Youth Pages

The youth pages are written by and for young people. Many thanks to the 4-H’ers from Yates County who contributed to this issue. We believe there’s a bright future for young farmers in the Northeast. Whether you live on a farm or only wish you did, we’d love to hear from you.
More information about the Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development program can be found at:

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Lucca Sacheli (right) with his prize winning rooster in and crowing contest certificate (and with his brother and sister!) Courtesy of Lucca Sacheli.

Master of the Crow
By Lucca Sacheli, Age 7. Onion Patch Kids 4-H Club
My name is Lucca and I am 7 years-old. I have had a rooster for 3 years. His name is Phineas. I showed him at the fair. He won 2nd place in the crowing contest. The crowing contest is my favorite contest at the fair except for the barn yard Olympics. You put your rooster in a cage and cover his cage to make it dark for 1 hour. The judge tells you to uncover the cage and you count how many times your rooster crows. You can tell him to crow, ask him to crow and beg him to crow but you can’t scare him or hurt him to make him crow. 4-H teaches you how to take care of animals. I like playing with my friends at 4-H.
For more information about the 4-H poultry project, please visit:

My Experience as a “Shepherdess”
By Lydia Sacheli, Age 8. Onion Patch Kids 4-H Club

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The princess, Lydia Sacheli, with a lamb. Courtesy of Lydia Sacheli.

My name is Lydia Sacheli and I am 8 years-old. I live on an onion farm and I am in 4-H. This is my 1st year as a 4-H’er and I was a Cloverbud for 3 years. I have been a shepherdess for 3 years. I have 5 sheep right now that are grown up. I hope my 2 ewe (girl) sheep have babies this spring. I also have a bottle lamb. Our friend Mr. Reifsteck asked me to take care of him until he is weaned. That means until he doesn’t need milk anymore. His name is Ozzie and he is my 6th bottle lamb to raise. I raise him for free because Mr. Reifsteck gives me a deal on shearing my grown up sheep. Raising a bottle lamb is fun because he can run around the house. He wears size 4T diapers so he doesn’t make a mess. You can’t house train a sheep. Raising sheep teaches you how to be a parent (just of a different species).

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Lydia Sacheli with Ozzie, her 6th bottle lamb who she is raising on a barter with her neighbor for shearing services. Courtesy of Lydia Sacheli. 

I can make money from my 4-H sheep projects because I can sell wool at our farm market booth for projects like spinning or needle felting. Needle felting is one of the oldest fiber crafts. I am doing a public presentation for 4-H on how to needle felt. 4-H is good because you learn how to do fun things and then you get to practice teaching others. I learned how to do a power point to help my presentation. 4-H is really fun because you hang out with your friends and do fun things at the same time. I want to be in 4-H for life!!!
For more information about the sheep project, please visit:

Skinks Don’t Stink!
By Lucian Sacheli, Age 9. Onion Patch Kids 4-H Club
My name is Lucian and I am 9 years -old. I am in the 4th grade at Marcus Whitman’s Valley Elementary School. This is my 4thyear in 4-H. I am interested in many things. I am currently studying taxidermy. My room looks like a natural history museum because I have a taxidermied tail collection that I taxidermied myself for 4-H.

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Lucian Sacheli with his Blue-Tongued Skink, Rexy, just one of his many non-traditional 4-H projects. Courtesy of Lucian Sacheli.

I have a collection of eggs from different species of birds. I have a peacock and have a bouquet of peacock feathers that I have collected. I have a bunch of natural projects I made. I have a bug collection. My favorite bug in my collection is the scorpion—I got interested in bugs because I found a dead scorpion at the Yates County Fair at the petting zoo that had come from Texas in a load of hay. I also have a fossil collection.
I do many animal science projects (raising chickens, peacocks, guinea hens, and my lizard) but my Lizard project is my favorite. His name is Rexy and I have had him for 3 years. He is an adult Blue-Tongued Skink. He is about 18 inches long. Skinks are interesting because they have a blue tongue. They are omnivores, which means they eat both meat and plants. They are one of the only reptiles who have live born young. They also have a neat defense mechanism because they have the ability to drop their tail when a predator grabs it. The nerves make the tail keep twitching for the next 2 minutes to give a chance to get away while the predator keeps holding on to it. Their tail grows back in about 3 years.
I love being in 4-H because I can see my best friend Justice and study science, which I love. I want to be a 4-H’er for life.
For more information about natural science projects:

Reaching Out to Touch the Hearts of Others with Miniature Horses
By Jessica Gulvin, Age 16. 4-H Teen Council and Teen Ambassadors

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Jessica Gulvin brings her Miniature Horse, Chloe, to the Homestead Nursing Home in Penn Yan as a creative pet therapy animal. Courtesy of Jessica Gulvin.

I’ve always wanted to find a way to help others who love animals, but can’t get out to see them. About three years ago, I thought of a community service project that I could do for 4-H. “There are therapy dogs that visit those less able, why can’t I have a miniature horse of therapy and do the same.” I knew I had the perfect horse for the project.
Through a high school drama production, my miniature horse Chloe became a people friendly, extremely calm, safe and loveable horse. Through this production, she received training as students danced in circles around her with lots of sounds, flashes, screams, and bombs. For this production, we found sneakers built for mini horses that protect their hooves and the floors.
We then began taking her to The Homestead Nursing Home and public events. The residents fell in love with Chloe and kept asking for her to come back. As word spread about Chloe, more and more places began requesting for her to visit with the residents. We have also visited a Nursing Home in Waterloo, the VA in Canandaigua, and Rainbow Junction Daycare. What was once a community service project for 4-H, is now my mission that I hope to continue into my adulthood.

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Homestead Nursing Home resident reminisces about having horses when she was growing up. The staff at the nursing home said she hadn’t smiled in weeks until Chloe came to visit. Now her room is a regular stop for Chloe! Courtesy of Jessica Gulvin.


Recently, Chloe and I have been attending public activities such as Starshine in Penn Yan and the Marcus Whitman Middle and High Schools. Chloe’s love and ability to make someone smile has deeply touched me. When I introduce someone to Chloe their face lights up with joy. To watch them talk with her as her ears move to the voice tones, is just heart touching and is truly what keeps me bringing Chloe back.
“Reaching out to touch the hearts of others with miniature horses” has been the focus for my community service projects for the past few years, and is a service that I plan to continue doing for the public.
For more information about the 4-H horse project please visit:

4-H & K-9’s
By Kylie Hill, Age 16. Creative Country Crew 4-H Club
Many opportunities arise for a 4-H’er that never would have been available to them otherwise. As an 8thyear 4-H’er, I have experienced many fun and interesting things and gained a lot of knowledge to use throughout my adult life. It’s all about the enjoyment you get through your experiences and projects. I love my animal science projects the best. I currently have ongoing horse, goat, dog, geese, chicken, duck and pigeon projects. I even raised sheeps and pigs in the past.

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Kylie Hill with her dog, Kiki, at the 2010 New York State Fair. Courtesy of Kylie Hill. 

I have done the canine project for 8 years. I started with our family dog, Sammy, for my first year in 4-H. I was nine years old at the time and always had a love for animals. It was only natural to expand my knowledge in this area. I started out learning basic commands, obedience, grooming and handling. I showed my first year in our county fair and did quite well. I used the money I earned in 4-H to buy my own dog, an Australian Shepherd, named Kiki. I continued my 4-H project with my new puppy. I trained her well and took more obedience classes through our 4-H program. I started to show her at our county fairs, other 4-H shows and even some open shows. I learned dog anatomy, health, nutrition, breeds, origins and tons of other information. Kiki and I grew together and became inseparable.
As a Teen Leader, I have shared my skills by helping younger kids in the 4-H program get started in their canine projects and assisting in obedience classes within our 4-H families.  My mom, a 4-H leader, and I even brought agility to our own Yates County Fair a few years back.
Kiki and I have won numerous ribbons at our county fair, but we even made it to the State Fair for the last few years too. The first year was definitely an eye opener for us as we watched, learned and asked questions. In addition to showing my dog, I had other opportunities to expand on my canine project like attending the “Dog Expo.” This gives me the chance to sit and listen to others’ knowledge on different canine subjects and ask any questions I may have. I also use my experience with dogs and help out at our local shelter, The Shelter of Hope.
My history with 4-H and the knowledge I’ve learned from my animal science projects even helped me receive a job with the Eastview Veterinary Clinic. 4-H is a fantastic program and can help any child or teen grow and learn through hands on experiences. I have met many people that have turned into mentors or friends for life.
For more information about raising dogs visit:

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Rachel Whiteheart

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