Taylor McNamara wasn't scheduled to be at Thursday afternoon's recognition of Junior Fair project participants, and so it took some finagling to get the recent Benjamin Logan High School graduate to the ceremony so she could be the surprise recipient of the outstanding 4-H member of the year award.
Annie Davis, the 4-H extension educator, explained at the ceremony that she and Taylor's parents, Mickey and Carla McNamara had worked to come up with some things Taylor could do at the event.
As Ms. Davis was reading the recipient's list of accomplishments, Taylor said, "I thought, 'hey, I've done all those projects,' " she laughed after the recognition, which included the presentation of a table clock.
This is Taylor's last year of 4-H. She has been a member of Animals, Stitches and Things 4-H Club since she was 10, and was following in the footsteps of her older sister, Nicole, when she started her 4-H journey.
"It's helped build my character, I think," she said. "I've been able to help people more," and it's helped her confidence, her mother added.
A Junior Fair Board member for the past few years, Taylor has had a variety of 4-H projects over the years and this year has shown pygmy goats, dairy beef feeders and dairy steers.
While all the projects have been enjoyable, it's been the pygmy goats which have made the greatest impression on the West Liberty area resident.
"I started placing well (with them) and it was a real joy," she said of the animals, which she has shown for about the past six years. They have bred their own goats and raised the babies, which she has shown, and she hopes to be able to continue open class showing.
She will study ag commerce this fall at Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster and will have a summer internship position next year.Try your best and don't be afraid to get involved," is her advice to youths considering a 4-H membership.How does she feel about this being her last year of 4-H?"Really sad. I'm going to miss it."