KState Extension: 4-H and County Fair Objectives

Submitted by; Carla Nemecek, Southwind District Director & Agent
County Fair season is just around the corner! The week that nearly every 4-H member has worked and waited for since the fair ended last year. It is a time of year when youth from across the county get together to showcase their projects, but more importantly, it is a time for 4-H families to be together.

We have an awesome group of leaders and parents who work hard to make sure the kids are attending monthly meetings, participating in leadership activities and working “To Make the Best Better.” Participation in county fairs is an opportunity and privilege for 4-H members. If they choose to participate, they are in effect asking for an adult to give his or her opinion regarding the quality of their exhibit or participation. Having asked for this opinion, they should accept it gracefully and learn from it.
The county fair is an important piece of the total 4-H program, and in most cases is the most visible.  At the fair, 4-H members have several opportunities:
✓    Show what they’ve learned and accomplished in 4-H to the public.
✓    Develop project skills.
✓    Develop responsibility and self-confidence.
✓    Gain knowledge, counsel and encouragement from judges and others.
✓    Develop leadership skills by assuming fair responsibilities and working together with others.
✓    Learn new and better methods.
✓    Compare their work with a “standard” and with other 4-H’ers.
✓    Receive recognition and learn the importance of being both a good winner and a good loser.
✓    Share ideas and make friends with other 4-H members.
Leaders, parents and Extension professionals also have objectives for the County Fair, including:
✓    To help youth develop knowledge and practical skills in science and technology.
✓    To stimulate the personal growth and physical, mental and behavioral development of youth.
✓    To help youth become responsible citizens.
✓    To develop effective adult and youth leadership.
Remember, each of our 4-H members are responsible for their exhibit. Good sportsmanship means they took the time to listen to the judges’ critique and learn from another’s viewpoint. No one is to blame when a project doesn’t come together like we had expected—but oftentimes more is learned from the project that receives more criticism.  While some of our 4-H members are proud of their projects, others may be disappointed, I expect every competitor to be gracious—regardless of the ribbon they take home.
There are many opportunities to attend County Fair events in the Southwind District, and you can find County Fair schedules on our website, www.southwind.ksu.edu. Bourbon County will kick things off July 15-21, followed by Neosho County July 20-24, and Allen County will wrap up the county fair season in the Southwind District on July 27-31.

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