Become a Champion Member for Fair!

For Wyoming Newspapers
Posted 7/4/23

The county fair is a few short weeks away. As deadlines quickly approach, I am certain that members are working hard on their projects for the fair, perhaps perfecting a peanut butter cookie recipe, teaching a lamb to lead, or putting that last stitch in a hemline.

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Become a Champion Member for Fair!


The county fair is a few short weeks away.  As deadlines quickly approach, I am certain that members are working hard on their projects for the fair, perhaps perfecting a peanut butter cookie recipe, teaching a lamb to lead, or putting that last stitch in a hemline.  No matter what they are working on, I am sure that some of the pressures and stresses of the upcoming deadlines are beginning to weigh on members, parents, and leaders.  It is so important this time of year before, during, and after the fair, to work on our sportsmanship skills and continue to have a positive attitude.  Did you know that simply putting a smile on your face, sporting a good attitude, and showing some interest in your fellow competitors is all it takes to make a competition more fun, exciting, and educational for all? 


Good sportsmanship is one of the most important life skills you can develop and practice during these weeks before, during, and after the County Fair.  When I think about sportsmanship and leading by example, I try to follow these guidelines that might help you as well:


  1. Follow the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." Acting polite and putting your best foot forward will definitely make you shine as a competitor while ensuring that Fair is enjoyable for everyone. 
  2. Play by the rules, cheaters always lose in the end. You do not want to make cheating a bad habit that you fall back on in the future, remember, the bad decisions you make today might end up affecting you in the future.
  3. Keep an open mind, listen to others, and try to learn something new! You never know what you might find useful or helpful if you take the time to listen and learn from all the expertise and wisdom surrounding you.
  4. Be respectful of your competitors, they have worked just as hard as you have and deserve your respect.  Be a gracious winner and a dignified loser, always knowing that completing your project and showcasing your skills at the fair makes you a champion member. 
  5. Remember, actions speak louder than words, so think before you act, consider how your actions might affect those around you.  Bad attitudes and poor decisions can make the fair a bad experience for you, your parents, your leaders, and your friends.
  6. Always show your appreciation to those who have helped you along the way.  Thank your sponsors, buyers, show officials, judges, parents, and leaders.  A simple thank you and a smile will go a long way.
  7. Always control your temper; with stress, hard work, unpredictable animals, and heat it is easy to lose your temper. Just make sure to take a deep breath, count to ten, and move on.
  8. Lastly, and most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!

Parents, have you thought about how you are exhibiting your sportsmanship at fair?  I know as the days get fewer, households get stressed as you strongly suggest completing project work before having fun and relaxing.  Parents, your persistence, support, and help is invaluable and will eventually be appreciated, even if you are hearing all the grumbling now.  I know this time of year it is easy for you all as parents to change from that support and helpful role of cheerleader and mentor to Fair Project Authoritarian.  It can be challenging to continue to support and encourage your youth as they procrastinate, grumble, and lack motivation in the heat.  I understand, you have watched them work hard all summer, and you only want them to do and be their very best at the Fair.  It is really important, now more than ever, however, that you all take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember these pointers during these days before and during the Fair to ensure that their project work continues to be about learning, having fun, and developing positive life skills.

  1. Don’t complete their project work for them, instead try to find a fun way to keep them motivated to complete it themselves, after all, our job is to teach responsibility.
  2. Allow them to make mistakes, while there is a limited amount of time left to complete projects and you want it to be an example of your child’s best work, mistakes are part of the learning process, and no one is perfect , we all make mistakes!
  3. Help them fulfill their project requirements. This may mean helping with an entry form and getting it delivered on time, arriving at the Fair on time, or getting them to a workshop or clinic to practice before the Fair.  While we are teaching independence, they still need our help with these logistical problems.
  4. Don’t lose your temper. Projects may get left at home, tools misplaced, or any number of other nuisances that tend to add stress at Fair time.  Count to ten, take a deep breath, and help your child solve these problems.  A lecture out of frustration and anger will not help them solve the problem at hand, it will only make Fair more stressful for everyone.
  5. Help your child follow the rules, cheaters always lose in the end.
  6. Help your child be a gracious winner and a dignified loser, respect the judge’s decision, and congratulate your child for their job well done. Every child cannot win Grand Champion, however doing their best and completing their project makes them a Champion Member! 
  7. Encourage your child to make new friends and support one another. Set a good example and cheer on all those competing at the fair.  Actions speak louder than words, and you never know who is watching you.
  8. Remember, 4-H is a FAMILY event encouraging you to have FUN as a FAMILY. So, get out there, have some fun at the Fair, and show our youth how to work hard and have fun while doing it!

I am confident that you all will make fair a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone, and I can't wait to see all the hard work members (and their families) have completed!  See you all at the fair in a few short weeks, and start practicing your sportsmanship skills now by being gracious to those helping you get your work completed!


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