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MAYS LANDING - No lions, or tigers, or bears could be seen, but there were plenty of horses, pigs and goats at the Atlantic County 4-H Fair on Friday afternoon.

The 55th annual Atlantic County 4-H Fair was held at the David C. Wood 4-H Center & Fairgrounds on Route 50, from Aug. 10-12. The fair included rides, vendors and cute animals. Visitors had the chance to get up close to the farm animals by walking through several barns and were even able to watch quail eggs hatch right before their eyes.

However, 4-H is not just about a once a year fair. The organization’s aim is to develop leaders and have children learn by doing. According to the 4-H website, the roots of the organization lay in the 1800s and originally began as a way to bring new agricultural ideas to a new generation. While 4-H still has deep agricultural roots, the organization has grown to include STEM and Healthy Living programs, all with the goal of growing smart, strong and confident children.

“It keeps the kids busy and involved, it’s all about the kids,” said co-leader Dawn Super. In fact, that was one of the reasons why Super got her daughter, Hailey, involved in the organization.

“She wanted to get me out of the house,” smiled Hailey, 13. Hailey has a special fondness for animals and learning about them is one of her favorite things about 4-H, but she does have a favorite animal. “Rabbits. They were the first animal I got involved in when I join 4-H,” she said.

While some kids may have joined just to get out of the house, other kids joined 4-H because of family.

“I’ve been a part of it for 10 years,” said Tatum Henry, 17. “My brother was involved and I was jealous,” laughed Henry, who was working in one of the food stands at the fair.

Henry’s partner in the food stand, William Makres, 15, also joined 4-H because of family. While Makres is learning valuable life skills, there is one experience that Makres said was his favorite about 4-H, “The experience of making friends.”

For more information on 4-H, please visit www.4-h.org.

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