WORTHINGTON — The barns were stocked, ribbons distributed and many shows completed this week at the Nobles County Fair.
Credit is not only due to the families who spent the last year on their projects. It’s also thanks to a group of about 25 Nobles County 4-H Ambassadors. The youths, ages eighth grade through one year past high school, volunteer their time not only at the fair, but during the year.
“They bring lots of excitement into things,” said Nobles County 4-H Program Coordinator Katie Klosterbuer.
That excitement and energy becomes contagious when the group of young adults plan activities for the younger 4-H’ers.
The ambassadors hosted several large group activities this summer, including June and July family fun activities that drew between 100 and 150 participants, Klosterbuer said. Kids and their families played games, sat around a campfire and took part in other events during those days.
The ambassadors also helped with many day camps.
“We painted squares for a big barn quilt, made bracelets, cooked things in a microwave and did STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics activities)," said ambassador Kendra Frodermann, who led the barn quilt activity. The 4-by-4-foot quilt is comprised of smaller 4-by-4-inch squares painted by multiple 4-H’ers and their families. The group hopes to hang the quilt on one of the fairgrounds’ buildings.
The ambassadors also help with after school programs. For Adrian teens Kendra and Dawson Frodermann and Elizabeth Erwin, that means showing up every Wednesday to lead Adrian Public Schools' Dragon Adventures.
Klosterbuer recruited Erwin and Kendra Frodermann, who will be seniors in the fall, several years ago. They’ve taken on a greater role throughout the years.
“It’s been amazing to see how they were so timid and barely saying anything out loud and now you could wrangle all those (elementary) kids up and they’d just flock to them,” Klosterbuer said of Kendra and Erwin.
Dawson Frodermann also joined the after-school team last year. Kendra and Elizabeth both agree he’s great comic relief for the kids.
The three ambassadors are just a sample of a larger group of responsible young adults who hone in on their individual strengths and develop into leaders.
Other ambassador duties throughout the year include participating in species committees and assisting fair superintendents and judges during the fair's judging events by distributing ribbons and running shows.
Erwin’s story of becoming an ambassador is an example that the program isn’t limited to 4-H'ers who exhibit at the fair. The incoming senior at Adrian High School hasn’t shown animals or entered exhibits at the fair since she was Cloverbud-aged, but she’s just as integral in the fair’s annual success.
“She’s good at organizing and good at delegating,” said Klosterbuer, touting Erwin's help in the 4-H fair office this week.
Being a 4-H ambassador not only allows Erwin to develop her leadership skills, but perhaps even more importantly, gives her the chance to interact with children. She plans to become an elementary teacher.
"(The ambassador program) helps me with people skills and build relationships with people in the community," Erwin said.
The Nobles County 4-H Ambassadors meet on the third Sunday of the month. Klosterbuer said there’s always room for more youths who want to develop their leadership skills and become involved in the program.