Wow, so the Wayne County Fair is over, so 4-H is over, right?! Wrong! I had someone make a comment about how bored we, the Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Staff must be during the fall and winter months, not having anything to plan or do since fair will be done. I chuckled and gave them a little snapshot of what goes on during those ‘slow times’. I cannot fault this person making this comment, because a few short years ago I too thought the same thing. Oh boy was I wrong. So, what goes on in the 4-H world the other 51 weeks of the year? Well let us take a walk-through life in 4-H.
Congratulations, fair is done! Now what? Now it is clean up time. It takes many volunteer hands to make this happen! The old saying, many hands make light work, is so true on these two nights that are set aside each year. Working with our amazing volunteers, 4-H exhibitors, parents, committee members, and Senior Fair Board to come together to ‘put away’ all fair supplies. Who ever thought about all the time it takes before hand to put out the barn brooms and buckets, all the benches used throughout the fair, the trash cans, the animal pens and more! Keeping our fairgrounds nice is a year-round task our Senior Fair Board takes care of.
Next thing I would like to touch on, our faithful committee members. Working alongside of some of these people it just amazes me how devoted they are for 4-H and our youth members. This group of people work tirelessly throughout the year. Looking at ways to improve the 4-H shows and livestock programs. They add on new members, say good-bye to those that move on, they work together with the Junior Fair Board (JFB), Senior Fair Board and OSU Extension Staff on rules, clinic dates, clinic topic ideas, and other new ideas they have! They take time away from their families to make sure that our 4-H Exhibitors have the best 4-H experience possible.
Moving right along to the Junior Fair Board Members. These kiddos never get to stop, they get to take a quick breath after fair, then pick up and work on! They play a huge role in the after fair clean up nights. They are out there whether it is rain or shine, getting dirty and sweaty working alongside the Senior Fair Board and other adult volunteers to get things cleaned up and put away. They work alongside committee members throughout the year, giving an exhibitors’ point of view on the shows and livestock programs, working to help things run smooth. They also must reapply to be on Junior Fair Board for the 2023 year. These teens once selected, get to choose from numerous 4-H programs to plug into; 4-H Awareness Team, Camp Counselors, CarTeens Program, Food and Fashion Board, and much, much more! If they are selected to be on JFB, the work and training begin!
Not to miss the 4-H Club organizational leaders, and the 4-H youth members. The exhibitors are busy picking and deciding their 2023 projects. Beef exhibitors need to have their projects in possession by Jan. 1st, the horse exhibitors and breeding project exhibitors work year-round on their projects. 4-H club organizational advisors are busy wrapping up their paperwork and then starting the prepping and planning the new year with their clubs.
When I walked through the 2022 Wayne County Fair early in the morning as the sun came up, I realized that 4-H is full of life! Kids learning and trying new things, animals waking up and calling for their owners for their feed and daily cuddles. Committee members gathering up the supplies needed to get their shows started and Senior Fair Board and OSU Extension staff turning on the lights and opening the barns! 4-H does not stop throughout the year, 4-H does not take a pause or take a break. 4-H just keeps rolling onto the next day, onto the next season. 4-H works tirelessly, year-round, ‘To Make the Best Better’.
Diane Johnson, 4-H Program Assistant, OSU Extension-Wayne County