Event exposes children to different facets of 4-H
By TIM HEARDEN
ANDERSON, Calif. -- During a 4-H field day here, 16-year-old Rebecca Peconom decided to take a break from her sheep and poultry projects and see what some of the other youngsters were up to.
So she went into one of the exhibit halls of the Shasta District Fairgrounds and tried her hand at decorating a cookie.
"I'm not in a baking project, so it's really fun to do something like this," said Peconom, who lives in Shingletown, Calif. "The whole day is really fun because you get to see things that you didn't really know exist."
Peconom was one of nearly 400 students doing a wide range of projects May 5 at the Shasta District Fairgrounds, which for many students was their last shot at qualifying for the Shasta District Fair in June.
This year organizers decided for the first time to hold their annual field days for large and small animals, home economics and agricultural technology in one place. With all the different disciplines having their field days together, kids had a chance to see what youngsters in other facets of 4-H were doing.
"That's what we were hoping, that some of the animal kids would go in and see the home economics and technology," said Audra Lane, a 4-H program representative from Douglas City, Calif., who organized the event.
In the fairgrounds' livestock area, about 150 children were involved in showing market beef cattle, lambs, hogs, goats and replacement bred heifers, or smaller animals such as poultry and rabbits. The winners in each group had a round robin in which they showed different animals, with the top showman receiving a plaque.
"The one that is the best had to show four or five different species, some of which they don't actually own," Lane said.
One of those competing in the meat goat division was 12-year-old Joseph Trimble of the Cottonwood, Calif., 4-H group. He said he hadn't gotten a chance to check out the other disciplines.
"I've been spending time on this little sucker," he said, referring to his goat. However, combining the events was a good opportunity for people to get a more full picture of what 4-H is about, he said.
His mother, Lu Trimble, agreed.
"I love the fact that kids have this experience before the fair," she said. "This is a minifair for them. It's so good to get that experience."
Jackie General, a 4-H leader in the home economics area, said she'd seen kids from other parts of the fairgrounds wander in and stop at the cookie decorating table.
"We're trying to get the kids who don't do this kind of thing to get interested in other parts of 4-H," she said. "Plus they get to eat the cookie."