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Building leaders through 4-H

Volunteers help judge youth projects

July 25, 2018
Jennifer Astello - Correspondent , Estherville News

The aroma of banana bread, pies and baked goods linger over Emmet County. Kids from around the county have been busy baking, building and preparing for the Static Judging Day at the Emmet County Fair.

Tuesday, members of the 4-H group prepared exhibits to be judged for the possibility of having their projects judged at the Iowa State Fair.

"A lot of the projects are done through the 4-H Club, some are made as a group and some individually," said volunteer and ISU County Extension Council member Beth Wycoff. "Some start preparing their projects since last year's fair, and some since last night. Each project will be judged on things like; What did you plan to learn, your learning goal, how did you do that and what did you learn."

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Static exhibits are all non-animal exhibits including photography, woodworking, food and nutrition, home improvement, visual arts, science engineering technology and about anything you can make or create.

People from around Emmet County and surrounding counties come to help judge or volunteer for the Static Judging Day.

Dianne Zeller came from Bancroft to judge exhibits and has been judging for 15 years. Zeller's four children were all once part of 4-H and she believes deeply in the program.

"They can learn about foods and nutrition, sowing, health, camping," said Zeller. "They can have cattle or livestock projects, they learn about speaking, volunteerism it's a really great organization. I have four children, they all were in 4-H. It helped them become better people, they learned to give of themselves. They learned how to talk to adults like us and not be super afraid."

Each group sits with judges, where the judges decided to award a blue, red or white ribbon.

"So today what the kids do is show up with their projects and based on what class they're in they go and talk with the judge who is judging those exhibits," said Morgan Matthews, Emmet County Youth Coordinator. "They get evaluated, then they receive a blue, red or white ribbon. And those are what they receive from the Emmet County Fair Board. Based on all the exhibits that come in, based on each area that is judged is given a certain quota that they can send to The Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. They make those selections based on the quality of the projects, the exhibitor's goal and how well it was put together. Those exhibits will be sent down on Aug. 7 to the state fair."

In addition, there were also Emmet County Only Projects. One Emmet County Only Project was a Bucket of Flowers, where the 4-H members use a 3- 5-gallon bucket and are required to do a floral arrangement, then the judge picks the best based on certain criteria. Also, they have a challenge recipe, this year's challenge was banana bread. And a pie contest. They get a first, second and third place in each age division.

Iowa 4-H program are for kids 4th-12th grade. You may join anytime in between those grades. A 4-H year runs from September-August and costs $30.

"Within 4-H you can get involved in a lot of things," said Matthews. "Here in our county, obviously livestock is a big portion along with static. And beyond that we provide workshops."

Matthews said that a child can dive into 4-H as much, or as little as they want. Nothing is required, unless a child wants to enter a project in the fair, then they are required to attend club meetings.

Matthews was an active 4-H member in Dickinson County as a child and says that it helped mold her into a leader.

"4-H helped me with work ethic, leadership and communicating."

Matthews said there is something for everyone and you can find almost any interest in 4-H.

For children kindergarten-3rd grade there is a program called Clover Kids. It meets once a month February thru May for about 2 hours. During that time the kids do hands on crafts, learn about science and engineering and even get to participate one night at the County Fair, something like what the older 4-H kids participate in.

If you are interested in 4-H or Clover Kids, you can contact the ISU Extension and Outreach Emmet County Office at 712-362-3434. Or stop into the office at 26 South 17th street in Estherville.



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