Every year the 4-H concludes the Allen County Fair with an awards ceremony to honor their club members for their hard work.
Board member Roger Clark is a former 4-H club member and truly believes in what 4-H stands for and achieves.
“We want to teach kids that there is more out there than themselves. They need to think about everything they do every day and see if it's going to better not only themselves but also the community,” Clark said. They need “to learn respect… hard work and dedication because some of these kids think they're just entitled. Once they work with their animals, get these projects done and all those things, it shows them that if you work hard, in the end you'll get something in return.”
4-H honors two club members every year as honor achievers. They are usually in 11th and 12th grade, nearing their last year in 4-H and are called honor achievers because they have accumulated the most points on the 4-H grading system.
The members receive materials to keep track of their projects and points, down to a dated log of what they are doing, especially for the livestock projects. They keep these logs from their first year and the points accumulate until their final year.
Nine-year member Maddie Brown, a 16-year-old who attends Bishop Luers High School, says that being a 4-H member has helped her figure herself out and prepare for her future.
“I've learned a lot about confidence and taking pride in what I've turned into cause you're not going to win everything cause they say 'different judge different results',” Brown said. “I'll take what I learned and how to be confident in what I do.”
Projects go from simple things like painting rocks and basic crafts to projects for older members including photography and livestock-raising.
After the livestock projects are completed and the judges have given the awards, the fair finalizes with an auction for the livestock, which will be Monday. Each club member is allowed to sell two animals that must be of different species, Clark said
“So you can sell a chicken and a cow,” he said. “They don't (sell) anything breeding, it's all market animals. So you can't show a grand champion dairy cow and sell that, you have to sell dairy steer.”
Once the livestock auction is over, the buyers have the option of sending their purchases to slaughter for themselves or donating the animal to the Community Harvest Food Bank. It's another way that 4-H shows its dedication to bettering the community by doing good works, Clark said.
“Whoever buys it can choose to donate it so the money goes to the kid and that animal goes to feed the hungry. We usually have between five and 10 a year that do that,” Clark said.
Club member and honor achiever Sydney Norwalk describes her time with 4-H as beneficial and fun. She also suggest that other kids do as much as they can with their time in 4-H.
“It's really helped me in every way because I do all of the projects. I've definitely learned how to properly research and (I've learned) communication skills because you have to talk to the judges… and of course getting to meet other people. It's been fun,” Norwalk said.