The Ohio 4-H Foundation




Ohio 4-H Alumni Share their favorite fair memories!

In 1969 I was twelve years old and a member of the Madisonburg Merry Janes 4-H club in Wooster, Ohio. On July 4th I was with my family to watch the fireworks when it started to rain. It seemed like it would never quit. We had flooding throughout the county like had never been seen before. We were stranded at home for several days. Several law enforcement officers lost their lives trying to rescue people.

The Wayne county fair was scheduled for a short two months away and the fairgrounds had suffered extensive flooding and water damage, along with the inches of slimy, smelly mud that was left behind when the flood waters receded.

The 4-H clubs in the county volunteered with clean up at the fairgrounds. I can remember scraping and shoveling mud out of the home economics building.

With the hard work of all involved (adult and kids) our fair went on as scheduled that year. Several of the livestock barns still have marks by the entrances showing how high the water was that year.

Susan (Kryder) Elliott

Ashland, OH

I was a camp counselor for 2 years! Loved all the kids. Liked the skits at the campfire's and all the songs! We are a 4 generation 4-H family! My mom was a 4 -H member and then an advisor for my sisters AND myself, I in turn was a 4 -H advisor for my daughters and now my grandson is in 4-H! My daughters loved 4-H Camp and my grandson went this year and loved it too!

Cindy Knippen

This is me and my horse Joleo Cody aka Joey at the Wayne county fair. My favorite memories from my childhood are showing at the fun shows, the county fair and the state fair. Joey and I always had fun at our local fair and was always getting love and attention from fair goers. He even got sweet treats from Lerches Donuts and a candy apple. And we gave little kids who had never rode a horse free horsey rides. I also participated in horse bowl, hippology and horse judging and made some great friends along the way. I think growing up with 4-H helped me grow into the hard worker I am today.


I loved 4H so much that my children have all been 4-H members for 10+ years.  This photo is our youngest son on move in day at the 2017 Knox County Fair.

Crystal McElhaney

My favorite week of the summer as a kid was going to 4-H camp on Kelleys Island. I loved line dancing, making sand candles and sleeping on the beach!

I was camper then a counselor-in-training and finally a counselor!


My best fair memory from 4-H is all the years I was in the Licking County 4-H Band. I've made life long friends and now my oldest child gets to experience it also.

Section leader concert

Parade from 2004

My oldest child this year at band camp

Jennifer (Dean) Gibson

My favorite 4-H memory was at camp on Kelly's Island(l962) at the evening campfire. We were all designated Indian tribes. The idea was to challenge each tribe with something. Another tribe said ours would not have anyone to hold a very large snake that was at the nature part of the camp. I took up the challenge, as I was not afraid of snakes at all. I let it wrap itself around my neck even though it did begin to exert some pressure. I knew it was perfectly normal. Our Shawnee tribe definitely won the challenge that night! My best fair memory was many, many years later when my son won Grand Champion with a market lamb that we raised. It was his last year in 4-H {2001} and my 21st year as an advisor, I am in my 37th year as a 4-H advisor this year. Still enjoying the 4-H experience !

Kris Doyle

My favorite 4-H memory is from this year. It's about friends and family helping each other along the way. Here is a picture of my beautiful niece who loves showing market hogs with her cousins and sister. When she received Grand Champion Market Hog at the Gallia County fair, there wasn't a dry eye in the stands! To top it off, her cousin and mentor received reserve champion her last year showing.

Michele Pope

Some of my favorite photos. The first is of my youngest daughter Mya before she shows with my mom and daddy (aka Granny Mac (Maxine) & Kenny Pop (Ken) Monlux) At this time I believe they had been 4-H advisors for 50 years! Mya isn’t even old enough to show in 4-H yet but insisted that she was showing HER calf in open class. She kept arguing with her Cloverbud advisors that she was showing a calf in 4-H and they kept telling her she wasn’t allowed to show animals as a Cloverbud. When I found out I had to explain to them that it was open class.

The second photo is of Mya with her calf right before showing. Not even big enough to handle a regular show stick my husband made her one her size out of a dowel rod. She may have placed last in her class but she sure was proud of that calf she bottle raised. She’s now in 4-H for the first year and excited to show her lamb at the fair along with her 2 older brothers.

The last 2 are of her older brothers Kaleb (4th place) & Tony. Kaleb was thrilled with his 4th place ribbon although there were only 5 lambs in his class. Tony I was so proud of. His lamb had actually jumped up and hit him in the mouth causing a busted lip but he kept right on showing blood and all. Managed to get it cleaned up and the judge even told him how proud he was that he kept going even though it had to have hurt. Can’t tell it in the photo but it was pretty swelled up by the next day.

Beckie Monlux

My favorite camp memory is being part of the 4-H Camp Ohio staff and becoming friends with people from all over the world.

Haley James

I have so many wonderful memories of my 4-H days that it is impossible for me to choose only one! I will try to keep it to the most cherished memories so this does not turn into a book.

I was a 4-H member for a full ten years. For each of those years, I attended Camp Clifton. I loved every aspect of the camping experience: making crafts to take home and show off; learning the various line dances during recreation time; the daily trek to the lovely secluded area for Vespers, and the precious conversations late at night in the cabin with my new friends. When it was time to become a Junior Leader, I was thrilled to get the chance to be a cabin counselor to help share those kinds of moments with my campers, both in our cabin and in activities with the group at large.

Two key things would become the legacy of my 4-H experience: It broadened my horizons, and it gave me a circle of friends outside of my school and community. I learned new skills, improved my ability to interact with others, and gained an appreciation for the camping experience. Those broadened horizons led me to explore many possibilities in my adult life. That circle of friends was vital to me during my years in school, as we maintained our friendship from a distance via exchanges of letters so we would be up to date for camp the next year; I am proud to currently call some of those campers my friends after all these years.

As to a specific memory? The first thing that comes to mind is the little speech my mother gave to my cabin counselor each year. I was a sleep walker, and Mom always worried that I would exit the cabin and become lost somewhere in Clifton Gorge! Each year, we packed my clothing and personal goods in a foot locker. Mom always instructed the counselor to place the foot locker in front of the door so she would be awakened if I attempted an "escape." I'm still here, so I would say that was a successful plan!

Sewing and furniture refinishing are still part of my life today, so I am grateful to 4-H for those skills. The overall 4-H experience has played such an important part in who I am today. Although the world in which we now live is so different, I am so glad 4-H is still there to provide these experiences to new generations. Thank you for what you do to ensure that this valuable program continues, and thank you for permitting me to recall how lucky I was to have 4-H as a huge part of my life!

Best regards,

Linda Lewis Paul

Camp Piedmont where I was a young camper, an old camper and then the camp cook...and fell in love there.

S Helmreich

This was my first year at fair with my rabbits and it was amazing.Me and my friends all had such a great time. But my favorite memory was getting 1st place in showmanship with my rabbit Artemis then getting 1st in breed with my other rabbit Apolo

Ashley Eckstine

It is difficult to pinpoint just one favorite memory of my 4-H career. However, I am honored to have served as the 2010 Ohio Fairs' Queen and the 2009 Fairfield County Junior Fair Queen. Traveling to 88 of the 95 fairs in Ohio allowed me to witness the positive impact that 4-H has on so many youth.

I am proud to be a 4-H alum, as the experiences I had through this program helped to build critical skills for my career in journalism/communications. Through my experience showing dogs, rabbits and more, I learned about responsibility and dedication. By serving on Junior Fair Board, Teen Council and as a camp counselor, I learned how to be a humble leader. I learned how to serve my community. The friendships and networking opportunities I was provided are still valuable today as I continue on in my career. I will always cherish my 10 years as a 4-H member, and will continue to promote this program to everyone I meet.

Heather Wilson

I have so many wonderful fair and 4-H camp memories….showing my pigs at the fair and all the fun (and hard work) in getting them ready….watching my friends show their animals and rooting them on…sharing so many experiences at 4-H camp, being a camp spirit the last year I was a counselor at camp….leading the "Chicken Fat" exercise class at camp…enjoying the BBQ chicken cookout with all my friends at camp…hiking Clifton Gorge at Camp Clifton…4-H will always be a wonderful part of my childhood!l

Janet Pauley

BCD Travel

My best memory of the Lawrence County fair is setting up camp cots & box fans & sleeping in the cattle barn with my animal every year. Probably very dangerous sleeping in the pen with a 1000+ pound animal and extension cords running every which way, but soooo much fun!

Mary Hamilton Lesser

Lawrence County

(Now in Hamilton County, Ohio)



Raise Your Hand Billboard in downtown Columbus.


The Ohio 4-H Foundation Evening of Ohio Wine and Food – Save the Date!

Save the date! The 2017 Celebration of Youth, An Evening of Ohio Wine and Food will take place on Saturday, October 21.  The money raised from this event supports the Ohio 4-H Foundation Endowment, the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center endowment, and Ohio 4-H programming and operations.  These proceeds will benefit all 88 counties in Ohio and reach more than 216,000 Ohio 4-H Youth.  

If you are interested in volunteering for the Celebration of Youth planning committee or donating an item for the live or silent auction, please contact the Foundation at


Why 4-H?