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The Bureau County 4-H Fair is right around the corner, July 24-27, and with over 200 project possibilities, it is bound to have something for everyone.

Four-H means something different to every member, every leader, every parent, every supporter, every alum, everyone! The goal of those 200 project areas is to help youth learn skills for living. Today’s 4-H experience is creative, scientific, practical learning that is a fun approach to personal development, community and peer group involvement.

I always enjoy meeting someone new in the community who shares with me their 4-H experience — how 4-H has helped them beyond their years as an active member into their many roles as an adult, how much fun they had and how much they value the experiences now. These stories are told with a smile and usually a few laughs. They often share how the skills they learned and practiced have become lifelong hobbies and provided them with a skill set needed in today’s world. These same people often volunteer their time and talents to help the next generation of 4-H youth.

I’m also always pleased to hear how parents have watched their children become more independent and confident from belonging to and participating in the community club settings. That is why I am pleased to share this opportunity with everyone.

Illinois 4-H is offering a way for everyone to share their 4-H story with the #thats4h campaign.

We thought we’d make it as FUN and REWARDING as possible … because #thats4h! So, we’re having a contest with almost $1,000 in prizes!

There are five different categories of things you can submit—and five different age divisions, so everyone has a chance — even adults! You may submit a photograph, six-second video, three-minute video, inspirational story or poem or a 4-H promotional piece which advertises how great 4-H is to you!

We’ll show off as many entries as possible, and the top entry in each category will be used in a statewide Illinois 4-H promotion. We’ll award nearly $1,000 worth of prizes throughout the contest!

For the official rules, go to , or contact the Extension office. Enter as many categories, as many times as you want! The contest runs from March 1 to Aug. 1, 2014. We’ll show off the finalists during the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and online at our website!

Please share your memories not only with me, but with everyone! Tell us how 4-H has influenced your life, what were you like before, describe your 4-H involvement, how has it shaped the person you are today and why that matters. What a wonderful opportunity to do so.

Remember whether it is today’s trip down memory lane that has sparked a curiosity to see how 4-H has grown, or to inquire about how it can become a current fit with your family, please plan on visiting this year’s Bureau County 4-H Fair, July 24-27, at the Bureau County Fairgrounds.

The 4-H Fair is the culmination of all the 4-H youths’ hard work and efforts on the projects they have chosen to participate in this 4-H year. Admission is always free, and it is a great time to view the project possibilities, talk to the members, leaders and parents about their experiences and of course have FUN!

We hope to see you there.

Sue Brooker is the program coordinator for 4-H and youth development at the University of Illinois Extension — Bureau County.

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