Summer activities are in full swing, but 4-H youth across Nebraska are managing to find time to prepare for fairs at the county and state levels.
On June 7 in Falls City, Neb., the Richardson County local 4-H extension organized a Clover Camp for youth ages 5-7. The kids participated in craft activities and got a head start on developing their skills in a “learn-by-doing” approach to prepare them for competing in 4-H events during their future years.
Clover Kids is a 4-H program offered across Nebraska and open to children ages 5-8. In Falls City, the June 7 event was open to current Clover Kids and youth in the community interested in learning more.
Kaytlyn Kennedy helped organize the Clover Camp. Kennedy has been involved for 10 years and serves as the assistant extension educator and lead educator for Nebraska’s 4-H Richardson County Extension. Alongside her was Jami Ankrom, the extension assistant, and Emily Nussbaum, native of Falls City, who currently is the office manager for the extension board. They both facilitated the craft activities and directed the children.
“Camps like this start interest at an early age,” Kennedy said. “Some continue on later, some kids do not.”
At the camp, the young kids made chore charts to take home and use during the summer, some even to use in preparation for the fair. They also constructed several art projects using sand and paint. This was intended for them to generate their creative skills into projects that could also potentially be taken to the fair and shown non-competitively if they chose to do so.
Clover Kids are encouraged to exhibit something at the county fair, but it is not required. Clover Kid exhibits at the fair are non-competitive and for exhibition only, with the additional participation ribbons. The project provides an example of how youth can feel part of the fair without being competitive. Members are provided a place and time to talk about their exhibit and show what they have learned.
Nebraska 4-H programs seek to develop confidence, creativity and competence in children. It also allows youth the opportunity for competition after reaching the traditional 4-H age of 8.
Other opportunities for young kids interested in the 4-H program include joining a 4-H club or afterschool program. Counties in Nebraska may also offer additional opportunities for Clover Kids, and each county has their own guidelines and deadlines for participation.
Alongside the Clover Camp, Nebraska Extension is also hosting two “Project Paloozas” for youth participants ages 8-18 on June 21 and 28. Project Palooza is a camp for the older group of 4-H kids who are given the opportunity to participate and create elaborate crafts that can be used to compete in the fairs later this year.
Youth competitors in the state or county fair participate in a wide variety of events and competitions. The variety ranges from animal events to photography and fashion. More information on the awards, events and regulations can be found here.
The Nebraska State Fair is Aug. 26 through Sept. 5, and the Richardson County 4-H and FFA Fair is July 24-30