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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Faces of Ohio 4-H — Maria Smith

Maria Smith

Each month, we highlight an Ohio 4-H alum who has an amazing story to share—from their personal experience in 4-H to how they have given back to the program. This month, we feature Maria Smith, the costume and makeup supervisor at Kings Island and a proud alumna of Greene County 4-H.

“I joined 4-H as a Cloverbud as soon as I was old enough,” said Smith. “My mom was my club advisor, and she played a big role in getting me involved and pushing me to try new things.” Through 4-H Smith had the opportunity to attend camp, try Smith posing in a costume she created for a 4-H project.all kinds of 4-H projects, and take on leadership roles within her club.

Smith’s mom also played a role in helping Smith discover her passion for sewing. “I tried a lot of different projects over the years, but sewing and beekeeping were always my biggest priorities. My mom was my first teacher and I’m grateful I had her to show me the basics when I was first starting out.”

Years later, Smith has turned her love for sewing into a career as she works at Smith smiling for a photo with the Coca-Cola polar bear at Kings Island.Kings Island as the costume and makeup supervisor. “I’ve been with Kings Island for eight seasons, and it’s been such a wonderful experience. I get to design and do alterations for all the costumes featured in our shows, so the sewing skills I gained through 4-H have proven incredibly useful.”

“A career in design wasn’t something I really considered when I was a kid, but thanks to my experiences in 4-H and the theater programs I was involved in, I realized I could combine these passions into a future job,” said Smith. After Smith and Linus posing for a photo at the Kings Island Fall Fest.graduating from high school, Smith attended Bowling Green State University where she majored in theater technology design with a focus on costume design, which led her to her current role at Kings Island.

“My favorite production we’ve done so far was a show called Phantom Theater Encore that ran last summer,” she said. “The show paid homage to a spooky, haunted house-themed ride that has since been shut down. The cast was dressed as characters from the original ride, and I had the opportunity to work on all the costumes.”

For current youth who are just getting started on their 4-H journey, Smith encourages them to keep trying new things and to take advantage of the mentorship opportunities. “You never know when you might uncover a new passion or interest, so don’t be afraid to experiment and always keep learning by doing,” said Smith. “4-H is also special because it has so many built-in mentorship opportunities. I don’t know of any other youth organization that has kids of all ages in the same club, so make an effort to learn from the older kids in your club or county. You never know what they might be able to teach you.”