Geauga County Fair 4-H 5K race

On Sunday, September 4, 2022, runners will gather at The 200th Great Geauga County Fair to run in the 4th annual Great Geauga County Fair 4-H 5K and Fun Run. Running a picturesque route through Ohio’s oldest continuous county fair and scenic Burton Village, these runners will be helping support the yearly operations of multiple 4-H clubs in the county including Geauga Engineering And Robotics (GEAR), Plantmasters, Breeders & Feeders, and Geauga Caprine Kids. And there is still time to register for the race!

4‑H members complete hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and civic engagement in a positive environment, receiving guidance from adult mentors, and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles. “Geauga County has 4-H clubs for horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, rabbits, dogs, sewing, cooking, plants, archery and other shooting sports, crafting, scrapbooking, genealogy and robotics,” said Bill Patterson, an adult adviser with GEAR. 4-H members compete at the county and state fairs for awards for excellence.

4-H also teaches the members to be caring and compassionate members of the community, training the leaders of tomorrow. “Some of the funds from 2021 4-H 5K were used by the 4-H’ers to provide meals and some gifts to families in need at Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Jim Toth, leader of Geauga Caprine Kids.  Teaching civic-mindedness, “we used some of the funds to give back to the community to Rescue Village, Veterans, Red Tulip and Geauga Hunger Task Force,” said Karen Teichman, who has been an advisor for Breeders & Feeders for 45 years.

Funds from the 5K has also sponsored 4-H clubs to understand Northeast Ohio plants and the environment. “We recently went to the Botanical Gardens and are planning a trip to Oak Clearings, a savanna-type ecosystem with the only Ohio native cactus,” said Adrienne La Favre, Plantmasters advisor. Teaching the members environmental management and volunteerism, “we also worked with Headwaters Park personnel and removed intrusive weeds,” Toth said.

Funding the diverse projects in the participating 4-H clubs is expensive and challenging, especially with the state-of-the-art technology required for robotics.  “We have depended on funds from the 5K more and more to pay for all the new equipment we need to buy each year for the regular robotics curriculum,” said Jeff La Favre, advisor for GEAR.  “My favorite memories all revolve around the sense of pride and satisfaction I see expressed by GEAR members as they successfully complete their projects. This year’s projects [by 4-H members] include a working prosthetic hand, a 3-D printer converted to cut paper designs, a muscle- and thought-controlled wheelchair, a programmable plant waterer, a global positioning system based on photos of night sky, and the transfer of navigation information between robots, and a hunter’s safety system,” Jeff La Favre continued. The funds provided through the 5K race provides both a source of funding and a chance for others to learn about the unique opportunities these clubs offer, especially at county, state and national competitions.

“Looking back, 4-H really helped me in my career pursuit,” said Robert Sunderhaft, past GEAR member and current sophomore at The Ohio State University. “The 4-H robotics program prepared me not only to work collaboratively in groups but also learn the important tools required for self-directed study in robotics and engineering.  Now working in artificial intelligence research, I recognize that while the 4-H training provided the best equipment and best training for the projects, it was the positive encouragement that enabled me to succeed in 4-H and now at OSU. Looking back on GEAR, I will always relish the memories I made with the members of GEAR. The 4-H leaders are some of the greatest people I have come to know and have always supported me in my endeavors.”

“I often receive compliments on the strength of my problem-solving skills, which I largely attribute to hands-on projects early in high school from the GEAR 4-H club,” said Jimmy Horowitz, another 4-H alumnus and now a third-year engineering student at Case Western Reserve University.  “Many of the practical skills learned through hands-on engineering clubs such as GEAR are not taught in the classroom but help immensely in all aspects of engineering education.”

The advisers and members of the 4-H clubs involved in the 5K race are grateful for the many sponsors from the community who have supported the race this year and in years past, especially the Geauga County Fair Board of the Geauga County Agricultural Society. The fair board has supported the race since its inception.

“This race could not happen without the generous support of the Geauga County Agricultural Society (Geauga Fair Board)” Patterson said. “The support of each one of you is appreciated, and we strive to provide an event that is worthy of being connected to The Great Geauga County Fair!”

For more than a century, 4-H has trained the leaders of tomorrow by encouraging experiential learning, community service, and leadership skills. Under the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and in partnership with 100 public universities, 4-H reaches more than 6 million children across the country and seeks to live up to its motto of “To make the best better.”


Geauga News
Author: Geauga News