4-H'ers showcase creativity and knowledge at county fairs

The county fairs in Kane and DuPage counties this summer marked the culmination of the 4-H year with exhibits, animal shows, and activities where 4-H members demonstrated knowledge and skills, and of course, had fun.

"4-H conference judging and show experiences provide youth with valuable presentation opportunities and helpful feedback to continue developing project skills for next year and life skills for the future," said Andrea Farrier, 4-H Youth Development Educator. "Through projects and club activities, 4-H members learn to communicate, make decisions and plans, manage time, and work both independently and with a team."

Nora Thompson of Maple Park wins several honors in the 4-H horse and pony show, including Champion Western Horsemanship. Courtesy of Kane County Fair

In 4-H, youth can explore dozens of projects in seven areas of study - animal science, career and leadership development, creative arts, environmental sciences, global civic engagement, healthy living and nutrition, and STEM.

"4-H has provided me with countless opportunities, skills, and networking capabilities," said longtime member of A Bit More 4-H Club Nora Thompson, who is heading to college this fall. "For example, I was able to conquer the world's No. 1 greatest fear of public speaking and turn it into a genuine passion. Thanks to the people who helped me build these skills and my confidence, I am now able to set myself apart as a young adult with my comfort in front of crowds and my ability to think quickly on my feet."

Maylove Rassi of Darien holds her sewing project as she waits for judging at the DuPage County Fairgrounds. Courtesy of DuPage County Fair

In addition to developing life skills, 4-H members volunteer and give back to their communities with service projects all year round. In turn, dozens of adult community members give back to 4-H by sharing their time and expertise to facilitate or judge at the shows or by sponsoring awards to recognize the youth achievements.

The 2023 Kane 4-H show award sponsors include: A Bit More 4-H Club; AHW LLC; Belvidere Mutual Insurance Co.; Bev Popp; Blain's Farm & Fleet of Elgin; Botanic Flair; Brad Schramer Excavating; C & C Mulch & More; Cecilia Ochs; Country Cousins Unit of KCAHCE; Dan & Anne Carson; Don & Chris Fidler; Dorn Group, Inc.; Engel Cattle Farms; Eva Ochs; Feuerborn Honey Farm; Fidler Farms-Ron & Deanna Fidler; Fox Valley Media Arts; Fox Valley Veterinary Clinic, North Aurora; Gerry & Kelli Dedina; got robot? FTC 5037 First Robotics Team; Greg & Vickie Goodrich; Haviland Family Honey Farm; Huckleberry's Pet Parlor; In Memory of Albert Lenkaitis; In Memory of Delbert Klussendorf; In Memory of Bill Parkhurst; In Memory of Tom Milnamow; In Memory of Ray Russell; Izaak Walton League America-Elgin Chapter; Jerry D. Webb; Jim Konen Memorial; Joe & Lara Fidler; Johnson Family Farm; Judy Konen Hysell; Kane County 4-H Ambassadors; Kane County Association for Home and Community Education (KCAHCE); Kane County 4-H Foundation; Kane County Farm Bureau; Kennedy Unit of KCHCE; Kim Braddock; Kriegels' Show Team; Lenkaitis Holsteins; Live, Learn, and Lead; Long Farms - John & Nan Long; Maria Ochs; Michele Horton, DDS; Midwest Award Corporation; Michael & Michelle Ochs & Family; Mighty Titans 4-H Club; Naomi Readman and Don Catchpole; Nellie Ramm Memorial; Paul & Doris Braddock; Peters Electric and Technology, Inc.; Plato Center KCAHCE; Raisanen Family; Rempe-Sharpe; RK Quality Services; St. Charles Rotary Foundation; Schramer Family Farm Fresh Eggs; Stohlquist Show Pigs; Straub Farms; The Write Stuff; the Challengers 4-H Club; the Charles Coffey Family; the Horwitz Family; the McKellar family; and Todd & Karen Sunderlage.

Each year at the fair, 4-H members and families work the ice cream stand to raise funds for the Kane County 4-H Foundation which supports many countywide events and activities including volunteer training and 4-H Government Day, fair activities and awards, and educational scholarships. Courtesy of Kane County Fair

The 2023 DuPage 4-H show award sponsors include: Best Inc., Bucaro Funeral Home, Milli Cady, Katie Carso-Liss, Deanna Daly, DuPage County Farm Bureau, DuPage County HCE, Bobbi Ehlers, Ethel J. Marshall HCE, Susan Geraci, Pat Houle, Gene and Patty Johnson, Cathryn Johnston, Denise Kennedy, Mary Lambert, Andrea Leboy, Herbert Lederer DVM, Ken Lemberger, Evelyn Olson, Pat Quetsch, Justice S. Louis Rathje, Salernos Rosedale Chapels, Rose Sirovatka, Judy Valentine, Coleen Walter, Mary Lou Wehrli, Michael and Colleen Wessel, Barbara Wilk, and the Neval Yeates Family.

"We greatly appreciate the support of the Kane County Fair Association, and our 4-H superintendents, judges, volunteers, and award sponsors who give our 4-H youth this important experience.

The 4-H programs appreciate the support of the Kane County Fair Association and DuPage County Fair Association, and the 4-H superintendents, judges, volunteers, and award sponsors who give the 4-H youth this important experience.

Lorcan McNevin of Winfield tells a volunteer judge about his geology collection. Courtesy of DuPage County Fair

"4-H programs help young people gain a sense of belonging, develop independence, practice generosity, and master project and life skills," said Nancy Reppe, 4-H Youth Development program coordinator. "The fair season brings it all together as we wrap up the 4-H year and look ahead to a new one in fall."

The 4-H season for 2023-24 will begin this fall. For the DuPage 4-H program, the kickoff will be 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at the DuPage County Fairgrounds, 2015 Manchester Road in Wheaton.

For Kane County, it will be 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16, at the Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 S Randall Road in St. Charles.

Burlington Ag 4-H Club member Autumn Kriegel of Hampshire wins Grand Champion Senior Showmanship at the Kane County 4-H dairy show. Courtesy of Kane County Fair

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