Local youth turn 4-H projects to cash at the State Fair
Twenty University of Missouri Extension 4-H members were chosen to market and sell 4-H projects at the Show-Me 4-H Wares booth in the Mizzou Central Building at the Missouri State Fair, Aug. 11-14, 2011.
To participate in the Show-Me 4-H Wares program, 4-H members fill out an application describing their project and goals, and provide a product sample and a letter of recommendation.
“Show Me 4-H Wares gives 4-H members as young as age nine hands-on experience with presenting themselves and their original items to the public,” says Steve Henness, state specialist with the MU Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development. “They plan how to display and price their products, work up a sales pitch, make change for customers, and, of course, always remember to smile and say ‘thank you.’”
The Missouri State Fair booth provides a venue for young entrepreneurs to gain confidence in interacting with the public, be complimented on their work, and practice business skills, sometimes a hundred times or more in one day.
“When 4-H youth discover the skills they are learning and the items they are making have value to others, that really is priceless,” says Henness.
Some of the items 4-H youth sold at this year’s booth included cowgirl jewelry and hair accessories, duct tape roses, aprons and pot holders, hand-knitted hats and scarves, welded crafts, wooden pens, handbags made from recycled feed sacks, and blue-ribbon recipe cookbooks.
Two of this year’s State Fair exhibitors, Courtney Brown and Kami Nelson (Cowgirl Angelic Accessories) of Livingston County 4-H, also placed first in the youth category of the MADE in Missouri State Entrepreneurship Competition at the State Fair, Aug. 18.
The number of Show Me 4-H Wares youth exhibitors more than doubled over last year. Event organizers say county fairs are beginning to offer similar selling opportunities for 4-H members locally, which help youth prepare for the State Fair.
The Show Me 4-H Wares program is part of the MU Extension 4-H entrepreneurship project, through which youth learn how to start a small business or a social venture that addresses a need in their community. For more information on this and similar programs, see Cloverpreneurs and visit Cloverpreneurs on Facebook.