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Behind the scenes of 4-H

Madeline Roche • Aug 16, 2018 at 12:00 PM

In addition to being fair royalty, Regan Olak works on 4-H projects throughout the year.

“Throughout the year, I’m working on books,” said Olak, who was crowned Junior Fair queen Tuesday night at the Huron County Fair. “I’m also a leader in my club, so I’m practicing those leadership skills. I was on junior fair board, so I was hands on with other people, working with them to prepare for the fair.”

Olak said she spent a lot of time doing 4-H in the summer.

This year, Olak has three projects on display in the Family Consumer Science Building.

For one of those projects, she embellished a pink skirt with lace and added buttons. The skirt received a first-place award and was entered in a competition at the Ohio State Fair.

She also completed two cooking projects.

One was called, “You’re the chef,” where she tested different styles of cooking.

“It’s a lot of cooking,” Olak said.

This project was judged on a stew recipe she chose, table setting and also how much she knew and her portfolio. She received a first award.

Her second cooking project was called “Pantry Panic,” which was all about volunteering and food banks and knowing about needs in the community.

This project, which included activities and hypothetical situations, was her favorite, she said.

“I liked them all because they all had different aspects to them but I really liked “Pantry Panic” because it allowed me to see the needs in my community and looking at our food banks and Salvation Army and things like that,” Olak said.

However, Olak’s all-time favorite project was cake decorating.

“I took a few years of cake decorating and that was a lot of fun,” she said.

Olak said she encourages others to get involved in 4-H.

“There’s something for everyone. There’s many different types of projects,” Olak said, adding, “It’s all life skills that will benefit you for years to come when you go to college and live on your own.”

Olak is an incoming senior at Saint Paul High School and has two more years left as a member of the Huron County Clovers.

“4-H is probably one of the greatest organizations we have in our community and everyone should be a part it. I’d like to see the program grow for sure,” Olak said.

Olivia Cunningham, an incoming freshman, also had a cooking project on display this year.

She received the best-of-show award for her breads. She made three different kinds to decide what to bring to judging.

She said she puts a lot of work into her projects. For her pumpkin bread recipe, she made the bread at least four times before judging.

“I learned that it’s easy to think that your bread is perfect but you can always find something different and if you keep working on it and try to do something better, it will work out in the end,” Cunningham said.

There are many other project options.

Tori Brooks, an incoming freshman at Monroeville High School, has a refinishing project on display.

She fixed up a desk that was from her great-great-grandfather.

“A lot of work went into it,” she said, adding that it took almost three weeks to complete.

She stripped it, sanded it, added lacquer and finished it.

Brooks is following in the footsteps of her older sisters.

She is the youngest of four girls and all of her sisters have been involved in 4-H.

One of her sisters completed a similar project, which gave her some inspiration.

In addition to her project, Cunningham has eight pigs and 12 turkeys.

These are shown and sold each year. She said she finds it difficult to part with the animals but her family and friends help her get through it and remind her she will get more animals the following season.

She said she finds 4-H challenging because of the competition and hard work but that does not deter her from enjoying the program.

“It’s actually a lot of fun and it doesn’t take that long for projects. It depends on what you do. What I did took time but I think it was a lot of fun,” Brooks said, adding she would encourage others to look into joining 4-H.

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