Kenneth teen to serve as Minnesota 4-H Ambassador
KENNETH — When Andrea Severtson earned her first trip to the Minnesota State Fair as a sixth-grader, she showed a heifer calf named Bella, learned her way around the fairgrounds and experienced her first-ever 4-H dance.
During that 4-H Livestock Encampment, she also met a group of excited 4-H youths from all across Minnesota who were selected to promote the youth development organization at the state fair and throughout the year. They were the chosen Minnesota 4-H Ambassadors.
Severtson, a self-professed shy kid at the time, decided right then and there that she wanted to be one of those green shirt-wearing ambies at the Minnesota State Fair some day.
Now, the rural Kenneth teen is going to see that dream become a reality as the Great Minnesota Get-Together sets to open its gates Thursday morning for its traditional 12-day run.
After applying for one of the coveted spots on the Minnesota 4-H Ambassador team, Severtson learned in early July that she was selected to represent not only Rock County, but much of southwest Minnesota as one of 25 Minnesota 4-H Ambassadors.
“We have every region of the state covered,” Severtson said, adding that the next closest state 4-H ambassador hails from the Marshall area.
During the state fair, the ambassadors will serve as goodwill volunteers, greeting visitors to the 4-H building and helping 4-H’ers during their stay as exhibitors.
“When I went up to the state fair and the dances, I thought (the ambassadors) were really cool,” Severtson said. “I was really shy, and I wanted to turn into that.”
As a state 4-H ambassador, Severtson will get to share stories of her own 4-H experience with visitors to the 4-H building, stationed near Machinery Hill on the state fairgrounds in Falcon Heights.
“I’ll be promoting how great of an organization it really is; how I’ve learned leadership skills and I’m not shy anymore,” she said.
“Teaching others and helping hands is a big part of (4-H), and the whole community pride, too.”
The state 4-H ambassadors assist with the 4-H livestock shows by handing out ribbons and announcing classes.
“We’re basically the promoters and the face of 4-H at the state fair, and (we’re) kind of being role models, too,” Severtson shared. “I love meeting new people and being a role model and learning leadership skills and showing animals, too. I’m really excited!”
It isn’t all work for the state ambassadors during the 12 days of the fair, however. On a couple of evenings, the group will traipse around the fairgrounds and sing for their food. A perennial stop for the ambassadors is Sweet Martha’s Cookies, where they are treated to some of the fresh-baked chocolate chip treats.
And what will they sing? 4-H songs, of course. Severtson expects to join in for such tunes as “Humba-Humba,” “Gray Squirrel” and a variety of other ditties they teach at 4-H summer camps.
As a nine-year veteran of the 4-H program, an active Rock County Ambassador and three-year camp counselor at 4-H Camp at Lake Shetek, Severtson is well-versed in the quirky 4-H songs that bring youths together to laugh and have fun.
While she looks forward to her year-long role as a Minnesota 4-H Ambassador, Severtson won’t be found at the state fair all 12 days, unlike some of her fellow ambassadors. A pre-Labor Day start to school has her returning to Luverne for class next Monday after pulling double duty as a state ambassador and 4-H dairy exhibitor this Thursday through Sunday. She will return to the State Fairgrounds for Labor Day weekend.
Severtson, the daughter of Sterling and Denise Severtson, is a senior at Luverne Area High School this year and is enrolled in three college classes. Her plans after graduation are to attend either South Dakota State University in Brookings or Iowa State University in Ames to pursue a degree in animal science and pre-vet.
After the Minnesota State Fair, Severtson’s role as a state 4-H ambassador will include educating youths and adults about the importance of youth development, leadership, citizenship, service, teamwork and other life skills; help plan workshops and trainings at the local, county, regional and state levels; and help plan and implement 4-H leadership events such as the annual 4-H regional retreats and leadership conferences.