MONROE — Isabella Andrews and Bo Zantow have one thing in common: They love 4-H.
Isabella, 14, and Bo, 11, were in their glory last week during the Green County Fair. They were flitting between buildings and projects and tied to the big event throughout the week.
Isabella, the daughter of Savanna and Ryan Andrew of Juda, is a member of the Next Generation 4-H Club in Juda. She brought poultry, woodworking, home furnishing and cultural arts projects to this year’s fair.
“I actually had to cut back a little this year because I was on the go at the beginning of the summer with an eighth-grade class trip to Washington, D.C., and 4-H leadership conference in Madison,” Isabella said.
Isabella believes 4-H has turned her young life around, converting her from a shy young girl to an outgoing young lady.
“I was super shy four years ago — I wouldn’t have been doing this interview,” she said. “It really broke me out of my shell.”
Isabella is vice president of her 4-H club and vice president of the Green County 4-H Junior Leaders.
“Any chance I can get to help someone or educate someone about 4-H, I’m there,” she said. “4-H has helped me a lot. I have three younger sisters, and seeing me do all these things, now they want to get involved.”
Isabella said the county fair is the highlight of her year as a 4-H member.
“I’m everywhere here at the fair,” she said. “I help in the cattle barns, the pig barn and in the rabbit barn, too. And I have to watch over my projects.”
She brought five chickens to the fair this year, including both “fancy birds” just for show and “auction birds” to be sold at the livestock auction. She said one of her fancy birds was her favorite.
“I gave her a bath the other day and she’s so fluffy and soft,” she said. The bird is a Cuckoo Orpington breed.
Isabella lives in town, but the village of Juda allows backyard chicken projects. She has about 15 birds.
“My mom’s best friend got me interested in chickens,” she said. “I just like the birds. They’re so docile, so easy to handle.”
Bo’s favorite fair project was his farm diorama, made out of 1/64th-scale farm implements and buildings. He said he first saw diorama’s when his grandmother worked at the Grant County Fair, and he decided to give it a try himself.
“They’re a lot of work — you aren’t supposed to do them at the last minute like I did this year,” he said. “But they’re a lot of fun.”
Bo, the son of Carrie and Jeremy Zantow of Belleville, also brought flowers and drawings to this year’s fair.
He’s a member of the Dayton Dairylanders 4-H Club in the Belleville area.
“4-H gives me something to do in the summertime when I don’t have sports going on,” he said. “It kind of fills in for the sports that I’m not doing.”
Bo’s favorite school-year sports are football and wrestling.
As for the fair? Other than his projects, he enjoys the food, the rides and the demolition derby.