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Wyoming Youth Need Support in County and State Fairs

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

County and state fairs are an important aspect of Wyoming society. The fairs showcase the final results of youth’s projects, the culmination of learning and applying new skills, along with skills learned in previous years.  

At fairs, when the project is judged, youth will learn what they did right and what they could improve on. Sometimes, learning what to improve is the most important.  

The passion for a project can carry over for several years, maybe even a lifetime. I know people who learned photography through fair projects and have grown up to be professional photographers. Other youth have kept up hobbies, such as leather craft, cake decorating, woodworking, etc. to make items for themselves and others. 

The lessons learned raising animals may linger with an exhibitor until a dream is realized and they are ranching. For other youth, raising animals and the trials and tribulations are as close to production agriculture as they will ever be.  

All youth will take with them lessons learned – the good and the bad.

How do we help youth? There are so many ways to help through donations.  

Donations for prizes is always helpful. Agriculture programs such as 4-H and FFA are always appreciative of funding for awards. Individuals can donate, as well as organizations. Helping youth seems to always be a top priority for many organizations.

Time is another great way to help out. Every fair I’ve been around is always looking for people to assist. Each fair is usually looking for clerks, judges and organizers.

Even just a few hours of a person’s time can be a large gift. Helping with the shows will usually be greatly appreciated. The next time you go to a fair, look how many people are needed to run a show. 

If those without youth in the show can help, parents can watch the show. The youth will appreciate this.

Many youth have an interest in raising animals but don’t have a place to keep them. It usually does not have to be fancy, just a secure place with the needed cover to keep the animal safe, clean and cool (or warm depending on where in Wyoming you live).  

If you let youth keep livestock at your place, let them know what the expectations are. The vast majority of youth will live up to or exceed your expectations.

Words are probably the greatest gift you can give to youth. Youth will remember kind words and words of a job well done – words encouraging youth.  

I think all of us can remember those people that gave us kind words of encouragement when we were young. Who knows, maybe a kind word will carry over and the child will work harder to improve.

I have come to the conclusion youth have not changed much. They still do some of the same things a lot of us did 40 to 50 years ago. Just think, they need the same things we all needed.

Brett Moline is the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation director of public and governmental affairs.

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