Letters to the Editor

A fair affair

Every year, we tell our kids that 4-H is about so much more than “just Fair,” that it’s about learning how to keep records, how to participate in a group, how to communicate with the public, how to assume responsibilities within the community, etc. And yet if you have ever seen a 4-H’er exhibiting at Fair, you know what I have come to respect – that it is at our county fair where the kids get to show off all that learning.

4-H’ers work on their projects all year long in order to earn the privilege of showing at the Fair, and their excitement about entering the ring (or kitchen), answering judges’ questions, and balancing pride with good sportsmanship reflects their efforts. Having an audience that appreciates this and offers feedback to the participants just serves to enrich their experience.

Here on Whidbey, we are so lucky to have a community that turns out in such great numbers to encourage our youth, and to challenge them to continue to “make the best better.” And equally lucky that we have a Board of County Commissioners that values the process and outcomes of the 4-H Youth Development Program. Thank you all!

We are also quite lucky to have a powerful network of community supporters that rally to take care of some of our needs throughout the year: Skagit Farmers Supply, Bayview Farm and Garden, and the Sunny C Ranch, all provide discounts for our animal projects throughout the year and then donate and deliver feed for our animals on the fairgrounds; Island Fabrics, ACE, Wal-mart and K-mart pitch in to help us with project materials and supplies; the Whidbey Island Conservation District offers us guidance and support regarding the best ways to keep our projects and properties sustainable; service organizations like the Soroptimists, Kiwanis, Lions, and Rotary continually offer moral support and opportunities for community partnerships; and our papers help us get the word out about our many events and accomplishments. The list could go on forever as there are countless others who pitch in throughout the year. Thank you all!

Without the top-notch team of veterinarians who donate their time for our “vet checks,” we could not provide for the safest, healthiest Fair possible for the public. David Parent, Robert Moody, Ken Leisher, Jane McElvey, Erica Syring, Lark Gustafson, and Rebecca Moody, thank you for the very important service you provide during the Fair and the support and encouragement you give to our animal project participants all year long.

What would a Fair be without judges and superintendents? These folks set up and conduct our competitions in such a way that the kids are challenged, but not asked to do the impossible. They provide positive reinforcement for a job well done, and constructive suggestions for how to do better the next time. Thank you, for contributing to the healthy self-esteem and self-confidence of our youth!

Finally, our 4-H Program is so blessed to have such a wonderful, talented, thoughtful assortment of parents and leaders. During the Fair alone they donate over a thousand hours of love and laughter as they clean, paint, and repair barns, help 4-H’ers plan and put up decorations, stock the 4-H kitchen, staff the 4-H Building as well as their own barns, and support the many contests and competitions that take place during the big event. If you were to ask any one of them what they did, they would modestly say “oh, it was nothing, I had fun!” But I can assure you that it is only because each of them contributed in the ways that they did that we had a fabulous fair. Thank you all!

4-H may not be just about the Fair, but the Fair certainly allows us to see the growing strengths of our kids and our community. What a great time we all had. We can hardly wait for next year!

Judy Feldman

WSU 4-H Youth Development

Program Coordinator

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