Wednesday, July 17th, 2024 Church Directory
Audience members (L-R) Owen Kozak, Emma Schlangen and Charlie Schlangen from Sauk Rapids, enjoyed watching all of the performances at the Benton County 4-H Project Showcase and Performing Arts evening at the Bento County Fairgrounds this past week. (Submitted Photo).
A Group of champions grouped together at the Benton County 4-H Project Showcase at the Benton County Fairgrounds on June 5. The night was filled with performances by 4-H youth. Pictured here left to right are the champions of the evening. Katie Gramke, sixth-eighth grade Reserve Champion, Elise Gramke, ninth grade + Reserve Champion, Audrey Ethen, sixth-eighth grade Champion and Chase Dahler ninth grade + Champion. (Submitted Photo).

Benton County 4-H Showcase welcomes new families

“During the Benton County 4-H Project Showcase night June 5, it was so nice to see all the acts and the kids’ talents were amazing. It was also a great time to learn about all the different experiences and project areas available in 4-H.” said 4-H Mom and volunteer Jade Mielke of Sauk Rapids.  

“I was encouraged to see all of the different 4-H clubs that came together to show the community what 4-H is all about.”

 What is 4-H all about? What exactly are Performing Arts? What are some projects I could do this year? I don’t have an animal can I still participate? 

These questions and many more were answered at the Sixth Annual Benton County 4-H Showcase & Performing Arts Evening June 5  at the Benton County Fairgrounds. It was a fun evening, full of activities from live animals to project exhibits displayed with over 200 people in attendance. The purpose of the evening was to make an opportunity for new/newer 4-H families to mingle with more “seasoned” 4-H families and learn more about how they can participate in 4-H.

The evening started with Ann Olson, 4-H Extension Educator for Benton County 4-H, welcoming new 4-H families. First up was the judging of the Share the Fun Acts & Performing Arts, which was filled with over 35 brave and talented 4-H’ers exhibiting their skills by playing instruments, dancing, skits, poem reading, and a special presentation of the 4-H Pledge in sign language.

The first group was a group of youth from the Mayhew Lakers 4-H club youth. One of their youth members, kindergartener Stella Mielke, is deaf and the youth decided they wanted to be inclusive by everyone learning the 4-H pledge in sign language. 

“Stella is a teacher and loves teaching her peers about her language. Being included, seeing all the joy and smiles from the other children when learning her primary language makes her feel happy.” Said Jade Mielke, Stella’s mom.

 “As a parent looking in, the children embrace all the differences in our club by treating everyone the same, like nothing is different, and they were super excited about learning and performing a new skill. It was nice to show everyone that 4-H embraces everyone, no matter who they are or if they have a disability. One of the reasons why I love 4-H.”

Results

Results of the Performing Arts Judging for Ages 3-5th grade: Jennie Gramke, fifth grader from Saint Cloud played her violin and received a blue ribbon. Luke McKay, sixth grader from Saint Cloud played a piano duet with his sister and received a blue ribbon. Ages 6-8th grade: Chloe Schoepf, sixth grader, along with her sibling, Levi Schoepf, first grader from Saint Cloud choreographed a dance and received blue ribbons; Valerie McKay, seventh grader from Saint Cloud, played a piano duet and received a blue ribbon; Gracelynn Singer, sixth grader from Sauk Rapids played her clarinet and received a blue ribbon; Katie Gramke, seventh grader played her violin and received a blue ribbon and Reserve Champion; Alivia Arnold, eighth grader from Foley played a piano piece and received a blue ribbon, will advance to the MN State Fair; Audrey Ethen, eighth grader from Saint Cloud played two piano pieces, one she received a blue ribbon and the other Grand Champion, will advance to the MN State Fair; Abrielle Lyon, sixth grader and Raelee Lyon, 10th grader both from Clear Lake, danced and received blue ribbons, will advance to the MN State Fair. Ages 9+: Elise Gramke, ninth grader from Saint Cloud, played her violin and received Reserve Champion, will advance to the MN State Fair; Eve McKay, ninth grader, and Ana McKay, 10th grader both from Saint Cloud played a violin duet and received blue ribbons; Chase Dahler, 12th grader from Foley recited a poem he wrote called “My 4-H Career” and received Grand Champion, will advance to the MN State Fair; Brady Roberts, graduate from Sauk Rapids, performed a dance and received a blue ribbon, will advance to the MN State Fair. Share the Fun Acts: Mayhew Lakers 4-H Pledge in Sign Language received Reserve Champion and advance to the MN State Fair; Group of camp counselor, Chase Dahler, 12thgrader, Brady Roberts, graduate, Kassidy Beack, 12th grader, Skylar Morris, 11th grader, Alicia Belanger, graduate and Raelee Lyon, 10th grader performed a skit and received Grand Champion, will advance to the MN State Fair.

“I have been taking piano lessons for six years. Playing piano is calming but challenging and makes me feel accomplished when I learn a song.” Said Audrey Ethen, eighth grader from Saint Cloud. 

“I chose Ave Maria because I liked it after hearing it at church, and the judge last year, challenged me to pick a harder song to stretch my skills. This was a great experience and am grateful to be selected Grand Champion among so many talented 4-H’ers.”

As the families ate pizza and desserts, they visited with Ambassadors and club leaders to get questions answered and ideas for the upcoming fair season. Families also viewed a display of projects in many different project areas to give the 4-H’ers ideas of what they could do for the fair this year.

 “This project showcase is very valuable evening because it exposes new families to 4-H and introduces them to all the great opportunities we offer in our organization.” Said 4-H Ambassador Chase Dahler, 12th grader from Foley. “I wrote my poem to reflect on my years in 4-H and highlight all of the important qualities I’ve gained through, as well as to advocate to others to explore opportunities in 4-H.”

Several animals, such as goats, dogs, puppies, beef calf, and dairy cows, were available for families to visit. Volunteers and 4-H members were available to share details about the animals that they brought. New families could enroll in 4-H during the evening and get questions answered.

 A large group of 4-H ambassadors shared their experiences with 4-H on stage. Then had an educational demonstration by Jackson Singer, sixth grader from Sauk Rapids demonstrating a simple machine. Then additional 4-H’er shared about different project areas.

“My children had such a blast at the Performing Arts & Project Showcase night!  This is our first year in 4H and we absolutely love the opportunities provided with being in a club, attending events, and going to camps.” Said 4-H Rooted & Free Club Leader and mom Jessica Singer from Sauk Rapids. 

“The Showcase night did not disappoint!  Two of my children did performances/presentations and it was a wonderful experience.  Boosted their confidence and provided them with great memories!!  I am a true 4H promoter!!”

4-H’ers left the evening full of ideas and we are excited to see what they come up with for them to “showcase” during the Benton County Fair this year.

To learn more about how your family can participate in Benton County 4-H, contact the Extension Office at 320.968.5077.