Wednesday, August 15, 2012

4-H Fashion On The Runway, Penn State

Over 100 years ago 4-H Clubs were organized by agricultural schools to educate youth and their families in rural communities.  Today through 109 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension Services, 4-H programs reach more than 6 million kids in urban, suburban and rural communities.  With over half a million volunteers, 3,500 professionals and more than 60 million alumni, 4-H kids from elementary to high school "learn by doing."

Last week I drove through lush gentle mountains that wound into a green well manicured valley.  After making a few wrong turns and attempting to avoid street construction, my 4-H journey began at Penn State University in State College, PA.

4-H is about learning and sharing.  Gabby was my ever cheerful and helpful assistant.  Growing up Gabby was an active 4-H member with many sewing projects and today was a walk down memory lane.  Even now while studying to be a physician's assistant, Gabby took the time to help with the 2012 4-H Fashion Review.

Fashion Review day was conducted with precision.  Sandra, Maureen, Linda and the 4-H volunteers set -up a terrific day of learning.  From 9:00am to 2:45pm 4-H participants attended workshops on careers in fashion and design, pattern making, a design challenge, wool felting and SCHMETZ needle education.

My first students of the day with the SCHMETZ Super Needle.

60 Fashion Revue contenders won their local and regional sewing competitions before reaching this state level. The young ladies - no guys this year -  filed into the auditorium for their preliminary walk through on the stage . . .

while the official judges also preview garments for the first time.

Competition was tight.  Workmanship, style and sewing techniques were high. Judges announced winners that evening at a formal runway fashion show with lights, music and narration.

I taught 6 SCHMETZ classes and fielded questions from the astute audiences.  The girls were certainly present to learn and to meet new friends.  Being part of the day's excitement I recalled the 4-H pledge: 
"I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world."

4-H is a terrific organization for kids to learn new skills, develop leadership, serve communities and build confidence while expanding their worlds.  It was a joy to be among these attentive and friendly 4-Her's that were eager to learn and explore.  To find a local 4-H club in your community and to learn more about 4-H visit

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