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Junior board helps with annual event

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By Bryan Marshall

Like mother, like daughter.

Nineteen-year-old Katelyn Bachman of Williamstown has helped her mother with the Grant County Fair and Horse Show ever since she can remember.

Denise Bachman has been a member of the fair board for 19 years.

When the junior fair board was created three years ago, Katelyn jumped at the chance to be a member.

Now, the University of Louisville sophomore is the president.

“I joined because of the community service and knowing that we have contributed to improving the quality of the fair,” Bachman said. “I believe the junior fair board is extremely helpful. You have to realize that it is all about volunteering.

“It is a unique experience where you can give back to your community,” she said.

The 2009 fair was the third time that the junior fair board has assisted with the festivities.

It is a recognized committee made up of young adults ages 14-20.

Selected through an application process, members serve as delegates for every committee of the fair and are eligible for scholarships at the state level.

Their roles range from registering contestants and helping out in the kitchen to serving as announcers and recording names of event winners.

“The fair board wanted to get youth more involved in the fair,” said fair board member David Fields, who oversees the junior fair board. “We wanted a way to train future members to take over our spot when the time came. We had some committee members who would bring their children along, and they were doing work, but weren’t really getting any credit.

“The first meeting I held we had eight people,” he said. “By the end of the fair, we had 12. By the second year, we grew to 25 people.”

Eighteen-year-old Arielle Milner is the junior fair board’s vice president, a role her father, Randy Milner fulfills on the full board.

Arielle said she also has helped her parents for the past eight years organize the fair.

“I get the opportunity to better an event in my community that hundreds of people look forward to each year,” she said. “The junior fair board has been extremely beneficial to the fair because not only are there more volunteers to get work finished more quickly, but older members of the board have a useful insight into what appeals to younger generations of Grant County.”

Although he makes sure the members volunteer the minimum amount of hours, Fields said the youth do most of their duties on their own.

They even elect their own officers.

Fields said the junior fair board tries to meet about four times a year, but the group definitely gets together right before the fair and immediately following it to evaluate how things went.

“They make great suggestions to take back to the fair board,” he said. “I try to get information out of them because their age group in the community is probably the biggest participants and attendees at the fair.”

Once a junior fair board member has served for three years, and reached age 18, they are eligible to become a senior fair board member or select a specific committee on which to serve.

In an effort to give members a variety of experiences, Fields said they participate in an array of fair committees.

The members learn first-hand how much money, effort and teamwork it takes to put on the fair.

“We just don’t just walk in and flip on the lights,” Fields said. “We’re there almost around the clock during that week. They see that it’s a year-round process for that one week.”

While attending the state fair board convention the past two years, Fields said others across the state have been interested in the junior fair board.

“I  go there to learn and I end up doing the talking,” he said. “I’ve had people from as far as Mammoth Cave call me and ask me how we run (the junior fair board), how we started it and what they do.”

Youth interested in applying to be a member can contact a fair board member.