County fair projects offer lessons, fun
There's one rule when it comes to entering projects in the Leavenworth County Fair for the Tindell family: It must be useable when the fair is over.
This may only be an unofficial rule, but for Katie, 11, and Rachel, 9, their projects have been put to good use after all is said and done on the fairgrounds.
Whether it was a key holder or a seashell display box made for woodworking, or pillows they've croqueted, Katie and Rachel's projects can be found throughout the Tindell household, which is located just outside of Lansing at 16503 Fairmount Rd.
This year, Katie will be participating in croquet, archery and woodworking; her sister, Rachel, will be entering projects in croquet, ceramics, photography and woodworking.
Planning for each year kicks off immediately after the previous year's fair. Katie and Rachel take their time picking just the right project and work on it on and off during the weekends.
"It's a lot of trial and error," joked their mother, Debbie, as the family laughed about one memorable ceramic project that came out looking like a squashed tree branch, which was not the original intention.
But, Debbie said, that's just one way the girls learn and each year get a little better.
Their woodworking projects are done with the help of their father, Jeff. When he was in high school, he began working with wood. Now he says it's exciting to be passing those lessons along to his daughters. He said woodworking was a great way for them to spend more time together.
This year, Katie has made a coat rack to hang on the wall, and Rachel has made a picnic table. Both girls enthusiastically explained why they chose the wood they did, demonstrating how much they've learned through the process.
Katie said she chose oak because it was the prettiest of all woods, which was perfect for an indoors-decorating piece. Rachel, on the other hand, said she chose cedar because "it is basically weather resistant and bugs don't like it."
Both girls are looking forward to this year's fair, where they will join their fellow Basehor Rustlers as they work on building watch and in the 4-H food stand. Rachel said she especially liked to see all the projects other 4-H'ers had entered into the fair.
But besides the learning the girls are receiving from each fair project, the Tindell sisters are preparing for their future by gaining leadership experience.
Katie is currently the vice president of her club. For that position, she calls all the members to remind them of meetings and covers for the president when he's gone.
Rachel is the recreation and song leader for the club. Each meeting she picks a song to sing at the beginning and a game to play at the end.
Both agree they are gaining important skills that could help them as they grow up. But for now the girls plan to continue their participation in 4-H for as long as they can and keep entering fair projects, adding to their household's collection.