Adults from the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CCDD) participated in “A Day in the Ring” during the 2018 Clermont County Fair.
“A Day in the Ring” is a program offered by the OSU Extension Office, and gives 4-H members the opportunity to mentor people who have special needs. This event was held on Thursday, July 26 in the Gibbons Arena on the Clermont County Fairgrounds. Although there were other shows going on at the same time, there were many people in the audience to cheer for those who participated.
“The goal of ‘A Day in the Ring’ is to allow individuals with special needs the opportunity to achieve success in the show ring and for 4-H members to utilize their animal projects to mentor others,” said Kelly Royalty, OSU Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Educator. “We hope our community and audience realized that it’s not our similarities that make us unique, but our differences. Everyone should live, laugh, love every day.”
Nine adults from CCDD arrived at 10 a.m. on July 26 and were paired with a 4-H member. The group went to the goat barn to watch and assist with milking the dairy goats, before meeting the goat they would show during the final part of the event. They spent most of the hour studying the characteristics of their goat and learning to guide the goat around the barn before heading over to the Gibbons Show Arena. Next, they paraded around the arena before they were lined up for the actual show.
Several representatives of the Junior Fair Board Royalty attended the event to make announcements, as well as distribute medals and pose for pictures…not unlike what the royalty representatives would do at typical shows throughout the week of the fair.
Even though this was a non-competitive show, there was a judge who presided over the event. James Jones has been raising and showing goats for many years. Jones uses a wheelchair and wanted to make sure each person participating knew that their disability does not define them. He stressed that setting goals and working towards them is how he lives each day.
For those who participated, it was a dream come true.
“I enjoyed working with my goat,” said Eric Plowman. “Her name was Fiona, and she had cool horns.”
Plowman’s mentor was Whitney Hauserman of Franklin Township, who is a member of Felicity-Franklin FFA.
“I had fun telling Eric about my goat project and giving him the opportunity to show.”
For more information about “A Day in the Ring” plans for 2019 or to learn about other 4-H programs, visit clermont.osu.edu. To learn about programs that serve people with disabilities, visit clermontdd.org.