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Orange County 4-Hers Aim for the Stars


The Issue

The United States is falling behind other countries in scientific and mathematical training. However, our nation needs more scientists and engineers to generate and evaluate new information. The dwindling number of new science professionals affects America’s ability to produce jobs, technology, research, and innovation.

What has 4-H Done?

The rocketry project allows members to learn about the scientific principles of rocketry in an experiential way.  Robert is the leader of the Orange Acres Backbreakers 4-H rocketry project.  He utilizes a hands-on approach and a positive attitude to keep the project fun and motivational. Robert realizes that youth are intelligent and need to be faced with challenges. His members are responding enthusiastically, and the rocketry project is reaching new heights!

After hearing about the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) contest, the rocketry members jumped at the opportunity to show off their skills. A group of seven committed youth gathered and formed the Orange Acres Backbreakers 4-H TARC team. Each member researched specific rocket topics and parts. A field trip to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena also expanded the team’s knowledge and excitement. They designed, built, and tested rockets. By the end of the process, the members had fabricated six rockets and taken multiple trips to the desert for test launches.

The Payoff

At the Team America Rocketry Challenge contest in 2008, the team placed 103rd out of 643 teams from across the nation!

The Orange Acres Backbreakers 4-H rocketry project teaches members about the science of engineering, along with the importance of organization and the scientific method.  “OABB Rocketry is about learning and having fun. It’s about science and making it happen. It’s about having a true hands-on experience,” team member Savannah gushed, “Robert filled us with enthusiasm about science and learning, filled our hearts with hope, instilled the drive in each of us to learn and work together, and gave us a feeling of pride, accomplishment, and team work.” The rocketry project inspires kids to reach for the stars!

Author: Vanessa Zubkousky, State 4-H Office Student Assistant