Local Student to lead 4-H State Ambassadors
The Dodge County Fair features plenty of crops, but the cream of the crop is a Dodge County 4-H participant who is now a leader of leaders. Val Sauder, a Pine Island senior and member of 4-H for the past 10 years, recently earned a spot on the leadership team for the 4-H state ambassadors.
“I was one of 30 ambassadors in the state last year, and this year I was honored to be chosen as one of six on the leadership team,” she said. She said the leaders plan a shorter regional conference and a longer statewide conference.
To become a member of the leadership team, she had to give a presentation to her ambassador advisors. In that presentation, she had to explain why she was ready to take on the extra responsibilities involved with a member of the leadership team. However, before that could happen, she first had to become a state ambassador for 4-H; she accomplished that last year.
To become a state ambassador, Sauder said there was an application which included multiple essay questions, and after that there was an in-person interview in Owatonna.
“Achieving state ambassador is a pretty big deal, and I’m glad that I’ve done that. That was one of my goals for a couple years now,” she said. In addition to her responsibilities as a leader and ambassador, she remains a very active 4-H participant. Sauder said she’s shown dairy in open class since she was 3, and has shown rabbits for the past five years, but this is her first year showing sheep at the fair.
“When I first got my rabbits, I spent three days solid on the computer researching everything,” she said. “The same stuff that works for a cow doesn’t work for a sheep, so you have to learn a lot of new stuff when you get another animal.” Despite the learning curve, Sauder said she loves being involved with the 4H activities at the fair. “Part of what I love is being at the fair for the public and being able to tell them about my projects, about 4-H, and about agriculture,” she said. “I just love doing that.”
She said she’s showing her animals as a junior this year, and she can show for one year past high school, so she has three fairs left. Last year, she won a State Fair trip with one of her rabbits and her yearling heifer, and in her remaining years she hopes to earn another trip. After her time in 4-H is over, Sauder plans to stay involved with 4-H and the fair. “I’ll back as a volunteer to help out at the county and State Fair, and I hope to help other kids in the 4-H program.”