Share This Page

4-H clubs enjoy rise in participation throughout Fayette County

| Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 5:09 p.m.
MARILYN FORBES I FOR TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Getting ready to show her goat at the Fayette County Fair is Serena Anderson, 10 of Dunbar Township.
MARILYN FORBES I FOR TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Relaxing with her cow Nutmeg at the Fayette County Fair is 4-H member Trudy Diamond, 12 of Smithfield.

The Fayette County Fair was abuzz with excitement over the past 10 days, with thousands of visitors from all over the state viewing the exhibits and displays and taking advantage of the great entertainment.

Some of the most exciting moments of the fair however, were shared in the livestock barns and indoor exhibit areas as the dozens of 4-H Club members from across the county tended to their animals and indoor project displays.

“I like being a part of 4-H,” Tyler Anderson, 18, of Dunbar Township said of his nine years of participation in the program. “I have enjoyed the experience. It's educational, and I enjoy showing.”

Anderson is just one of the many 4-H members who look forward to the fair every year as a way to showcase their livestock or other projects, and Jennifer Diechert, extension assistance of 4-H Youth with the Penn State Extension, said the number of youths involved in the program is on the rise.

Diechert introduced “Areas of Adventures” to schools in Fayette County and visited several schools in most of the county's districts, bringing programs to the classrooms that featured fun and interactive projects and activities.

“It's on an upswing,” Diechert said of the participants. “I have definitely seen an increase in interest over the past year.”

For several years, Diechert's position at the extension was open, with the program bringing in someone to oversee the 4-H program only during fair week, but since she started in the position on a part-time basis last year at fair time, she has concentrated on bringing the love and interest of agriculture to the area youth.

“We have 20 active 4-H clubs in Fayette County, and most of those clubs now are competing at the fair,” Diechert said.

Two clubs, the Cloverbuds and the Robotics Club, were added this year and an older one, Communications and Leadership, enjoyed a rebirth.

Newer clubs, such as the 4-H gardening club, are also starting to catch on with the younger members of the community.

“I'd like to see it get bigger,” Valerie Seslar, master gardener and leader of the 4-H gardening club, said of her group of 12.

The gardening club was founded three years ago and the group works on garden and flower projects and has a small garden on site at the fair.

“I always tell everyone to start out small,” Seslar said of the gardens that are started by the 4-H members. “You can always go bigger as you learn.”

The livestock barns were filled to capacity this year, and many 4-H members such as Trudy Diamond, 12, of Smithfield, enjoyed just staying with their animals at the stall areas, relaxing, having fun and waiting to show.

“I really like getting to show my animals,” Diamond said of her Jersey cow Nutmeg and her other animals that she brought to the fair. “I look forward to the fair every year.”

Serena Anderson, 10, of Dunbar Township showed her goat Mr. Fluffy Pants in addition to other livestock such as pigs and heifers.

“I really like to come here to show my animals. I think it's fun,” Anderson said.

Father Gordon Anderson, a former longtime 4-H member himself, said he encouraged his children to join the clubs and get involved.

“They learn good skills and they learn how to deal with the animals on the farm,” Anderson said. “They also learn responsibility and leadership. It's a good program.”

The fair also welcomed for the first time exhibits and displays entered by members of the newly formed Cloverbuds, a group composed of members ages 5 through 8 who are too young to compete, but who are encouraged to enter projects and become involved in the programs.

The annual Fayette County Fair closed its gates for the year on Saturday evening.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.