This is our first year being involved in the 4-H program in our county and we could not be happier with it. This past week was the 3 day annual fair where all the clubs come together to show their animals, present their projects, and have a great time learning new things.
As I mentioned before, Grace and Aiden joined the Alpaca club this summer and are learning how to handle the animals and how to work with the fiber. So it is kind of a livestock and art course in one! That's a pretty good deal.
At the fair they needed to walk their alpacas through an agility course to show how well they could handle their animal and were judged on how well they did.
Even though Naomi isn't officially old enough to be in the club (you need to be 8 on 1/1) Alex and Sandy, our club leaders, were kind enough to let her go through the course as well so she could practice. Amazingly, she and Grace tied for 1st with Aiden coming in a close 2nd. The judges remarked at how impressed they were with Naomi's handling of the animals for such a young age. That's our bossy, take charge girl! I don't think the alpacas know how to take her. :)
Grace and Aiden also got blue ribbons for their projects. They give ribbons based on a standard so that everyone gets a ribbon, and the kids aren't necessarily competing against each other. Everyone gets credit for their project with the blue ribbon representing outstanding work for their class.
Aiden did a felting project with the alpaca fiber of Van Gogh's Starry Night.
Grace did a project relating the different parts of the Alpaca with information and facts about the animal. She also included her felting project she has enjoyed making.
Now she just needs to get her ears pierced!
The kids also took the puppies over on Saturday to participate in the pet contest. They signed the puppies up for the "smallest pet" class, but unfortunately someone with a pet tarantula ended up winning. They would have won if there was a "most popular" class because we could not walk 10 feet without someone stopping us and wanting to pet the puppies!
We also had great fun walking around the other tents and looking at all other chickens, turkeys, ducks, rabbits, goats and cows.
I have no idea why Grace's mouth is open here or why I have this look on my face.
Maybe it was this.....
Lest I end this post with such a sorry sight here is a more pleasant image for you.
4-H clubs meet once a month, are free or low cost, and are a great opportunity for kids to learn responsibility in caring for animals, participate in community service projects and develop leadership skills. While we are continuing with the alpaca club for the next year, we are also letting the kids pick one more club each that they want to be involved in for next year. Grace chose the chicken/poultry club and Aiden the pygmy/pet goat club. I should also mention that you do not need to own any animal to be in any of these clubs. Many people are not able to have these animals on their properties and one of the purposes of 4-H is to expose children to farming and livestock who would not otherwise have the opportunity. You can join any time, and everyone we talked to at the fair was super friendly and eager to have more members.
Check it out!