4-H tradition continues with dinner, auction

It may be Jeremy Barth’s 30th year of involvement with 4-H but it’s his first organizing the major annual fundraiser for Washington County 4-H.

The 4-H Endowment Dinner and Auction has been a tradition since 2002 and helps funds 4-H student participation in camps and other opportunities.

Barth has been busy planning the event, which includes a dinner, and both a live and silent auction. He’ll be looking for auction items until the day before the April 6 event, he said.

“We’re lucky that we get a lot of support,” Barth said.

Question: How long have you been involved with 4-H?

Answer: Since I was 7. I’ll be 37 this year so it’s been about 30 years either as a 4-Her or currently I’m an advisor. I’ve also helped on committees, like the endowment committee.

Q: When you aged out of being in 4-H, did you immediately start taking part in other ways?

A: I potentially could have been in 4-H for one more year. I got on the Washington County Fair Board when I was 18 and still in high school and decided not to do 4-H since there could be a conflict of interest.

Q: Thirty years is a long time. Why is 4-H so important to you?

A: If it wasn’t for 4-H, I wouldn’t be the person I am. It led me away from being such a shy individual without great public speaking skills. It taught me a lot of responsibility and leadership skills.

Q: What do you do now as an advisor?

A: I have my own 4-H club–Fur and Feather 4-H Club. I started it soon after I stopped being a 4-Her. It’s a small club. We meet in the Marietta area and we have kids from all over the county. We don’t have a specialization but a lot of the kids have livestock.

Q: What’s it like to work with the kids?

A: It’s a great feeling to see these kids grow and do everything they do. I really love to work with the youth and share all I’ve learned.

Q: How important is this dinner to local 4-H programs?

A: It’s huge for Washington County 4-H. Part of the money raised goes to our endowment. We earn interest on that and are able to use it to pay for kids to attend specialized camps across Ohio and the U.S. We want to make sure the kids in Washington County get a chance to explore avenues they otherwise might not be able to. It also helps cover the cost of the 4-H camp director position. We have a three-week camp in Washington County, broken down by age group.

Q: Is the dinner the main fundraiser for the year?

A: It’s the main thing we do. We want to make sure we can offer as much as possible to the kids.

Q: What are some of the auction items this year?

A: We do both a live and a silent auction. The silent auction has the smaller items and the live auction has our big items.We have some Buckeyes tickets that are a big draw. It’s two tickets to each of the home games. We also have eight to 10 guns and a full-size picnic table someone built with a 4-H emblem on top. We’re still gathering items so you never know what we’ll end up with. We’ve had puppies before, tractors, beautiful artwork…we always have a handpainted lamp that someone donates. There’s someone who always donates a week in a vacation home. We always try to have a pedal tractor because those are popular. We see a lot of different items.

Q: What else can people expect at the dinner?

A: We serve the same delicious meal every year. It’s a choice of New York strip steak or chicken breast, a baked potato, green beans, a roll, salad. Everyone gets a scoop of Uncle Dan’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream. They donate their ice cream and Jeremiah’s (Coffeehouse) donates a coffee bar. We’re really excited to have them both. We usually serve close to 500 meals that night. That’s what we plan for.

Q: Is this your first year as chairperson for the event?

A: Yes. I started out as emcee a few years ago and then they said they’d really like to have me on the committee. This year I’m really excited that our current Junior Fair king and queen will be the emcees. They’ll talk a a lot about 4-H opportunities and also what’s going on at the dinner. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn leadership and public speaking skills, although they’re already great.

Q: Has how planning the dinner been for you? Is it an overwhelming amount of work, fun, a little of both?

A: It’s both. We plan the date a year in advance but then we don’t really start getting things going until November. I’m excited to be the chairperson and hope to lead this event into even bigger success. We’ve looked at a lot of things, such as food costs, to try to make this event affordable to everyone, to all our 4-H families. We’ve haven’t raised our ticket prices in a long time so we look at what else we can do.

I would love to see as much support as we can get. It’s one of the best steak meals you can get. We have a special grill team that comes in and they do a fantastic job. It’s just a great event.

Kate York conducted this interview.

If you go

¯ What: Washington County 4-H endowment dinner and auction.

¯ When: April 6. Doors open at 5 p.m., dinner is at 6, with a live auction at 7:30.

¯ Where: Junior Fair Building, Washington County Fairgrounds.

¯ Cost: $20 for adults: $10 for children.

¯ Meal includes: Grilled New York strip steak or grilled chicken breast, baked potato, salad, green beans, roll and dessert.

¯ For tickets or to donate an auction item: Washington County office of the Ohio State University Extension, 740-376-7431 or Jeremy Barth, 740-525-0756.

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