4-Hers Show off Wide Variety of Skills at the Clackamas County Fair

4-H has been a part of the County Fair longer than the corn dog. If you’ve never stopped by, we encourage you to visit the 4-H displays and exhibit hall where you will see youth who take on challenges, find satisfaction in working hard, and care about the world, not just themselves. You will find these 4-H values on display in the animal barns, where each member spends time educating the public about the animals they raised. Or in the exhibit hall, where you’ll find a photograph or a decorated cake highlighting the culture of our featured country of the year. You may even be lucky enough to catch a young entrepreneur’s presentation about a business they hope to start one day. “We know that participation in County Fair builds confidence and develops skills like responsibility and time management,” says Wendy Hein, Oregon State University faculty member. “Youth also gain communication skills by educating the public about their projects.” 

The 4-H Youth Development Program holds fair events throughout the summer. Most activities take place at the Clackamas County Fair, held each year in Canby during August. Almost 600 youth entered one or more classes in 2019. “We appreciate that the community can come to see what these youth have accomplished and affirm their engagement in positive activities,” says Hein. 

In early summer, the 4-H program holds county fair events for four additional project areas. In 2019, 182 equestrians showed at the Horse Fair, 29 youth brought their pet pals to Dog Fair, 5 felines and their friends came to the Cat Show, and 1 young man proudly displayed his bearded dragon at Herpetology Day! That’s a total of 740 youth engaged in Clackamas County Fair activities throughout the summer!

4-H skills fairgrounds
4-H skills fairgrounds
4-H skills fairgrounds
4-H skills fairgrounds

At Horse Fair, we asked our graduating seniors to share some advice and lessons they learned through participating in 4-H. Their answers speak volumes about the values instilled by 4-H programs: 

  • 4-H taught me patience when things aren’t working out exactly as you’d hoped – which with horses happens all too often. 
  • My 4-H leader is always positive and encouraging. She taught me so much and I am forever grateful for everything she has done for me. 
  • My favorite memories in 4-H would be of camping at fair and staying up way too late in a big tent with all my friends.
  • 4-H has taught me to set goals for myself and to work hard to achieve them. 
  • A piece of advice: Don’t procrastinate on record books. 
  • Look past the ribbon color you’ve earned. If you rode to the best of your ability, then that’s all that matters. 
  • It is important to help others out and be someone they can look up to by being an example of good deeds, kindness, and confidence.