From the Centre: Back in the 4-H judging saddle

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A week or so ago, I got the opportunity to be one of six judges for the district 4-H public speaking competition which was held way down south in the Lister Community Hall. Broken into two categories, junior (nine to 13 years) and senior (13 to 18 years), the youth in either the horse, beef, dairy or other disciplines of 4-H had to stand up in front of an audience, their peers and stern looking judges. (Would you believe bewildered looking judges? Maybe that was just me…) Anyway, this was not the first time for me in this role, as those of you that avidly follow my byline will attest that I last wrote of this in March of 2007.

Having been fully immersed in the recreating of the Creston and District Community Complex for the past few years, taking part in something like this somewhat outside the scope of leisure services was a nice reality check, societal smelling salts, as it were. (I have to stop reading those high society novels…) Seeing the kids up there front and centre doing a speech with little or no reference to note cards was really impressive; in a day and age where much of the youth risks scoliosis from being bent over a phone keypad texting, as well as responding to queries with grunts and shrugs reminiscent of Quest for Fire, it was refreshing to actually hear clear verbal communication. Hey, just getting up in front of people by your lonesome is not an easy task, let alone talking for five or six minutes and trying not to shake.

No one will tell me this does not provide a valuable life skill for these youths (yoots?). Developing the ability to communicate effectively and confidently face to face will set those people apart. We were just talking about raising kids the other day and came to the conclusion that by the time you hit 50 or so, you have started to get a handle on it. Even with our kids, you can see the ones that had experience in retail, for instance, as teenagers, dealing face to face with adults over those that had jobs with less social interaction. That being said, from a technology point of view, I came across some interesting statements recently.

•The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004.

•We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems that we don’t even know are problems yet.

•There are 31 billion searches on Google every month; in 2006, this number was 2.7 billion.

•The first commercial text message was sent in 1992. Today, the number of text messages sent and received every day exceeds the population of the planet.

•The number of Internet devices in 1984 was 1,000, in 1992 was one million and in 2008 was one billion.

•The amount of new technical information is doubling every two years. For students starting a four-year technical degree, this means that half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study.

So that explains a bit why we see people hunched over their phones and it’s probably safe to say it’s not going away anytime soon.

The smell of granite hitting granite is in the air as the Butterfly Bonspiel takes place this weekend at the Creston Curling Club in the community complex. If you haven’t seen curling action up close, take a few hours and either relax in the lounge or get right down to ice level in the viewing area to catch some of the strategies. For those of you curling, here are a few signs that you may be having a bad game:

•They start pebbling the ice in the fourth end.

•Your skip keeps saying, “Nice try!”

•While you’re in the washroom, your teammates sneak away to the bar.

•The ice-maker starts heckling you.

•It’s only the third end and already you owe your teammates six drinks.

•You throw out your knee in the first end and your teammates don’t even notice.

•Your sweepers burst into laughter when you release your rock.

Have a great bonspiel!

Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.