The 4-H Club includes young people ages 8 through 18. It has always had opportunities to give youth experience in public speaking.
Two of those opportunities ate 4-H Talks and 4-H Demonstrations. The 4-H Talks in the year 2013 have a variety of presentations. This includes talks with no visual aids, chart and illustrated talks, and power point talks. In an extemporaneous talk contest, each contestant is assigned a subject a few minutes before he or she gives the talk.
In the 4-H Demonstration contest the 4-H members show how to do something. The demonstration can be individual or team demonstration.
In preparation for talk or demonstration contest, 4- H members often practice before family, 4-H meetings, school classroom, church, or civic clubs.
Other 4-H experiences in public speaking occur at Share-The-Fun events, 4-H business meetings, and oral reasons in judging contests. Other student organizations have similar experiences. When I was in the 4-H, 1945- 1949, the talks were called 4- H Timely Topics. They were oral talks with no charts or visuals. They were six minutes long, more or less.
The 4-H Demonstrations were always team demonstrations with two 4-H members. The idea was that one person would talk and the other person would demonstrate. During the presentation, the two team members would alternate their speaking and demonstrating. With the 4-
H Demonstration, charts and visuals could be used. Each contestant was given a ribbon: blue, red or white.
Each 4-H member would record his or her participation in his or her individual record book. Among the older 4-H members, the winner of each category of talks or demonstrations would represent Payne County at the State 4- H Roundup held at the Oklahoma A & M campus the last week of May each year,
One purpose of the original construction of Gallagher Fieldhouse was to provide a meeting place for 4-H Roundup. It was called the 4-H Building at fi rst, but also used for college basketball and wrestling.
In the 1940's the Payne County 4-H talks and demonstration contests were held at a designated school house in the county. The judges would either be 4-H leaders from another county or 4-H alumni who were college students.
In our talks and demonstrations we would introduce ourselves. For example, as seventh graders, Alfred Lee Neal and I gave a demonstration. My introduction was, "Good morning, we are the poultry demonstration team from Perkins 4-H Club. This is my teammate Alfred Lee Neal, and I am Charles Wall. We are going to demonstrate mixing a feed ration for laying hens."
We had the feed ingredients in miniature amounts in little jars, and we mixed them in a larger container. We gave that demonstration at the Cimarron Valley Grange at Goodnight as well as at the county contest. Charts were used in the demonstration to show the steps, procedure, and summary. At the close of the demonstration we would say, "This concludes our demonstration. Are there any questions?" If there were questions we would repeat the question and answer it.
The next year I gave a demonstration with John Allen Emerson. Someone had shown us how to make a miniature electric motor that really ran.
In those days rural telephones had two small dry cell batteries about the size of a pint jar. The little electric motor used two of these telephone batteries. We demonstrated how to make and power up that little motor. It was more of an educational item; the motor didn't run anything.
County extension personnel are now called educators. They have always been educators. 4-H Club members receive education and experience and the 4-H member in turn educates other people.