PONTIAC, Ill. — If you are not familiar with the 4-H program or have not been exposed to it for a while, we are happy to report that 4-H is recognized as the nation’s largest youth development organization. With over 6 million members, we strive to encourage youth in finding their passions and developing those lifelong skills they will need later in life such as leadership, teamwork, organization and many more. As our motto states, “To Make the Best Better!”
One of the greatest traditions of 4-H is the local county 4-H Shows which take place each summer. 4-H members spend all year working diligently on their projects that range all the way from livestock to 3D printing (a new project for the state program). Locally, we average well over 1,000 projects entered into the show each year. The talent of our youth is endless and never ceases to amaze us!
Make a mark on your calendar to attend the 4-H show in your community. As you walk through and view these items, you will notice ribbons attached to the projects, which represent various things from Blue, Red or White, State Fair delegate, all the way to Grand Champion Overall in a livestock species such as Sheep, Swine or Cattle. However, when we look at these projects, we don’t just see ribbons. We see hard work, life lessons learned and life skills acquired. That loaf of bread is probably the result of many late nights trying to figure out why the dough just will not rise, or why the bread is too dense. That slightly beat up aerospace rocket is the result of that member’s time spent launching and testing the rocket several times only to end up hunting it down in a local bean field with his dad.
All these things represent what 4-H is and does. It empowers youth to find those passions, build those skills and be a better person for it. So when you come to the fair this year, and we hope you do, don’t just see the ribbons; really look at the projects and observe the time and energy spent by over 300 local 4-H youth who work so hard all year long.
Find your favorite project days and visit our local 4-H Show at the Livingston County Ag Fair from July 18-21. We hope to see you there!
— University of Illinois Extension
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