Home Living Extension Update from Megan Burda: A Grand Champion Fair Experience

Extension Update from Megan Burda: A Grand Champion Fair Experience

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A Grand Champion Fair Experience

The York County Fair, along with every county fair, provides 4-H youth across the state with an opportunity to showcase their project work. They have worked on these projects throughout the year and receive recognition for their efforts.

Model rockets that have been assembled from basic materials, cookies that will make your mouth water, sheep that are sheared for the big show, and many other exhibits can most likely be seen at our local county fair. Through these projects, youth develop self-confidence by experiencing success at solving problems and meeting challenges. County fairs provide a safe environment for youth to make mistakes and to receive constructive feedback, not only through competition, but also through their participation.

County Fair has always been my favorite time of year for many reasons. First, my home county fair usually took place around my birthday, what a great way to celebrate! We did not show livestock so I was always looking for excuses to be out at the fair. Whether, that was volunteering during judging and check-in days or helping with trash pick around the grounds, I was more than happy to soak it all in. 4-H youth also look forward to the county fair because of the fun that this time of year brings. In a recent study, many youth reported that they are motivated each year to participate in the county fair because they have fun.

Whether showing a market steer, modeling a garment in the Fashion Show, or exhibiting a GIS map of a local park, youth across all project areas compete and participate in the county fair activities because they are fun.

Youth also shared that “achieving goals,” “spending time with friend,” and “teamwork” contributed toward their engagement in the annual county fair. Recognition, competition, fair premiums, and qualifying for the state fair ranked low in comparison to these other motivating factors.  

Important educational youth development opportunities also exist within the 4-H fair experience. By completing 4-H projects and activities at the local fair and throughout the year, youth are mastering skills to make positive career and life choices. It is important for youth to discover in a non-threatening setting that certain vocations may or may not be right for them.

Give 4-H youth at your local county fair a grand champion experience by providing constructive feedback and encouragement. Your words and actions will allow youth to discover their own personal strengths and weaknesses through their 4-H project areas, all while having fun in a positive county fair environment.

Come check out the York County Fair this week! The fair schedule can be found online at yorkcountyfair.com or on the York County Fair Facebook page. See you at the fair!

This article comes from a series of resources developed by Nebraska Extension, 4-H Youth Development Professionals. Learn more about 4-H at 4h.unl.edu.

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