Hundreds of 4-H students were on hand at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds Tuesday to present their Indoor Exhibits and Outdoor Educational Displays.
This year, the students presented around 1,600 projects.
Irene Edwards with Wild Roses 4-H Club is presenting 60 projects at this year’s fair – an impressive feat.
Edwards joined 4-H when she around 9 years old; first competing in archery.
“4-H is probably one of the best programs I’ve been in,” said Edwards.
While people know 4-H for livestock, the vast majority of the projects students are involved in are indoor, such as photography, shooting sports, robotics and leadership.
Cade Duran of East Helena is one of several students only presenting indoor projects this year, specifically photography and teen leadership.
Duran began with 4-H when he was 6 as a Cloverbud. He now serves as the Montana 4-H Foundation trustee in addition to being a Lewis and Clark County ambassador.
“For me personally, 4-H is the biggest thing in my life, it’s done amazing things for me,” said Duran. “Really it’s opened up my world. Some of my best friends live all across the state of Montana and I’m going to South Korea in September with 4-H.”
“4-H has personally done a ton for me,” said Janell Swanson, Lewis and Clark County 4-H Ambassador. “I was a really shy little girl, and with leadership I was able to learn to put myself out there and not feel like I’m going to fail all of the time. 4-H has really helped me grow as a person and make me more confident in what I do.”
Swanson began with 4-H when she was only 2 years old and said one of her favorite parts is helping encourage the next generation of 4-H kids.
“I love judging clover buds honestly, because I remember being little and shy and how important it is for you to have that you just kind of connect with and make you feel confident in yourself,” said Swanson.
“They get so into it and they’re so pumped up and excited about their projects,” added Duran. “It’s just awesome to see them talking and hear them interact with these older people. I mean I can just vision it in the future how they’re going to thrive and do so much better.”
Lewis and Clark County 4-H have a full slate of events planned this week including: dog agility, the livestock showings, a robotics presentation and the 4-H Livestock Sale and Indoor Project Auction on Saturday.
The full list of events can be found here.
-Reported by John Riley/MTN News