Sarah Tarjeson, 4-H Youth Development Educator
Anticipation, Excitement, Disappointment, Social Distancing, Uncertainty met with Teamwork, Leadership, Perseverance, Practice, Perfection. That’s my best effort at describing the Renegades in 2020! The year began with invitations for 2 of our teams to perform in the first-ever Drill Team Champion’s Challenge at State Fair. More than 40 4-H Youth signed up to participate in this year’s drill team. Tryouts began, coaches met, preparations made for the upcoming season. Excitement built. Then everything stopped.
We waited with everyone else – hoping something would be allowed. We met over Facebook posts, trying to keep connected. We had an awesome group participate in a Facebook Scavenger Hunt for donated prizes. State Fair canceled. Zoom meetings became the norm. Finally, 2 months after our normal practice start, we got approval to meet in small groups. We lost almost half of our team. We decided to use this year to work on perfecting our technical skills. In groups of 6 to 8 maybe we can find a perfect circle? A perfect pinwheel?
Little did we realize that what would actually develop would be leadership, teamwork, positive attitudes & cooperation! And when you have those things going for you – the technical skills just fall into place. We’ve seen the very best circles & spirals from our youngest team. We’ve watched our best teams go from competitive perfectionists to friends who just naturally got better together. Their smiles and laughter flow as nicely as their routines.
There was so much excitement for getting together again that everyone was a little more flexible and a lot less critical. Yes – we have hand sanitizer, social distancing rules that are followed, signs reminding us of the dangers of ignoring the safety precautions. Our youth have quickly learned to adhere to these new procedures and have taken them all in stride. As we watch patterns unfold and tweaks being made, we see helping hands and soft-spoken explanations. We hear laughter as the youth correct themselves and work through their confusion. We hear suggestions for a different transition from youth who typically went with the flow never voicing their opinions out loud. We see youth not only give suggestions but listen to them as well.
We’re seeing growth and friendships develop that will last well past their 4-H years. They have managed to turn hard work into a lot of fun! We are so proud of this group. What a great future they have!
Submitted by Volunteer Coach Sherry Zittel
A Final Drive-In Performance Scheduled is for September 19th from 1:00-3:00 at Beaver Creek Saddle Club.