Young fahionistas take a turn on the 4-H runway |

Young fahionistas take a turn on the 4-H runway

Michaela Gibboni
Sky-Hi News Intern
Grand County CO Colorado

On July 30 in Kremmling, youth between the ages of 5 and 19 participated in Grand County 4-H Club’s Exhibit Day, showing off their projects in everything from rocketry to robotics, cake decorating to ceramics, shooting sports to sewing, and culminating with the Fashion Revue – a chance for girls to model their handmade clothes in a real fashion show setting.

The students worked diligently all year on their projects, and kept a record book of their progress, complete with goals, an activity log, and a record of completed community service, which is a 4-H requirement.

On Exhibit Day, the projects and participants were both judged in an interview. However, explained Debbie Alpe, Jackson County extension director and one of this year’s 4-H Exhibit Day administrators, the project is not the most important part of the interview.

“The project is the medium for youth development,” she said

The whole process focuses much less on the judging aspect, and more on the whole experience. The interview helps to build confidence, and according to Alpe, the interview experience greatly benefits 4-H matriculators in the future, when they enter the job market.

Each 4-H participant – judges and youth alike – expressed that they learned so much more than simply a skill through their project. Said one judge who simply goes by Mr. Ron: ‘shooting sports’ projects teach “mathematics, history, science, and discipline.”

Former 4-Her, mother and current 4-H leader Shelley Malish values the “interaction, teamwork, leadership, and responsibility” each 4-H project teaches. But most of all, Malish said, she values “having fun.”

Above all, having fun was definitely the theme of the day. Each of the students appeared not only excited about their projects, but happy to spend the day participating in activity after 4-H activity.

Even 11-year-old Karma, who expressed stage fright during a practice run of the Fashion Revue, was helped along by an older member and, by the time of the official fashion show, she climbed the stage and beamed back at the audience, modeling her handmade pink and green three-tiered skirt, similar in color and style to a pricey Lily Pulitzer design. Karma’s skirt echoed 4-H sewing project leader Jenna Golnik’s comment as to why she personally values sewing: having the skill to “sew stuff I can’t afford to have.”

The Fashion Revue not only provided a medium in which to display the girl’s creations, but also promoted poise and confidence. The five girls, ages of 6 to 15, were judged not only on the quality of the garment, but on the way they presented themselves.

In addition to the blue ribbons each participant received an award unique to them, from a bag for 6-year-old Isis to carry her dolls to 15-year-old Shyla’s floral eyelet top.

Isis won Best Accessories; Shyla won Best Hair; Karma was awarded Bravest Model; Trista, 10, the Grand Champion, won Best Use of Color for her tie dye skirt; and Joli, 8, in her handmade pajama shorts, accessorized with oversized slippers, won the Cutie Pie Award.

At 4-H, each participant is awarded for their efforts. They are not judged against each other, but rather, against a uniform set of standards, each person working towards their own personal goal. Said Mr. Ron of the 4-H Exhibit Day participants: “Everybody is a blue ribbon kid.”

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