This blog is a salute to my 4H Tech Club heroes – the leaders. Who are they, and what do they do?
Five years ago, my son started robotics. Robotics held such potential I asked our county’s 4-H program to offer a robotics project. Some areas had robotics clubs, but I wanted more.
In Thomas Edison’s time, there weren’t light bulb clubs. I saw a vision of a 4-H Technology Club, where youth encounter technologies, build skills, and ignite passions.
Challenge: it takes two leaders to begin a club. I am not a scientist. We needed a second leader with a science background. A friend introduced me to Josh Weiland, a web designer. At our first meeting, Josh was friendly. I knew he was the right guy when I told him, “I don’t know much about science, but can organize my way out of a paper bag. If you help with the science, it would work, ” and he laughed.
4-H began a push to cultivate 1 million new American scientists. Our club could help that happen in Evansville, Indiana.
So our Tech Club began 4 years ago. Since then, Dana Nelson (a social media strategist) and Mark Keller (an engineer) have joined our team of leaders. They all share their unique strengths with the club.
Each year, we host workshops in computers, electricity, aerospace, and robotics. We’ve brought in guest speakers including a brain surgeon, toured an airport, and practiced hands-on robotics programming as guests of a college programming class.
Josh is the fun leader who adds zing. Each year, we’ve played laser tag at our completion party. Josh loves it, and club members conspire to ”get Josh.”
Josh, Dana, and Mark give workshops in their areas of expertise. Mark has taught physics and application of the scientific method. Dana and Josh have led members in web design exercises.Last night, Dana loaned Josh a webcam for a computer hardware workshop. Because of their many questions, the 30 minute workshop stretched to an hour. With each question, Josh answered patiently as his enthusiasm lit the crowd.
Club members divided into teams that took apart computers and put them back together. Learning by doing sometimes means learning by taking apart. Dana, Dan Nelson (Dana’s husband, an IT pro), and Josh helped the groups.
Thanks to Josh, Dana, Mark, and all the families of our club who worked hard and built it into a success.