A few weeks ago, I received a call from Phyllis Sprenkle to let me know that Patty Dawson Albright was in town. Both were former 4-H members during my career. Patty was an active member in my early days in Vernon County. I was pleased to get the call and asked where they were and I soon met with them.
They informed me that they were planning a reunion of 4-H members, especially from the '60s, '70s and '80s, yet all of the former members are included. The idea was a thrill to me. I had never thought of such an event.
The two had gotten approval from the fair board to have the reunion in the home economics building this Saturday from 2 to 4. They commented that they did not know how many might attend; there may be only about 10. This event is for all past 4-H members, parents and leaders.
Over the years the youth fair has been a coming home for many of the former exhibitors, a time when they show up at the fair and see many of the friends they had made at the fairs. Phyllis and Patty are hoping that this 4-H Alumni Reunion will become an annual event. This is really a good idea.
The 4-H Alumni are recognized in 4-H as an important group and part of 4-H. It is a group that is supportive of 4-H in many ways including volunteer leadership and financial support. On the state level, efforts are being made in developing a 4-H Alumni program and to maintain contacts with 4-H Alumni.
Phyllis and Patty are suggesting that Facebook might be a good way for former members and leaders to keep in touch with each other. I expect this will be developing in the near future. I am looking forward to seeing many of the people I worked with. This will be a thrill.
The 4-H Alumni Reunion is a new event for this year's fair, which has been inserted in the program. There is another event that has been added and it is being referred to as "Hearts and Hands." It may not be drawing much attention, but it will be a highlight for those involved in this special program.
The 4-H members continue to amaze me with the things they come up with and accomplish. While there is not much I know about Heart and Hands, I felt it needed to be mentioned.
This is a special effort by two 4-H members who developed the concept and implemented the program. The two are our granddaughter Morgan and her friend Sarah Byers. They have an interest in special people and met with the fair board and received their approval. A few years ago there was an event called "special kids, special animals," which has been dropped. This new program is somewhat similar to the former event.
Morgan and Sarah made a special financial drive to raise money for the event. Included will be a T-shirt for each participant. This event will take place at 10:30 Friday morning. As I understand, they will be touring the barns to look at the animals and there will be two tour guides in each barn.
You can imagine that these special people will have smiles on their faces, as they view the animals. It will be a special thrill for those involved in "Hearts and Hands."
What Morgan and Sarah are doing, demonstrates the type of things 4-H members are doing.
The Vernon County Youth Fair being held this week is an important event each year for several Vernon County families. It is an educational event as well as a social event and a place many have a good time.
I do not think that many people realize how much work it is for these kids to exhibit at the fair. It is even hard for me to realize how much work they put into their exhibits. Sure, I know that much of it gets done at the last minute, resulting in some exhibits still having wet paint.
There are some who are disappointed in their results. Some think that all they have to do is show a steer and they will have good results and receive a lot of money as a result of the sale. That is a challenge for family members who have had many years of experience. It rarely happens for a rookie. Those young ones and new ones can learn a good deal by keeping an open mind and observing what the others are doing to be successful.
It means a lot to the exhibitors for people to go to the fair and look at their exhibits, regardless of whether they are in the home economics building or in the barns.
The fair board and many volunteers have worked hard to put on the fair. There is much that goes on in the background.
Doug Johnson, 2012 Vernon County Youth Fair president made, the following comment in the fair catalog, which is appropriate to conclude this column: "We recognize the hard work each exhibitor has done this year. It is not only time to show your accomplishments but to make memories that will last a lifetime. Vernon County has a lot to be proud of especially in their greatest resource ... our youth!"