4-H Youth Program unlikely to switch back to in-person format, despite 100 percent NYS Fair capacity

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– While the NYS Fair opens back up this summer with 100% capacity, not all the programs can make such a fast pivot, like the 4-H Youth program. 

The program is a staple of the fair each year, bringing kids from all over the state together to show off their livestock, compete in competitions and learn about agriculture all while fostering youth empowerment. 

The program holds a special place in Robin Bartholomew’s heart who has been a part of 4-H for over 58 years. 

“I was a 4-H member, I was a volunteer, I’m a club leader presently, I’ve raised three children and three grandchildren through 4-H and now I’m a 4-H educator as well in Onondaga County,” Bartholomew said. 

When the fair was canceled last year, the program switched to a virtual format, and this year, the 4-H state leaders decided in early May to continue that virtual program for the 2021 NYS Fair.  

Bartholomew says this is a big loss for the kids who look forward to it each year. 

“I just see the confidence is built up just so much with kids that are involved in 4-H especially at the State Fair level,” she said. “It’s a different child that comes back from the State Fair and they just continue to grow, they want to go back, they want to go back and do more.” 

NewsChannel 9 spoke with the 4-H state leaders who said they are going to review the new guidance, but it is unlikely they will change their plans. 

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