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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

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August 8, 2017

Summer Sun, Summer Fun

By Wade Weber

Leavenworth County 4-H Council Foodstand

4-H is preparing youth for what is next.

In connecting with 4-H programs across our state this past month, I see in action the genius and sustaining power of community members coming together to provide learning and showcase venues for youth. The county fair is a historically rich and vivid example of community vitality on display. I am so thankful for 4-H’s historical partnership with county fair boards and volunteers in maintaining grounds and dates for youth to showcase their project-based learning. I am humbled by the volume of hours given by volunteers, parents, judges, staff and other vendors in enhancing the learning experience at county fairs. “Being together yet not all the same,” could easily summarize community at county fair season. It is the people who create memories and shared experiences along this 4-H journey that will last a lifetime.

I want to share with you four observations of Kansas 4-H in Summertime:

     1. Showcase is a vital component in the youth development journey. Sustaining and creating vibrant and engaging showcase moments are critical to individual growth in youth and with the public.
     2. Talking to Strangers: Made you look. No really, think about it. In the context of a caring adult (judge), a 4-H youth talks to a person they may have never met about something they created, took care of, raised, or learned about. The youth brings something of value to this venue and displays it to the public. There is a healthy stress in bringing such things into public view and growing in comfort and confidence when communicating with others.
     3. Persistence: Whether it is how the weather will impact your wethers or any number of other stressors, youth are given the opportunity to grow their resiliency through project-based learning. Being adaptable and adjusting your approach based upon changing conditions are keys to becoming an adult who perseveres in pursuing valuable goals.
     4. Teamwork: Learning and working together. Showing generosity even in the midst of healthy competition. Youth and adults as partners serving together and engaging the public in what is valuable to each person.
Creating belonging together as a 4-H learning community, exercising independence, sharing generosity, learning and pursuing mastery. So go catch a 4-H youth doing good!

Summertime: Showcasing 4-H ideals in action by enhancing the quality of life in Kansas communities for well over 110 years.