As most of you probably know I go to a lot of fairs. One of the reasons I have always stayed involved in fairs is because of the 4-H program. I have been a 4-H leader for almost 44 years (yikes) and have never quite been able to give it up.
I love what the 4-H program stands for and what it teaches children, responsibility, confidence and leadership, plus so much about their individual projects. My own children went through the program with horses, cattle, rabbits, photography and cooking to name just a few of the things they competed in. Even today they are involved with the program with their own children.
I love working with children and if you throw some grandchildren in there it makes it even more fun. For the past two years I have been taking our youngest granddaughter (Jamie) to a fair that is close to us but in another state. One of the reasons I decided to do this (after she asked) was Jamie is a little shy, especially if she is away from her school friends and her family. Out of her comfort zone she has been able to meet children her own age that are also showing goats as well as adults that are involved in the program. It has been so much fun watching her make new friends. Two of the girls she met have become very close friends with her, even though they only see each other at fair time. She met them last year and when she showed up this year they were all so glad to see each other again. They decided that it would be fun if Jamie showed up at the Washington State Fair to watch them show their goats. This was the first year they had qualified for State Fair and they wanted to all be together. (Jamie couldn’t show because she lives in Oregon). Of course, Jamie asked Grandma and Grandpa if they could take her. Jamie missed a day of school and we drove three hours to the Washington State Fair. Just watching the girls when they saw her was worth the trip!!
Fortunate, it was almost like a clinic for Goat Showmanship. The judge was amazing, kept the kids in the ring for a long time and showed them what they were doing wrong and how to do it right (this was a junior class, third, fourth and fifth graders). He explained so much I was wishing I had my notepad with me. Jamie will be able to take this information home with her and work with her goats through the winter.
After several hours of goats and a quick tour of the fair grounds, plus way too much fair food we headed home with a very tired, happy little girl, who will have this memory and these friends for a very long time.