Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

A FAIR EDUCATION ; Teens Hone Skills Preparing for 4-H Fair SEE A LIST OF UPCOMING FAIRS ON 10D

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

A FAIR EDUCATION ; Teens Hone Skills Preparing for 4-H Fair SEE A LIST OF UPCOMING FAIRS ON 10D

Article excerpt

Like most teenagers, 17-year-old Emily Clark is no stranger to the art of multitasking. Between juggling schoolwork, dance recitals, and time with friends and family, Clark has her hands full. But Clark also finds herself in an entirely separate balancing act of its own this time of year. When county fair season rolls around, Clark, and a number of youth throughout the Tri- State, are busy working on 4-H projects. For Clark, all eight of them.

"This close to fair time, I just have to buckle down and get it all done," said Clark.

Clark, a nine-year veteran of 4-H, is home-schooled and is entering her senior year this fall. She's a member of the Castle Community 4-H club in Warrick County, and shows her projects through the Warrick County Fair.

But Clark says that her variety of projects strays away from the stereotypical image that most people paint of 4-H.

"I think a lot of people have a different idea of what 4-H is about. There's a whole lot more to it and there are all kinds of projects and I think there's something for everyone, and not everyone knows that. They just automatically assume it's all about animals and livestock,"

This year, Clark is taking food preservation, foods, health, junior leadership, miscellaneous crafts, photography, recycling, and sewing.

Over the past nine years, Clark says that foods and sewing have been her primary focuses.

Sewing is something that Clark says she's been able to use outside of 4-H. "Sewing is one of those things that I can use in a lot of different ways. It's really grown on me over the years. When I first started, I didn't want to follow patterns or instructions and didn't know how I would do with it, but it's something that has been a big part of my life now," Clark said. Clark started making a dress for this year's fair in August. For her, starting early is critical for both a successful project and time management.

"The hope is that I'll be able to model it at the state fair later on," she said.

As many area 4-H'ers busy themselves with making sure their animals are fit and healthy to show, Clark says that sometimes people forget that there are other opportunities to grow and learn through 4-H.

"If anyone is considering 4-H but isn't sure, I would encourage them anyway, because there is literally something for everyone," she said.

Clark has bounced from a host of different projects, such as basket weaving and candle making.

"No matter what the project, 4-H teaches you something valuable. I know I've benefited a lot from it, and the leadership skills I've gained will help me well beyond high school," she said.

Clark is also a 4-H ambassador for Warrick County. Her mother, Julianna Clark, says that 4-H has played a large role in shaping her daughter's life, and that 4-H can have an impact on anyone at any age.

"4-H has helped her grow so much from the very beginning. …

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