Stephanie Pearce: The fair brings joy and learning to light
August 2, 2015
Fair is always my favorite time of year. I think for me, it rates right up there with Christmas. It just has nostalgia to it from camping down at the fairgrounds and spending days on end with friends, to showing off all the hard work that has gone into projects and hopefully getting awards for all that hard work.
As a volunteer, nothing makes me happier than seeing participants give their projects the time and the effort it takes to complete them. It's also a parent thing. Parents must make the effort to oversee projects at home, help get kids where they need to be on time, and give respect to the volunteers as well so that the kids do the same. Volunteers give so much time away from their own families and put too much into their kids they volunteer for to have the child or the parent not care to finish and finish well.
Fair is all about showing off the hard work. It's taking pride in what you know. If the participants didn't go in with a winning attitude, it would just be a bunch of people turning in a bunch of mediocre stuff that no one would want to see. Now, we know not everyone can win, but everyone can definitely do their very best to try. That is what I love about 4-H and fair. It isn't one of those things where you get awards just for participating. You are actually judged on the quality of your work. The thing to remember is that not everyone can win and it is one judge's opinion on one day. Any other judge and any other day could lead to different results. So, if you took pride in your project when you brought it in, you should still take pride in it when you leave with it.
Fair is about learning; learning new skills and learning more about a subject you already think know well. The 4-H motto is "To make the best better." So, no matter what you do, as long as you learn something, you are already winning. There was a moment as a parent I had this year when my daughter was working on a presentation, and she told me that she wouldn't be too disappointed if she didn't win with her because she learned more in her research for it than the value the prize would bring. She said, "Don't get me wrong, I want to win, but I actually learned a lot that I can take with me for my whole life and that's worth more than the prize." Talk about a heart swelling moment. When this whole 4-H thing clicks for kids, that's when it's worth it as a parent and as a volunteer.
So, be proud to show off your work this week — both young and old. Bring your projects in with pride. Walk out with pride. Have fun. Know that no matter the color of your ribbon, that if you did your best, that's what matters. Continue to go out there and "make the best better."