Burlington--Three Franklin County 4-H'ers were among the 82 participants in 4-H State Day, which adopted a virtual format this year to allow 4-H members to showcase their talents and project work from the past year.

Sisters Kelsey and Paityn Paradee from Swanton both entered the poster category. Kelsey, 11, created a poster describing the evolution of horses. Eight-year-old Paityn's entry featured a variety of horse grooming tools. Both girls belong to the Whispering Pines 4-H Club in Westford.

Sophie Zemianek, 16, of St. Albans took part in a team demonstration with Westford 4-H'er Faith Ploof, 17, which they titled Under the Big Top. The demonstration, complete with music and props, highlighted the history of horses in circuses. Both girls are members of the Flying Hooves 4-H Club in Colchester and also took part in a virtual group stage presentation with other members of their club to demonstrate how they are staying connected while apart.

"Just a few months ago none of us could have imagined that we would be social distancing and that major events in the 4-H year, like State Day, would be canceled," says Allison Smith, UVM Extension 4-H Youth Learning Experiences coordinator. "Taking this event online was a new endeavor for all of us--staff, volunteers and youth--but it was exciting to see how quickly 4-H'ers like Kelsey, Paityn, Sophie and Faith adapted to change and found creative ways to share what they learned in 4-H this past year."

The annual 4-H State Day is a capstone experience for Vermont 4-H members. Entries were accepted in 16 different categories this year via video and email for evaluators' feedback on display and exhibit presentation.

To learn more about 4-H in Franklin County, contact Martha Manning at martha.manning@uvm.edu.


Allison Emily Smith
A display of horse evolution
Swanton 4-H'er Kelsey Paradee entered a poster on the evolution of horses in 4-H State Day. (photo: courtesy of UVM Extension 4-H)