The Porter County Fair is coming up July 18-27, so what does that mean to the 1,000-plus youth in the Porter County 4-H Program? Friends, family, fun and food! And perhaps more important than the fun are the life skills that the 4-Hers have been practicing throughout their 4-H year.

For the 4-H community, the fair is the culmination of a whole year of hard work. 4-Hers attend monthly meetings throughout the year at which they focus on things like learning and community service. Through their 4-H club work, they are learning important life skills like self-confidence, responsibility, decision-making, teamwork, time management, record-keeping, communication and more.

When you think of 4-H, do you think of farm kids, cows and cooking? Though 4-H has its roots in agriculture dating back to the early 1900s, today’s 4-H program has so much more to offer.

Members can learn about the science of flight through the 4-H aerospace project, or learn skills for a future career or lifelong hobby through the photography project. In Porter County, there are nearly 80 different 4-H projects to choose from, and you can check them all out at this year’s Porter County Fair.

The Porter County Fair is a showcase of excellence for 4-Hers to show off their talents, skills and abilities. And in the weeks leading up to the fair, the members are working especially hard to prepare their exhibits that will show you what they have learned.

As I write this, there are young people out there in our community who are practicing patience and persistence as they are sitting behind a sewing machine, gluing together a model car or training their lambs to lead. And no doubt there is also a brother, sister, mom or grand-dad beside them, as 4-H is definitely a family activity. Fair time brings those families closer together.

As fair time nears, the 4-H members will bring their exhibits to the Porter County Fair to be evaluated by impartial judges from around Indiana and beyond. These judges will provide constructive comments to members to help them learn even more about their project areas. The 4-H motto is “To Make the Best Better." 4-H is a continual learning experience. Through the judging process, members will have the opportunity to learn from their errors and make their own best better in the future.

Want to keep track of what’s happening in 4-H at this year’s Porter County Fair? We are truly grateful to The Times for providing the following website: Also, check us out on Twitter and Facebook: /PorterCounty4H. For a complete listing of Porter County Fair events, go to

Joan Grott is the 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator in the Porter County office of Purdue University's Cooperative Extension Service. The opinions are the writer's.