4-H kids learn and teach at the Tennessee Valley Fair

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Nearly 1,000 students from throughout East Tennessee visited the Tennessee Valley Fair to learn about farm life on Tuesday. Some of their teachers were other school-aged children learning leadership skills through 4-H.

"I'm showing off the chickens for everyone to pet them," said 8 year-old Chloe Young as she held a red hen named Sugar in her arms.

Nine-year-old Jackson Long showed other children his goat named Jake and explained what kind of things they were asking him. "They're just questioning like how old is he and what's his name, and also what breed is he."

University of Tennessee Extension Agent for Knox County Sharon Davis said 4-H agriculture projects aim to teach farm skills and broader life skills. "You may be here talking about sheep. And you may, as a career, get to be an accountant. But, you've got to be able to communicate with your clients and with the public about what you do and what kind of services you have."

4-H now offers 26 different projects, both with agricultural and other contexts. However, they all aim to teach more than a specific vocation. Davis said, "Talking about their project, giving to others through their project, is really the main goal of what we do in 4-H. Within that project our three goals are for them to learn communication, decision making, leadership and another goal is citizenship."

Twin brothers Jeremiah and Jonathan Tindell showed off one of their family sheep and Jonathan explained why other kids need to learn about farm life. "How much farm life affects other people. 'Cause the economy needs to ship other stuff to different countries, like products."

Fifteen-year-old Nicole Miller said she hasn't always been a leader.
She is now the Senior Secretary for the 4-H Horse & Pony Club.
"When I got to 4-H in 4th grade, I was this shy little kid that didn't want to talk to anyone. I teach different things like grooming, bathing, all kinds of things, how to just have respect for the animals in general."

Davis said 4-H events would not happen without numerous volunteers who pitch in with projects, as well. "I am super proud of our 4-Hers and our volunteers," she said.

4-H programs for school-aged children and teens are available in counties throughout East Tennessee.

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