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4-H and Waukesha County Fair go together

Organization is celebrating its 100th anniversary

July 15, 2014

The Waukesha County Fair is the time when children involved in 4-H get to shine.

Their arts and crafts projects are on display, their photography is showcased and their animals are featured.

Thousands of people will look at the work done by those in 4-H this week at the Waukesha County Fair on the Waukesha County Expo Center grounds.

"The whole reason the fair is held is for the children to showcase everything they've done throughout the year," said Shari Black, executive director of the Waukesha County Fair, who as a Town of Waukesha resident was involved in 4-H growing up. "There would be no reason for us to have the fair if there wasn't 4-H."

According to statistics provided by Maria Habib, the 4-H youth development educator for Waukesha County's UW-Extension, there were 723 members involved in 4-H in the county and 393 adult volunteer leaders last year. Together, they made up 28 chartered 4-H clubs in the county.

Because Waukesha County is more urban, Habib said 4-H in Waukesha is different than more rural counties. In fact, Habib said just more than 71 percent of its members are from urban areas.

"We base our program on needs of the county," Habib said.

Black's three children followed in her footsteps and are also part of 4-H.

"It's definitely a great program, as it gives children a diverse background and teaches them to be leaders," Black said. "They are taught so many valuable lessons in life and so many skills."

4-H is Wisconsin is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and will hold celebrations throughout the fair's five-day run.

The winners of the Waukesha County Fairest of the Fair have a history of being involved in 4-H. In addition to Black, last year's winner, Cecilia Heberling, was involved in 4-H over the years, as have a majority of this year's finalists.

Maybe a Fairest of the Fair is in the future of two of Julia Bizub's daughters.

The Waukesha mother has gotten her children, which also includes two boys, involved in 4-H. Her kids have thrived in the program —a model project her oldest son, Nate Beaver, constructed is being shown at the World Expo in Italy.

And while they don't live in a rural area of the county, the family has had the opportunity to show animals through 4-H at that fair.

"4-H allows them to explore what interests them and what they want to continue pursuing," said Bizub, who is also an adult leader. "They can get a greater sense of self confidence. It's just a great opportunity."

Bizub said besides her children preparing projects for the annual county fair, the 4-H club also does charity projects.

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