4-H teaches responsibility, team work.

August 21, 2018

Siblings Brooke and Reed Schulz of Hart wash their pigs at the county fair.

4-H teaches responsibility, team work.

#OceanaCountyFair2018

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

Genavieve Christopher with her horse, Aspen.

HART — Being a 4-H member and entering an animal in the Oceana County Fair teaches many life lessons, including responsibility, team work and maintaining a positive attitude.

Tuesday is Entry Day at the fair when the 4-H kids and teens get their farm animals settled into the barns at the fairgrounds. The barns are busy with pigs squealing, chickens clucking and cows mooing.

“I like working as a group with the horses and learning together,” said

Hannah and Christopher Hiddema with their rabbits, Aladin and Sparkles.

Genavieve Christopher, 16, of Montague. Genavieve brought her 12-year-old horse, Aspen, to the fair for the first time this year. “She’s Apaloosa and POA.” POA stands for Ponies of America, she said. This year is Genavieve’s second year of participating in the fair, and she is a member of the 4-H club, Equine Achievers. Her horse’s show name is Aspen’ Din My Money.

“So far, she’s doing good,” she said of Aspen. “There is a lot of commotion, but she’s got to get used to it.”

“I work with her two or three times a day,” Genavieve said. “It teaches responsibility. It’s kind of like having a kid.”

Marin Klotz washing her swine, Winter Girl.

Marin Klotz, 10, of Hart, along with fellow club member Tristin Padilla, 18, of Hart were¬†busily washing Marin’s pig, Winter Girl. Marin’s mom, Nikki, was also helping bathe Winter Girl. “I like spending time with her,” Marin said of her pig. “You learn a lot about responsibility,” said the four-year 4-H member.

Both Marin and Tristin belong to the Oceana Granger group, which includes 16 kids. Not only does being in 4-H teach responsibility, but it also teaches kids how to be helpful, said Oceana Granger leader Char Vanderstelt. “At the club meetings, we teach positive attitudes.”

Mary Bisard with her cow, Mickey.

Their group has learned that a good sense of humor can go a long way, too. Their T-shirts say, “I like Pig Butts and I Cannot Lie,” a play on words of the song lyrics by rapper Sir Mix-a-lot. “You have to have a sense of humor,” Char said.

Sara McGhan, who has three kids in the Oceana Granger club, said the children learn a lot about the animals they’re caring for. Their pigs were born in February and have grown into enormous animals weighing approximately 300 pounds. The size range for swine at the fair is 220-310 pounds, she said.

Kassie Bisard with her cow, Bob the Burger.

Sara said they teach the children very early that the pigs are raised to provide food, so they do not become emotionally attached to them. “Our first year, we named the pigs Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner,” she said.

Kassie Bisard’s gigantic cow, named Bob the Burger, tipped the scales at over 1,600 pounds. “It didn’t even register,” she said, so his exact weight could not be calculated. Her twin sister Mary’s cow, Mickey, weighed in at 1,479 pounds.

The fair continues through Saturday, Aug. 25. Related story here

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