McLean County 4H fair gives next generation a leg up - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

McLean County 4H fair gives next generation a leg up

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Over 3,500 projects are on display at the fair, covering every discipline. Over 3,500 projects are on display at the fair, covering every discipline.
BLOOMINGTON, Ill (HOI) -- -

The McLean County 4H showcase took center stage Thursday, showing off the work of local experts. 

And the best part: every one of them was a kid. 

"It means everything to me," explained Corinne Miller, a Thomas Metcalf student featured at the fair. "I had no idea I was going to get (first place). I thought I was just going to get the light purple ribbon..."

Miller won best in show for her dress, and plans to continue tailoring and honing her skills.

Others, like Hudson Elementary's Rylan Engel, had more personal reasons.

"Since my cousin is in the marines, I made a marine bag," he said. 

Rylan and his siblings all took home ribbons in their fields, with a little help from parents and some furry friends. For many, this is the highlight of their year.

"It shows you a great sense of pride and hard work that they put in all year for their projects," said Melissa Engel, Rylan's mother.

The 4H fair is so much more than just agriculture and livestock. It's engineering, robotics - art. And for the people involved, it's a way of life.

Carolyn Hansen, McLean County's 4H Youth Development Educator, explains that what started as an after-school program grew into a pathway to success.

"We can help them bring that interest into a passion," said Hansen. "Things that they can learn for skills, that will last them their whole life."

For Hansen, who's involvement with 4H spans generations, the program isn't just about ribbons - it's about building a better tomorrow.

"That's what it is, it's a way of life, a way of living. I don't know of one child that I've ever seen that couldn't benefit from being in 4H."
 

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