Fair is a long tradition for Dalton/Kidron 4-H club

Fair is a long tradition for Dalton/Kidron 4-H club

Even before the decorating begins, members of the Dalton-Kidron Big 4 already know their 4-H booth will be a work of art at the Wayne County Fair Sept. 10-15.

A photo collage of all their artwork they created while working on the project, Get Started In Art, will have a prominent place in their booth in the junior fair building.

Completing a group project is a longstanding tradition for Dalton-Kidron Big 4, one of the oldest continuous clubs in Wayne County. Club adviser Laurel Strasbaugh’s grandfather started the club in 1944.

Club adviser Julie Tenney led this year’s project with the help of her children and members Megan and Charles Tenney. The 4-Hers spent the summer learning about different artists and types of art.

“It was a fun project,” Megan Tenney said. “I love drawing and painting.”

She was able to demonstrate techniques for club members who worked in groups at tables.

The club’s self-assigned judge was Chris Strasbaugh, director of learning technologies at the Ohio State University College of Engineering. He took the Get Started In Art project his last year in 4-H and was chosen to compete with it at the Ohio State Fair.

His mother, Laurel Strasbaugh, said she tried to locate a local judge with art expertise but couldn’t find anyone who was available to do the judging. In fact, two of the judges she contacted recommended her son Chris.

Chris Strasbaugh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Photography from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and a Master of Arts in History from the University of Cincinnati. He judged the group over Zoom and gave them an outstanding score.

“As an alumni of Dalton-Kidron Big 4, it was an amazing opportunity to see the entire club come together and build a group project,” he said. “Seeing the breadth of ideas and teamwork through all the projects this year and hearing kids of all ages speaking about the projects was an amazing experience and showed the well-rounded talent of these kids.”

In completing all eight lessons in the book, members tried various art techniques including the mandala, an abstract design in which an array of symbols, shapes and forms emanate from one identifiable point, and ripple drawings in which the artist starts with a design and continues the pattern across the page in ripples.

They also drew animals and made farmscapes.

“One of the best things about the group project,” said Julie Tenney, a librarian who teaches an art class at Wadsworth Public Library, “is it gets all the kids, younger and older, ages 8-18, working together. Some of the older boys would just slap paint on the board. We had joy in that as well.”

Strasbaugh said the club always plans a group project and even completed one through the pandemic when the club was not holding in-person meetings. “It wasn’t easy, but we did it,” she said.

Leaders started the lessons for Growing Together: A Guidebook for Teaching Garden-Based Science to Kids during meetings. Then families would finish the activities together in the outdoors. The project covered topics such as pollination, soils, insects, trees and decomposition.

Dalton-Kidron Big 4 also has explored rockets, hatched eggs in an incubator and learned how to safely ride bicycles. The year the club took a first aid project, a volunteer helping decorate the booth cut a finger and was able to quickly find a Band Aid in one of the first aid kits members had made for the booth display.

The group projects keep members interacting.

“I love the fact that adults mentor the kids and the older kids mentor the younger kids,” Strasbaugh said. “Everyone is just taking care of each other.”