Last Friday, I experienced one of the single most impactful days of my life volunteering at public school 21 in Brooklyn, New York for the 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD). NYSD is a global event focused on youth-led interactive science experiments. The annual event reaches thousands of youth across the country, with hands-on design projects in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This year's theme was Drone Discovery! This engineering design challenge was created by Cornell University Cooperative Extension and taught students how drones are being used to solve real world problems.
The event started with students gathering in the elementary school's cafeteria. Students were welcomed by New York City 4-H Leader, Lucinda Randolph-Benjamin, then led in the 4-H pledge by your's truly. To my surprise, I could recite the pledge with as much fluency as I did in my 4-H club in high school. The students were then led in a mini lesson on drones and things that fly by 4-H Youth Development Educator, Charles "Chip" Malone (photo below). Chip demonstrated the four forces of flight using a foam drone: lift, gravity, thrust, and drag. Chip used interactive dance moves to further explain how these four forces work in real life. Students were rallied up and led into the gymnasium for a full day of engineering and fun!
I managed the station, Drone Discovery: Things That Fly. At this station, students were taught what drones actually are, what they do, and how they are used in our world. Students also learned the basics of flight dynamics and motion, then they got to apply it. I led students in building two types of aircrafts and wing types: rotary wing propcopters, made from two plastic pieces, and fixed wing gliders, made from styrofoam plates. The best moment for me was when the students actually got to fly the planes and test how far they could go before falling from the sky. The students were encouraged to think as engineers and keep their planes in the air longer with better control.
One of the greatest joys I have is serving as a trustee for the National 4-H Council. As a trustee, I get so excited when I meet youth whose lives are being positively impacted by the work of 4-H. I am so fortunate for my 4-H experience and it is my desire to see more kids have 4-H in their lives, just like the students in Brooklyn.
Giving back causes my perspective on life to be fuller. I feel so blessed to have met these students in Brooklyn, and hopefully inspire them to one day become scientist, engineers, or even chefs! No matter what they do, I know they will be successful because of 4-H. Learn more about 4-H today.