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Variety of 4-H youth exhibits – and their animals – return to Deschutes County Fair

Exhibits include livestock, small animals and crafts - and the kids learn a lot

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Deschutes County Fair and Rodeo is welcoming back many guests in person, including students who take part in the Deschutes County 4-H program.

The county’s 4-H program is offered through Oregon State University’s Extension Service, and it includes members between the ages of 9 and 18.

Holly Silvey, an intern with Deschutes County 4-H, said 4-H members work to develop six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

“It ranges all the way from raising livestock animals, like swine, beef, goats, rabbits, and all the way to textiles,” Silvey said. “So, sewing, leathercraft, art, educational displays and public speaking.”

The 4-H members choose a project or animal to showcase at the Deschutes County Fair each year.

The county fair was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Silvey said 4-H activities continued, with some changes.

“There were some capacity limits where members and clubs couldn’t meet,” she said. “We tried to do everything online, so lots of Zoom meetings and online competitions." 

Silvey said it’s good to be back and see everyone in person. She said she enjoys seeing the students’ personal development.

“They’re really shy or scared of people, don’t like confrontation, or even getting on a big scary horse,” she said. “All of a sudden, they’re a senior in high school and they have these skills they would’ve never had.”

Desi Hanson is an incoming high school senior who was also named the La Pine Rodeo Association’s Rodeo Queen for the 2020-2021 year.

She has been a member of 4-H since she was in the fourth grade. 

“It definitely helps with public speaking,” Hanson said. “I’m naturally a very shy person.”

Josie Olsen, who’s in her sixth year of the program, agreed communication is one of the most valuable skills she has learned during her time in 4-H.

“I’ve got to learn how to communicate with people, so I know where to go, when to get there and how to do it,” she said. “Because I definitely don’t know everything.”

Desi and Josie participated in the 4-H horse exhibition on July 16, where they showcased how well they trained their horses in an event called dressage.

“You just have to have cadence and make it look as easy as possible,” Desi said. “That’s what dressage is all about.”

“We’re looking for movement of the horse, and how they can move and go into frame,” Josie added. “And how to collect underneath themselves and move in the most beautiful way possible.”

Scout Bale, a high school senior in her last year of the 4-H program, said in addition to riding horses, she also works with livestock and production animals.

“I really love spending time with the animals, learning about them and their individual personalities, and eventually showing them and hopefully doing well,” Scout said.

To learn more about Deschutes County’s 4-H program, visit the OSU Extension Service’s website.

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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


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