SIDNEY – In 1981, the lovely Susie (Morrison) Schaaf (mother of our current Fair Queen, Clara Schaaf) crowned Alison (Boyd) Nenneman as the Fremont County Fair Queen.
That same year, Jeff Mattis won both Grand Champion Market Beef and Reserve Champion Market Swine.
Kim Benson won the 1981 Iowa 4-H Achievement Award, earning an educational scholarship and a trip to the National 4-H Congress in Chicago. 1981 was also the first year boys were allowed to enter the Cherry Pie contest, and it was boys that won second, third and fourth places.
Wherever there are winners, there are also losers. However, I like to believe that in 4-H, and especially at the Fremont County Fair, we learn how to win and lose with love, lifting others up and helping to make others better, even if they are already the best. It is the 4-H motto, after all—“to make the best better.”
4-H is the priority program of Fremont County Extension and Outreach. Over the past 100 years, it has provided leadership skills to countless youth, preparing them to be successful, contributing members of society. It has been the catalyst for kids to find their passion and match it to a career.
Such is the case for a Dave Roberts, former Grand Champion swine exhibitor, who now raises organic pork (and awesome kids) and Brent Lorimor, a repeat Grand Champion beef exhibitor who presently raises cattle for a living. Yet, I still run into people all the time who don’t know about 4-H!
According to Wikipedia, “4-H is a global network whose mission is engaging youth to reach their full potential while advancing the field of youth development. The 4-H name represents four personal development areas of focus for the organization: head, heart, hands, and health. As of 2007, the organization had over 6.5 million members in the United States, from ages 5 to 21, in approximately 90,000 clubs. The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills of youth through experiential learning programs and a positive youth development approach. Though typically thought of as an agriculturally focused organization as a result of its history, 4-H today focuses on citizenship, healthy living, science, engineering, and technology programs.”
Personally, I would describe 4-H as a place I could find success even though I was a failure at anything that required athleticism or strong social skills. Patti said she learned things like etiquette, poise and how to set a table, helping her to be refined and knowledgeable when she stepped out into the bigger world. Brian cherishes the friendships he made through 4-H. Nancy remembers it as an opportunity for kids to get together and learn useful skills. Pat noted that much of what is learned through 4-H is not taught in schools. Sara said it was hard work, but she didn’t know it because it was so fun!
Some would say 4-H is about developing good citizenship skills.
In 1982, 130 Fremont County youth participated in the Summer Youth Program where they adopted community betterment projects like painting picnic tables and park equipment, picking up trash, pulling weeks, and washing fire trucks and rescue units. These projects “helped develop a lot of community pride and gave a sense of accomplishment and involvement in making their community a better place to live.
The community project was very satisfying to watch because the children got excited about their community and expressed community concerns.”