Next week begins the Wise County Youth Fair, and for the first time, we are active participants in the festivities. As new members in the Decatur 4-H Club, we have dabbled in a few activities this year, learning the ropes of the organization, and finding our groove. Honestly, there are so many different elements of 4-H, it was a little overwhelming absorbing all the information. We attended the 4-H Explosion Event in the Fall, where we were able to cruise around and talk to leaders of all the different projects, and a few things caught our eye—believe it or not, there’s more to 4-H than just cooking, sewing, and raising animals! While there are still more than enough opportunities for those kinds of events, we were surprised to learn there was Dog Training, Photography, Science and Technology, Horse Training, Livestock Judging, Consumer Decision Making, Speech Writing…you name it, and I bet there is a project group working on it! Since I had a friend in the organization, she helped us make some project choices this year. We attended the meetings or practices, trying to learn as much we could about our projects. In addition to our project leaders, the Wise County Extension Office was always eager to help, answering my many (many) questions. In fact, I spent last Sunday afternoon in the office asking more questions, making last minute adjustments to our photograph mounts and labels. In learning all the ins and outs of 4-H, I’ve spent some great afternoons just spending time with my daughter, both of us feeling a little uncomfortable at the newness of everything, but excited in this new adventure. And, it wasn’t just me that got this bonus bonding time—my mother-in-law and husband took the reins in the kitchen, and helped my daughter pick out recipes for her Youth Fair Entries—even taking time to practice cooking with her. She was exhausted, but that time was precious for all of them, I’m pretty sure. Besides all the bonding, the eye for detail that 4-H demands is something we’ve been trying to teach, something her teachers have asked her to watch, and something she continues to miss. So, maybe, just maybe all this practice will make perfect! We have a few more details to attend this week (ok, A LOT more details) before the Big Week next week, but I’m excited to see the finished product from these weeks and months of work. I’m excited to see everyone’s finished product, to tour the animal barns, to talk with friends, and see all the pieces become a whole. Next year we might take on another kind of project—she’s been eyeing chickens and rabbits. 4-H and Youth Fair—two things I didn’t expect to join when we moved home, but two more things that make this little Small Town that much more unique.