At Fair next week, Extension will push to grow 4-H program

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 July 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Alice Mathes, a 4-H club leader, decorates the Trolley Building for next week’s 4-H Fair. She is joined by Robert Batt, the 4-H educator, who has a puppet of a chicken that will be part of a “Farmer for a day” exhibit.

KNOWLESVILLE – Organizers of next week’s Orleans County 4-H Fair want to make growing the 4-H program a focus of the week-long Fair.

There are about 300 4-H’ers in the county. Robert Batt, the 4-H educator, wants to grow the program by at least 35 more 4-H’ers. That is the 4-H program’s goal, to sign up at least that many new kids during the Fair.

If 4-H can add that many new members, Batt has offered an incentive: He will wear a green spandex suit on July 26 for the last day of the Fair.

Batt said the program has expanded from traditional clubs with animals and home economics. Those clubs are still the core of the program, but 4-H has added robotics and a Lego Club. (For more on the 4-H program, click here.)

The opportunities are available for only a $5 enrollment fee, a major bargain, Batt said. Many youth sports leagues can easily get into hundreds of dollars per child.

“We are keeping the fee at $5 so we can keep it open to as many people as we can,” said Batt.

Many of the 4-H Clubs will have displays in the Trolley Building to educate the public about opportunities in 4-H.

About 25,000 people typically attend the Fair, which runs from July 21-26. Batt said the Fair Board has lined up a full schedule of entertainment, while keeping many fair favorites, such as the pie-eating contest, grease pole competition and many livestock events.

“We’ve work hard to preserve the Fair traditions while bringing in new attractions,” Batt said.

For more on the Fair, click here.