4H provides members with many opportunities
Some kids walk through the Lycoming County Fair gates for the food, carnival rides and memories. For those in the Lycoming County 4-H Program, Penn State Extension, crossing through the gates is the beginning of their time showing off the learned skills and projects they have worked on all year.
The program is America’s largest youth development organization teaching hands-on skills and leadership qualities. No matter the background or beliefs, 4-H welcomes all young people to “learn by doing” and express who they are in their community.
Cali Moore, 16, finds herself involved in eight different projects through the 4-H club.
Not very interested in sports as a kid, Moore first became involved with 4-H and primarily focused on agriculture.
“4-H for us means everything. My kids were not interested or involved in sports, so we started her off ‘horseless.’ Then the following year, we got her a horse — she only kind of knew about the agriculture part of it,” said Tasha Moore, Cali’s mother. “Then county council sent her a postcard explaining that at age 13 she could join and focus on leadership. From there, she has had so many more opportunities.”
Along with being involved in the team leadership project, Moore also finds herself involved in Lycoming County Council, Performance Force, archery, riflery, Toast Masters (public speaking), Pennsylvania Team HorsePower and National Trend Spotters.
“I would say I spend several hours a week being involved in so many different projects,” said Cali. “There is not a week that I am not at a 4-H meeting or being involved in one of my projects. At the fair we get to display a lot of the projects that we do throughout the year.”
Taylor Fry, 12, shows horses through 4-H’s horse club. At the fair, however, she is one of the volunteers from the club spending her Monday morning working the county concession stand.
“So, county council kind of oversees all of the clubs and puts together different activities for them,” said Cali. “We oversee this food stand and then every club in the county partakes in one shift. So currently, this is our horse club.”
A short ways down from concessions, the livestock arena overflowed with kids and their families preparing to compete in the open sheep show. Bill Harding, Pioneer Valley 4-H Clover Bud Leader, said he and his son put a lot of time and effort into preparing for the show on Monday morning.
“We started approximately in February when these sheep were born,” he said. “So from February up until now, he goes out before school and after school. As far as hours, he probably has about 45-50 hours a week working with them.”
According to Harding, being at the fair is an exciting time for the father and son duo. Harding gets to watch his son show sheep, and his son gets not only the experience, but also new friends and memories.
“The kids learn a lot of responsibility and manners,” said Harding “In here, there is a lot of teamwork, even though we compete against each other. There is just always a tremendous amount of help. Teaches the kids a lot of life lessons.”
Ashlin Harris, 14, has been a member of 4-H for the past five years, participating in the open pigs/swine shows and is no rookie to the time and effort that goes into showing animals.
“There is a lot of time in it,” said Harris. “You have to walk your animals for hours to get them used to you and comfortable with you. Have to trim their hair and get them ready.”
While a lot of preparation is needed before performance day, Harris and her friends giggled as they reflected on their time at the county fair.
“We come down and show pigs and have lots of fun running around,” said Harris. “We eat a lot of the fair food and buy bucket hats from some stands.”
The Lycoming County Fair opens daily at 10 a.m. Food vendors and buildings open at noon. For those interested, the schedule for future 4-H livestock shows can be found on the Lycoming County Fair website.