4-H youth hope to use Kalamazoo County Fair to recruit students to group


4-H is recruiting youth the Kalamazoo County Youth Fair to join its organization and help kids learn life skills.

Clayton Stapert has been a 4-H'er for 12 years and said not as many kids in Kalamazoo County are interested these days.

“It’s helped me grow as a young man and develop my skills, like people and social skills over the years and it’s very educational—environmentally speaking,” said Stapert. “Taught me hard work, dedication, commitment. Once you say you’re going to do something, you go and do it.”

The group hopes to use the fair to share some of their life experiences and encourage others to get involved.

Several 4-H'ers showed off their award-winning animals and agricultural skills at the Kalamazoo County Youth Fair. Though there was a good number of 4-H'ers, Thursday, some said there aren’t as many as there used to be.

“In Kalamazoo County, we need to promote 4-H because it’s starting to go down, but I think we need to get kids back into it,” said TJ Gibson, a 4-H'er for 12 years.

Gibson hopes to share his experiences and talk about the benefits his family has seen selling livestock through the organization.

“It’s helped my sisters, my brother pay for their college. It’s going to help me do multiple things in life--not just you want to do; it’s going to help your friends, your wife, your family,” said Gibson.

For those who aren’t interested in livestock or horses, Gibson said there are other parts of 4-H he hopes to promote and help youth, like him, shape their future.

“Try something, if you don’t like it try something else because 4-H will bring you in like your family,” said Gibson.

The fair and 4-H exhibit is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through August 11.