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Every July the 4-H Fairgrounds in Ottawa, just off of 4-H Road, come to life as participants from throughout La Salle County vie for a blue, red or white ribbon in a wide range of project categories from livestock to robotics. “We have a strong representation from each of the 16-plus clubs, and we get thousands and thousands of exhibits,” said Toni Pienta, 4-H Youth Development Program Coordinator. 4-H is a nationwide community for children ages 8 to 19 that has provided experiences for young people to learn by doing for more than 100 years. A more recent off-shoot called Clover Bud, allows 5- to 7-year-olds to participate but not

compete at the fair, as well. “What it provides for the youth is a learning opportunity to master a skill and acquire advanced knowledge and establish a sense of belonging,” Pienta said. Traditionally 4-H’ers join a local club where they attend meetings focusing on community service and involvement, workshops and project activities among other areas of interest. In addition to community clubs there are now a number of special interest clubs that have developed in the last five years focusing on one specific interest such as photography. Pienta said this has attracted some kids who may not have been involved in

t A highlight of county fairs is the junior show, in which youths show livestock including cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens and more, as well as handmade and home-grown goods. Starved Rock Country

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Starved Rock Country Magazine_Summer 2019  

Starved Rock Country Magazine_Summer 2019  

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