Youth Focus

Youth Focus
As we approach county fairs, Achievement Days, and the State Fair to showcase our youth projects, I thought I would reflect on what showcasing a project truly means.

I have worked in three counties for the Cooperative Extension Service since 2000 and think back to when people were stockpiling the water for the New Year and some people were even duct taping their windows. Then September 11 happened and I was located in the Beadle County Extension office, the State Fair had been held in July so the office staff was pretty settled back into the old routine.

Now the State Fair is back on the weekend of Labor Day and it seems like life is somewhat back to normal yet the Middle East turmoil affects many of our families. I bring with me a different viewpoint because I did not experience the 4-H projects as a youth but attended the State Fair yearly.

Fast forward and I am getting ready to experience the Clay County Fair and Achievement Days for the first time. I can feel the excitement as people focus on what they have accomplished over the last year. I believe Achievement Days and county fairs provide the community a time to socialize, gather what they have done over the year, and showcase their accomplishment.

For the 4-H youth, projects they have made encourages them to learn and apply practical life skills they have learned through 4-H program work. Exhibits also assist4-H youth in their personal development and character growth in honesty, integrity, responsibility, creativity, citizenship, and leadership skills.

The youth are provided an opportunity to measure their progress and skills against accepted standards and to participate in a wide variety of program opportunities beyond the county level. Lastly, the youth are given the opportunity to gain personal satisfaction, meet new people, share ideas, and learn to work cooperatively with others.

For the public, you learn more about the South Dakota Youth Development 4-H program and accomplishments which helps to stimulate interest in your local 4-H program. In addition, in the Open Class Division you can enter your exhibits for show casing. This will be my first year to exhibit � it was something I had never given much thought to, but after teaching youth a sewing project and seeing the sense of accomplishment, my projects will be entered.

Will I see your projects in our Clay County Fair Open Class Division this year? See you Aug. 9 starting at 6 p.m. for entering, or check out the Web site

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