HELENA — When people hear about 4-H they often think of animals. But animal projects are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to everything the organization has to offer.
More than 200 kids are presenting over 1,400 projects this week at the Lewis and Clark Fairgrounds. Over the past year 4-H members took part in everything from forestry, to civic leadership to robotics.
“There’s leather crafting, there’s air rifle, there’s shooting sports, there's baking. So it’s a lot more than just animals,” said Ellie Weisgerber.
Maddison Weisgerber, Ellie’s older sister, did three welding projects and air rifle. 4-H was her first time getting experience with welding, and one of her creations on display this week is a functional clock made from gears, wrenches and spark plugs.
“I know I wanted to do some kind of industrial kind of project and my dad had a welder and offered to teach me and I just absolutely fell in love with it,” said Maddison.
Another pair of siblings showcasing their work are Kaylin and Mason Manning.
The young Kaylin has six projects this year. She’s most proud of her baking, which included some delicious banana bread.
Mason on the other hand entered some of his photographs. His abstract photos showcased some fairly high-level techniques to achieve the end result.
4-H stands for Head, Heart, Hands and Health. The intent is for the kids to learn skills beyond the technical aspects of their projects.
No matter what project they worked on, every 4-H member MTN spoke with on Tuesday told a similar story of how the organization has helped them grow as an individual.
“In 4-H you learn a lot. I’ve learned how to communicate better with judges and presenting. I’ve also gained a bunch of friends,” said Mason Manning.
People are able to bid on many of the items created by the kid this Saturday at 3:00 p.m. The livestock sale is also on Saturday beginning at 9:00 a.m.
More information about 4-H events this year at the Last Chance Stampede and Fair can be found here.
For families interested in joining 4-H, more information about the organization and how to get involved can be found here.