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4-H Teen Council Leadership Retreat at Camp Overlook, December 8-10, 2017

17 teens from St. Lawrence, Jefferson, and Lewis Counties participated in a weekend leadership retreat at Camp Overlook from December 8 th to the 10th. The teens arrived at Camp Friday evening and after introductions and ice breakers were off to the proverbal races. Saturday was packed full. The teens started the day with a hike to explore Camp Overlook. Lewis County talked about how their teen council functions and what has and has not worked for them and their Extension Educator. The Lewis County teens also presented a recycling project that they implemented at their county fair. They were very successful in their county and would like to expand this success to other counties and State Fair. The St. Lawrence County teens lead a nutrition activity called “Re-think Your Drink” from Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness curriculum, after which they made healthy smoothies as a snack. New York State 4-H recently released, with the help of teens at the state level, a Safe Space Logo. One of the activities was learning and talking about diversity versus inclusion and what it meant to have a safe space logo. There were leadership development and team building activities throughout the day. Much as the day started, we ended with a night hike where the teens got to sing some camp songs and try to create an echo off of Owl’s Head. Sunday was flurry of activity as Lewis and Jefferson County youth needed to head out early. St. Lawrence County teens when on another hike and played games while waiting on rides. Below are three teens summaries of the retreat.

"My Camp Overlook weekend was great. I met new people and saw some pretty amazing sites. Conner and I stayed in our own house with Andrew. I loved his dog Jackson he was great.
This weekend we got to hang out with Jefferson, Lewis , and St. Lawrence people. I met new people like Madeline, Micheala, Abby, and Shania. With Micheala, Abby, Shania, and Roach we listened to music and talked like the entire time. We all played games like human tic-tac-toe and farkle and barkle.”
-- Xander Dowling

“Camp Overlook was amazing! We played some games and hung out with other counties. But some parts were really boring to be honest. The lessons that we had to listen to were pretty boring. But then they tied games into the lessons also. I’m really glad that I came because I would have regretted not coming. I met new friends also which was pretty cool. When we were on a walk we saw a few coyote tracks and a bald eagle. It’s good not to be stuck in one place and even though it was a little icy, we went on some hikes. The night hike was pretty cool cause I honestly didn’t know where I was going but when we got to the beach there were so many starts and I could find so many constellations. Also, the food was really good, vegetarian food and vegan food was included. Every morning or when ever you could make yourself hot chocolate, or tea which was really good. It was pretty fun doing chores with your friends because it went so much faster. The view is also amazing, but I wish we could stay longer. When we went out in the woods there were “fairy houses” and people tried to go in them, which was pretty funny. We also listened to a lot of music. Packing all my stuff was the worst part because I brought a lot and it means we have to leave. Thank you for reading!”
-- Emily Pedersen

“We went to Camp Overlook with Jefferson and Lewis County. We played a bunch of games like TIC TAC TOE. It was like a human version. Andrew brought his dog Jackson and they stayed in a different cabin with Xander and Conner. I met a bunch of new friends from Jefferson County. I also got to hang out with the people I already knew coming here. We stayed in the Great Lodge. I slept in the Alcoa Room while others stayed in the Sweetgrass Room. Overall the trip was pretty fun. My favorite thing was getting to meet new people and getting to know literally everyone better.”
-- Rochelle Stamper

4-Her’s Help with Lights On The River 2017, December 15, 2017

The 8th Annual Lights On The River at Lisbon Beach was nightly from December 15 th to December 23rd. “The event was set against the backdrop of the St. Lawrence River and contained holiday themed light displays designed by the community.” There was no fee for admission, but a food or monetary donation for North Country food pantries. More information can be found at

4-H teens Emily Pedersen and Shannen Gallegher help to create some of the displays. 4-H youth helped to collect donations on the opening day of the event. Thank you to the Gallegher’s, the St. Pier’s, Maddy Gushlaw, Emily Pedersen, Avery Hawn, the Doan’s, the Beaver’s, and Emma McDougall for your assistance with greeting guests to Lights On The River and collecting donations.

Agri-Business Career Conference, October 19th-20th, 2017

The New York State 4-H Agri-Business Career (ABC) Conference is held at SUNY Cobleskill and local agri-businesses. This career exploration conference is open to all youth ages 14 and over who wish to become more aware of opportunities with agriculture and academic requirements for professional positions available in various agri-businesses. It featured mini tours of farms and other businesses in the Cobleskill area, as well as seminars, guest speakers, and guided tours of the SUNY Cobleskill agricultural facilities.

We had six youth represent St. Lawrence, Jefferson, and Lewis Counties. Monica Reed (Lewis), Michaela Stephens (Jefferson), Lauren Truesdell (St. Lawrence – SLC), Naomi Moon (SLC), Nick Hamilton-Honey (SLC), Conner St. Pier (SLC), and Shannen Galligher (SLC). The Conference was a brisk-paced two-day event with agri-business mini tour "tracts" and SUNY Cobleskill College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Program workshops. 

The first day our SLC teens went on two separate tracts with two mini tours in each tract. Lauren and Naomi visited Schoharie Valley Farms and the Cobleskill Vet Clinic. Lauren said the following about these tours, “I was intrigued to learn that the farm used to grow strictly carrots but has since expanded its marketability to include other vegetables, mums, poinsettias, etc. The farm also has an on-site farm to table project with the café in their store. They use the vegetables grown on their farm that may not sell to local restaurants. The Cobleskill Vet Clinic has 6 veterinarians; we spoke with Dr. Emily Bristol a mixed practice veterinarian. She showed us their x-ray machines, the surgery room, and the kennels. We discussed the different tools required in surgery, the proper way to take an x-ray, and how they anesthetize their animals. She also showed us their vet truck, which they take with them to the local dairy farms. The truck had multiple compartments and held a variety of tools and medications. Towards the end of our discussion she showed us some worms, bladder stones, and ticks that they had removed from their patients.”

Shannen and Conner visited Beekman Farm, Beekman 1802 Mercantile, and Thistle Hill Weavers. Beekman Farm and Beekman 1802 Mercantile are based around the herd of goats kept by John Hall or Farmer John. The owners of the farm, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, became famous with their show The Fabulous Beekman Boys and added merchandising products, such as soap and cheese, to this success.

Thistle Hill Weavers has been producing “luxurious custom fabrics, carpet and trim for designers, home owners, museums and the film industry” for more than 30 years. Rabbit Goody, owner and master weaver (and before you ask, yes that is her name), has created a mill that “specialize(s) in creating accurate historic reproductions, working from surviving examples, documented patterns and period weavers’ drafts. Our work covers a wide range of periods. We’ve recreated early medieval textiles for the film Beowulf and woven custom fabric for modern high-end handbags.” More information about Thistle Hill can be found at,

The teens returned from these mini tours, and as a tract, worked on preparing presentations on their tours. Each tract split their group into two and presented on one of the mini tours. The time they were given to prepare these presentations was called the “Agriculture Career Investigation Lab.” They were given instruction on creating and delivering their presentations by faculty at SUNY Cobleskill and 4-H educators. Presentations were given at the conclusion of dinner.

“The next day we were given a chance to see the agricultural side of Cobleskill’s campus. I was very excited to see the livestock, canine program, the dairy and calves, and the equine buildings. It made me seriously consider Cobleskill as a viable option as a future college. I loved the campus and the (positive) attitude of the professors,” said Naomi. After the campus tour, the teens got to experience programs within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. These included: Agricultural Business Management & Food Systems; Floriculture, Nursery Management and Landscape Development and Soils/Crops/Turf/Recreation & Sports Area Management; Fisheries & Wildlife Technology; Agricultural Engineering Technology; Dairy Production; Livestock Studies; Equine Studies & Thoroughbred Management; and Canine Behavior.

As a wildlife biologist I was interested in the Fisheries & Wildlife Technology Program, and along with Conner, Shannen, and Naomi we attended this workshop. Naomi said this about the experience, “I did one of the most intriguing things in my life. I spawned fish! We were given the opportunity to squeeze the eggs and sperm out of fish and mix them together with water and iodine to create fertilized eggs! Being interested in aquaculture, this was an important experience when we had found we had collected over 6,000 eggs!” This 5-minute video shows some of that experience.


Cassondra Caswell
Youth and Family Lead
315-379-9192 x235

Last updated January 9, 2018