Hello Shawano County 4-H Community,
We are thankful to have youth, supportive families, and adult volunteer leaders energizing our program. Even though our education has looked different during the past 4 months, featuring virtual or non-contact methods, our program is still making strides across Shawano County. The mission of 4-H is to provide meaningful opportunities for all youth and adults to work together to create sustainable community change. This is accomplished within three primary content areas, or mission areas – civic engagement and leadership, healthy living, and science. The purpose of this communication is to clarify some questions around exhibiting and volunteering at the Shawano County Fair.
The Agriculture Society that plans the Shawano County Fair is a longtime and valued partner of the 4-H program. The fair is a tradition that brings together our community; many of us consider it the highlight of the summer! Each year the Agriculture Society provides opportunities for Shawano county residents to gain recognition for skills they have learned or mastered by exhibiting at the fair. This year the Shawano Agricultural Society has made the decision to move forward and hold the county fair.
I would like to be very clear; the Division of Extension and Shawano 4-H does not make the decision to hold a county fair. In this county, it is the decision of the Agricultural Society.
Due to the health concerns, 4-H members are encouraged to avoid large gatherings of any kind and to attend only events that are following Extension guidelines, including distancing and face coverings. Attending a county fair will not meet the Extension’s guidelines, given that fairs are large gatherings. This year, Shawano County 4-H will not host a food stand or the Older Youth Group Dance. The 4-H Leaders Inc. will not be running auctions for Livestock, Small Animal, or Cakes. The Agriculture Society may choose to host an auction for these areas for eligible Junior Fair exhibitors. Since they are hosting the event, eligible exhibitors will be required to follow the rules and guidelines they put forth. Please stay up to date by following the Shawano Fair website and social media pages.
Exhibiting at the Fair
The Division of Extension/Shawano 4-H Program will not prevent young people from exhibiting individually. Individuals can make the decision to exhibit at the fair, 4-H members are not required to show at the fair. If you do not feel it is safe, do not exhibit at the fair. This is an individual’s choice. 4-H members choosing to participate on their own will not be covered by any 4-H insurance during their participation and 4-H assumes no responsibility should they become sick as a consequence of their participation.
Volunteering at the Fair
4-H staff and volunteers are encouraged to avoid large gatherings of any kind. Shawano county 4-H members and leaders will not be required to fulfill volunteer hours at the fair. However, the Division of Extension will not prevent you from volunteering individually. When volunteering at the fair, you are a fair volunteer, not a 4-H volunteer. Volunteers choosing to participate, will not be covered by 4-H liability insurance during their participation and 4-H assumes no responsibility should they become sick as a consequence of their participation.
The fair is moving forward is exciting news for many; I am sure there are also some of you who now need to make the difficult personal choice of whether you feel comfortable participating. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a challenging time in our world, country, state, county, and each community. Individuals have different levels of comfort with large groups and I ask that each of you please respect the decisions made by each family. Some people will want to wear masks and others may not; please be kind and know that these are very personal decisions. Everybody has their own reason for their decisions. As a 4-H program participant, you have been receiving the memos and updates from the University of Wisconsin: Division of Extension regarding guidelines for 4-H sponsored events and meetings for the last few months. Here are links to the two most recent FAQ documents https://4h.extension.wisc.edu/extension-fair-faq/ and https://4h.extension.wisc.edu/4-h-faqs-related-to-covid-19/ . I encourage you to take the few minutes it will take to read both of these as there is important information included in each.
The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills of youth through experiential learning programs and a positive youth development approach. Thank you for your continued patience and support as we continue to “Make the Best Better”!
As we declare before every meeting,
“I pledge my head to clearer thinking, My heart to greater loyalty, My hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”
Thank you for the energy, passion, creativity, time, and investment you bring to our program.
Positive Youth Development Educator
Shawano County Extension