UNL Events Offer Youth Skill-Development, Long-term Benefits

UNL Events Offer Youth Skill-Development, Long-term Benefits

June 27, 2008

UNL's annual Premier Animal Science Events and Life Challenge provide benefits to 4-H'ers even into college.

Just ask someone who has done it before

"I really liked doing the Life Challenge," said Marie Bolin, a 17-year-old from Eagle. "It involves solving problems and responding to real-life situations."

Bolin will join UNL as a freshman majoring in textiles and design in the fall.

She said the event was a good opportunity to have fun and make new friends while seeing East Campus. Bolin also said the event helped her gain experience in solving real problems. One activity she said her group did one year was to come up with a nutritious food item and find a way to market it.

PASE and Life Challenge will be at the Animal Science Building and East Campus Union respectively. They both take place June 30-July 1.

PASE focuses on activities in animal science while Life Challenge focuses on activities including a food challenge, wardrobe challenge and design challenge. Both events emphasize students using their problem-solving and critical skills in the activities.

Grant Melotz, an 18-year-old from Omaha who will join UNL as a freshman in the fall, shared some of the same experiences as Bolin. He said he's been attending PASE since the age of 12.

This year the dairy judging section of PASE has been moved to the Nebraska State Fair, but back in the day Melotz competed in dairy judging in PASE every year. One year he won a trip to Madison, Wis., for a national dairy judging exposition.

Though he has decided to major in mechanized systems engineering instead of animal science, he said PASE made the decision tough for him.

"It made me really want to pursue a degree in animal science," Melotz said. "I at least want to take a few classes in animal science and be diverse in case I decide to come back to the family farm."

He said the event allowed him to see animal science facilities and equipment and what the animal science major would be like firsthand.

Kristine Spath, a 4-H program manager, is managing PASE and Life Challenge for the first time this year. She said she expects nearly 400 people to take part in the event. Many people are interested in PASE and Life Challenge, Spath said, because of their background and their involvement in 4-H projects.

"I think the participation in this event follows what the 4-H program emphasizes," Spath said, "and that is life skill development and career development."

Various workshops also will be offered during breaks of the two-day event. On Monday June 30, in response to UNL's new hospitality, restaurant and tourism management major, a hospitality, restaurant and tourism management workshop will be held in back-to-back sessions. They will be taught by Robin DiPietro, extension specialist in nutrition and health sciences, and Lisa Pennisi, extension specialist in agricultural leadership, education and communication.

A companion animal workshop will be offered for one session by Lisa Karr-Lillienthal, extension specialist in animal science, and Kathy Potthoff, a 4-H coordinator in 4-H Youth Development.

Spath said another thing they are offering this year is a volunteer workshop. The workshop is designed for parents of those attending PASE and Life Challenge who may need something to do. It will give them tips on volunteering for 4-H.

"4-H is always looking for volunteers," Spath said. "When you are looking for volunteers, if you give them the tools they need to be successful, they're more likely to volunteer."

Spath said she hopes that skills learned at PASE and Life Challenge can be put to good use in future career choices and in every day life.

"I hope that kids that participate would be able to go home and share their positive experiences with other kids and even adults in their communities," she said.

Melotz recommends the event to others.

"If a person wants to do it, they should try it," he said. "You don't always have to get first to have the most fun."

For more information about PASE and Life Challenge, visit the Web at http://pase.unl.edu or call Spath at (402) 472-9023.

Nebraska 4-H is part of UNL's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.