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Teens step up to the challenge as board is re-organized

Teens step up to the challenge as board is re-organized
Associate Editor
It’s been almost a decade since the Obion County Fair Board had a special board for the area’s youth to participate in the annual event.
Under the leadership of board member Blake Laws, who was on a youth board himself, a new youth board, now called the teen board, has been formed.
“When I was on the youth board, there were around 20 members on the board. We took part in several areas at the fair, from entry days to kids games on Saturday, the youth board was, at that time, very active,” Laws said.
“I wanted to bring back the youth board because I was a part of it when I was young and I wanted to give the youth in Obion County a chance to be a part of the Obion County Fair.”
Earlier this year, Laws contacted each of the high schools in the county — Obion County Central, South Fulton and Union City — and solicited applications for the board. The applications were narrowed down to 20 teens who were then invited to join the board.
Laws said he hopes the teen board gives these students an insight into the fair they love.
UCHS senior Kierra Davis said she wanted to be on the board “because it looked like fun” and she wanted to try it.
Grace Bruner, a sophomore at SFHS, hopes to get even more out of the board in the form of leadership and responsibility. “I love coming to the fair and enjoy all the activities that I take part in.”
Kelsey Barnes, a senior at OCCHS, said she wanted to give back to the community. “I have helped out with the fair livestock for many years and recently decided to further my help by joining the youth fair board.”
OCCHS graduate Brittany Readenour agreed that she can build leadership skills on the teen board and she joined to help out with the fair because of what it does for the community.
“I joined the youth fair board to be able to help out before the fair starts,” OCCHS senior Kevin Lee said.
“I expect to help out on the fairgrounds and make it a good place for friends and family to have fund,” Rebecca Archie, a SFHS junior said, adding she wanted to be on the board because she enjoys coming to the fair.
OCCHS junior Macy Allison applied to be the teen board so she could help with the startup duties of running a fair. “I also love team work projects, so I thought this would be a good thing for me.”
Fellow OCCHS junior Amanda Bell, who admits her friend signed her up for fair duty, said she’s ready for whatever the position calls for.
This year the board has already painted benches, helped set up the exhibits buildings and put up signs at local businesses. They’ll also be helping out on entry days, in the fair office and with Kids Day activities. They’ll work in the flower beds putting down mulch and planting new flowers, help clean up the livestock barn and sell tickets. In addition, after the fair wraps up, they will help take down and sort entries for pick up.
Other teen board members include Alison Stem, AJ Nevil, Zach Bunch, Shawn Spillman, Rosa Bustos, Rachel Praytor, Juan Mora, Chloe Smithson, Shakeyvia Gauldin, Josh McManus, Ashlyn Chism, Erica Sturkie and Anna Moore.
Obion County Fair directors are pleased that the teen board has been re-organized this year.
“It is a great thing,” Robert Pruett said.
“The youth board is the future of the fair,” said Charlie Grooms. “Members of past youth boards have been a very important part of our fair.”
Tommy Miller agreed, saying hopefully these teen board members will become fair directors.
“Seeing the students of OCCHS, SFHS and UCHS involved in the Obion County Fair is so exciting,” said Beth McManus. “Students are required to complete community service hours, but by serving on the fair board, they will learn the behind the scenes of the fair they’ve enjoyed for years.”
“I’m so glad to see a teen board re-organized. These young people are the future of the Obion County Fair,” fair president Brenda Baker said.
“There are so many behind-the-scenes jobs to be done getting ready for the fair that no one knows about unless they become involved. These young people have already learned that the fair is not all shiny lights and cotton candy, but plain hard, sweaty work. They are learning at a young age about giving back to their community. They will be better for the experience, but the whole community definitely benefits,” she said.
“I’m glad to see the teens are interested in the future of the fair,” Diana Guynn said. “May their energy be contagious.”
“Thanks for all your hard work and support,” David Miller added.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at
Published in The Messenger 7.28.10

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