Fillmore County Extension summer intern Haylee Sheffield presented an event, Chair Planter Workshop, for 4-H members and the public on June 26 in which old wooden chairs were transformed into chair planters. Chairs were primed, painted, decorated with a stenciled design, plant liners were stapled to the chair base and plants added the finishing touch. Pictured left to right are Sheffield and workshop participant Maura Vrbka of Geneva.

GENEVA — Haylee Sheffield has been involved in 4-H half of her life, working on projects and enjoying every minute. She always wanted to see what the background of the organization is like, and this summer she has been able to find out.

She grew up in Shickley and at the end of fourth grade her family moved to Exeter, where she graduated from high school in 2017.

The 20 year-old came home for summer break from Fort Hays State University of Hays, Kansas, read about the summer intern position, applied and acquired it. Her duties began May 22 and will continue until the second week in August.

Sheffield has been active in helping the Nebraska Extension office in Fillmore County with all the summer activities.

She started out by helping organize the summer reading programs for the libraries of Fillmore County and helping to organize and present summer workshops.

Growing up in Shickley and Exeter, Sheffield knew quite a few of the girls and their families.

“The kids have been very excited and eager to find out what’s happening and to learn new things,” Sheffield said.

Then she began getting things ready for the Fillmore County Fair, which continues through today.

Sheffield said she’s been enjoying her job very much.

“I’ve never been involved with livestock before, so it’s been a real learning experience for me,” Sheffield said.

Sheffield has presented workshops pertaining to fair projects. They include “Trash to Treasure,” “Stepping Stone,” and “3-D Printing.” She also helped with the Ag Safety Day.

On June 26 Sheffield presented “The Chair Planter Workshop” to nine county 4-H’ers, ages 9-18 and to the public. She was assisted by Rachel Adams, Fillmore County 4-H extension assistant. For fair entry, the project is listed as out-door furniture or accessory. Members attending were responsible for bringing an old wooden chair with an approximate 12-inch cut-out in the seat and a plant. The extension office provided the primer, paint, stencils (if desiring chair-design) and the plant liners.

The girls were instructed to prime their chairs with long, even strokes, let them dry and repeat until a nice finish was achieved. Then they chose their chair color and painted in the same fashion as the priming. After the final coat of paint was dry, stenciling could be done to add a special, personalized touch. Plant liners stapled to the 12-inch cut-out and the addition of the plant were the finishing touches.

The participants said they enjoyed creating the project.

Ellie Janing, age 11, of the Pasture Pals 4-H Club, has been a 4-H member for six years and signed up for the project because she likes gardening.

“Weeds can take over sometimes,” Ellie said. “So with this chair, there should be less.”

Kagen Girmus, age 11, of the Strang 4-Bar H Club, has also been a 4-H member for six years. She is creative and loves the great outdoors.

“I like to do crafts,” Kagen said. “It’s kind of nice to have something with nature. It will make the world prettier and better.”

Addison Foutch, age 9, is in her first year of 4-H and said she has enjoyed it. She has been participating in Open Class fair projects, that included rabbits and chickens, since age 5.

“I really like this chair project and can’t wait to enter it this year, along with my animals,” Foutch said before the fair.

Sheffield believes 4-H is a good thing.

“It teaches kids new skills through workshops the extension office puts on and encourages them to try new things,” she said. “It also teaches them to become more organized.”

Sheffield was a nine-year member of the 4-H Energizers Club. She enjoyed the baking projects very much. Her favorite project was making a play kitchen out of an entertainment center that she painted. A hole was cut for the sink, completed with a faucet and purple ribbon she received for her unique creation.

Sheffield said she’s hoping to return to her position again next summer.

“It’s been a great experience,” she said.

Sheffield will be a junior at Fort Hays State in the fall.

“I want to become a speech-language pathologist, and they have a really good program there,” Sheffield said. “I want to be able to help all ages, child to adult, with speech disorders and difficulties.”


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