Ansley 4-H club takes on fairgrounds project

The Custer County Fair wraps up today with the annual livestock auction, and for many area 4-H kids it has been a very busy and exhausting week. One local group can go home from fair week knowing that their efforts resulted in a nicer looking fairgrounds. The Ansley Junior Livestock 4-H Club came up with the idea last year to do something to help beautify the fairgrounds. The project the club decided to tackle was barns 5 and 6. Club leader Gail Reed says the club was initially asked to paint the barn, but they knew that would be a really big project and the paint would only last a few years. The kids wanted to do more. That’s when they decided to host a fundraiser during the fair, and spent the week handing out pledge cards for their project. “We knew it needed done so we decided to do something to help improve the fairgrounds,” says Kendra Henry, a junior at Ansley High School and one of the organizers of the project. Members of the 4-H club took turns passing out pledge cards throughout the fair, between showing their livestock and other events. By the week’s end they had around $9,000 pledged for the barn project. The kids then contacted a few area businesses asking them to help, and Henry says within just a couple of weeks the club had raised nearly $15,000 to put siding on the barns. Glen Birnie, Custom Quality, did the siding, and about three weeks before this year’s fair the 4-H club members gathered to paint the window frames, frames around the doors and the steps at the back of the building, says 6th grader Grant Reynolds, one of the members who helped with the project. “It was just something to do rather than stand around and pick up poop,” Reynolds says with a smile. Getting a little more serious he adds, “It needed to be done.” “These kids sure didn’t anticipate raising enough funds in just one year to complete this project,” says Gail Reed. “We really thought this was going to be a two or three year project. But between the pledges and donations, and what the fair board kicked in for paint, we were able to complete it in just a year.” The kids in the 4-H club are very grateful to everyone who donated to the barn project, and proud of what they were able to accomplish. They say they hope that their efforts might encourage other groups to pursue similar projects to help improve the fairgrounds for years to come.