend a college and get involved in agriculture and animal science, and she has begun to look into vet schools as well.
“If someone was curious about 4-H, I would tell them to just give it a try. The first half of the year, all 4-H clubs welcome guests at their meetings so people thinking of joining can see what the community is all about. The 4-H program is for kids 5-19 and you can join at any time. There are so many opportunities for all ages and beginners are always welcome.”
Congratulations and amazing job Chloe! We wish you the best of luck in your upcoming competitions!