Van Buren 4-H Differently Abled Program Is A Success
Jason Boroughf, Elizabeth Olsiewicz, Brendan Baker, Judge Alexander deFinta, Madelyn Flake, Caregiver (credit: Van Buren 4H)
Developmentally challenged 4-H youth ages 5 to 26 had the opportunity to participate in a special show at the 2015 Van Buren County Youth Fair. The show, designed for exhibitors with special needs, was held on Friday afternoon, July 24, 2015. Special arrangements were also made in the swine, horse, cat, and dog project areas. “Five exhibitors participated in the first official show, easing us into the pilot program. There have already been numerous inquiries about how to sign-up for 2016,” says Differently Abled Committee Secretary Denise Noble.
Exhibitors showed still exhibit projects, as well as rabbits and goats. Those choosing to show animals worked throughout the year with animal project teen leaders in local 4-H clubs to build their skills and knowledge of their project. The show’s structure was designed to reduce exhibitor stress by allocating specific show times and assistance from project leaders and caregivers. Judge Alexander deFinta, Special Education Teacher, said, “It was empowering for participants to show in a situation created especially for special needs youth.”
Special thank yous to financial sponsors: Spartan Stores, Kal-Haven Lions Club, Walmart, Binder Park Zoo, Camp Kidwell, private donors, and Van Buren County Fair vendors. Youth received trophies, rosettes, and participation prizes. To participate in the 2016 Show, exhibitors need to participate in a local 4-H club throughout the year. For more information, contact Differently Abled Secretary Denise Noble at firstname.lastname@example.org