Michigan 4-H youth excel at 2020 Michigan State Fair 4-H & Youth Virtual Showcase; $50,000 in youth scholarships awarded
Jamie Wilson and Abbey Miller – September 21, 2020
Michigan 4-H youth took part in the first-ever Michigan State Fair 4-H & Youth Virtual Showcase, hosted by the Michigan State Fair and Michigan State University Extension.
Michigan 4-H youth didn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic slow down their opportunity to demonstrate the skill, mastery and hard work they have put into this year’s 4-H projects. These outstanding 4-H’ers took part in the first-ever Michigan State Fair 4-H & Youth Virtual Showcase, hosted by the Michigan State Fair and Michigan State University Extension. This virtual platform allowed youth ages 5-19 to exhibit their work in all project areas alongside peers from across the state.
“Michigan 4-H’ers and other youth work hard all year long on their many projects, and that didn’t stop when the pandemic hit,” said Jake DeDecker, state 4-H leader with MSU Extension. “In fact, many youth took that extra time and poured their efforts into projects and activities. By partnering with the Michigan State Fair, we were able to provide youth with a new and exciting way to showcase what they’ve worked on while receiving recognition for their accomplishments and obtaining valuable feedback for their personal development.”
In addition to the opportunity to showcase their skills and receive accolades for their hard work, participants in the statewide event also had the opportunity to apply for up to $50,000 in scholarships, generously provided by the Michigan State Fair and in partnership with the Michigan 4-H Foundation.
“A major focus within our event has always been giving back to the community and encouraging the educational and personal development of Michigan’s youth,” said Blair Bowman, Michigan State Fair manager. “We are thrilled that we are able to continue and expand upon that tradition through this new virtual platform.”
The Michigan State Fair’s mission is to promote and celebrate the positive achievements in the areas of Michigan rural and urban agriculture, business and industry. Annually, they recognize and celebrate youth by awarding $40,000 in youth scholarships. Scholarships offered included: Animal/Livestock Scholarships (for exhibitors in the areas of beef, dairy, sheep, goat, swine, rabbits, poultry, and equine); Home Arts and Agriculture Scholarships; and the Urban Farming Youth Scholarships for youth from cities of 30,000 people or more.
New for 2020, an additional $10,000 was offered in 4-H Virtual Scholarships, funded by Blair Bowman, of the Michigan State Fair, and additional gifts to the Michigan 4-H Foundation. All youth exhibitors were able to apply for one or more scholarships, dependent on the entries they submitted in the Michigan State Fair 4-H & Youth Virtual Showcase. However, any youth aged 8-19 participating in the virtual showcase was eligible to apply for one of the ten $1,000 4-H Virtual Scholarships.
Recipients of the 4-H Virtual Scholarships are:
- Magdalene Callender, Ingham County
- Alexis Fisher, Monroe County
- Rebecca Havelka, Menominee County
- Sarah Liford, Oakland County
- Travis Liford, Oakland County
- Allison Littlefield, St. Joseph County
- Adrian Noecker, Antrim County
- Kylie A. Ossege, Oakland County
- Elizabeth Shane, Washtenaw County
- Troy Todd, Osceola County
“I have always dreamed of competing at the Michigan State Fair, but due to distance that was not possible,” said scholarship recipient Rebecca Havelka. “The positive in this whole experience is that I had the ability to compete virtually at more shows then I could have ever imagined. Thank you so much for making this possible!”
In total, more than 400 youth from 62 Michigan counties entered more than 2,000 projects in the Michigan State Fair 4-H & Youth Virtual Showcase. Evaluation began on August 24 with youth receiving an A, B or C rating, as determined by project standards.
To participate, youth entered photos and videos of their individual projects through the online FairEntry platform. There were a wide variety of participation options, including traditional classes like showmanship, breeding and market classes for livestock and companion animals, and still exhibits such as crafts, creative writing and baking. Youth were also able to enter projects that are not always showcased in a typical fair, including educational projects and demonstrations in areas such as shooting sports, urban agriculture and leadership, among others.
To view placings for the 2020 Michigan State Fair 4-H & Youth Virtual Showcase, visit www.michiganstatefairllc.com.