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Most 4-H youth still prepping for county fairs

Most 4-H youth still prepping for county fairs
Rasine Bolek with a previous 4-H calf. Courtesy Photo

County fairs are still a couple of months off, but Covid-19 has many wondering if the shows will even happen.

4-H often works in conjunction with schools or has activities after school, when the virus shut schools down across the nation. 4-H lost connection to many of its youth activities, in Box Butte County 4-H coordinators have worked around the situation.

“We really got disrupted with doing our normal school enrichment, embryology, a big program we do in Box Butte County, and with the school canceling, we didn’t get that opportunity this year,” said Ashley Fenning, 4-H assistant at Box Butte County.

Nebraska State 4-H put together several virtual learning programs, 4-her’s could participate in from virtual field trips to self-instruction videos.  

Fenning said they are working on getting summer workshops together for summer projects for the youth. 

While static fair activities are in the works, the biggest part of most fairs, the livestock part has also been moving forward with a lot of uncertainty. 

Many of the 4-H youth, who have livestock projects, purchased their animals before the coronavirus hit, or bought them afterward, with hope the fairs will go forward.

Rasine Bolek, a sophomore at Alliance High School and a Jr. member of the Box Butte 4-H Council, has been washing her lamb, goats, and cattle every day to get them ready for fair.

“We’re still doing what we’d normally do this time of year and still being unsure if we are going to be able to show our animals,” she said. 

Bolek and others are watching Purina Show Right videos on Zoom, for information and techniques on fitting and feeding animals. The videos are helpful to the younger 4-hers, to learn more about their livestock since they can’t get together in usual group settings.

Box Butte 4-H is planning out by six weeks for events. Following the guidelines set by the state, but they are still hoping to have the county fair with shows. 

“We can do a virtual show, but it wouldn’t be the same as being in the ring together,” Bolek said. “That’s what most us want, and most of us cherish is being in the ring together. A virtual show if that’s the last thing we have, that’s what we’ll have to do.”

Fenning says no matter what happens. They will celebrate the learning and work the 4-hers have done.

The Nebraska State Fair is planning for a full event scheduled for Aug. 28 through Sept.7 in Grand Island. 

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