This spring Erik was searching through the 4H fair handbook and came upon the category of collections. Being the tool collecting maniac that he is, he started reading up on the category and he quietly started compiling an assortment from his tool collection to enter for this year's fair. He did this project completely on his own with just a little guidance on how to use different parts of Microsoft programs. The project required a story and his story was the best thing I have ever read coming from him. Having a great interest in tools and also having read up on the history of tools, he wrote quite the explanation of how his interest in tools has grown, his interest in learning how to use them and sharing this knowledge with others. There was a lot more to his story but this was my proud mommy moment. Erik is very hard on himself and to see how beautifully this project came together was a nice reward in and of itself.
The project was judged this morning and we don't know how he ultimately did but they had open judging. He waited three and a half hours for them to get to his division. He has since shared how he enjoyed the judge's comments on the other projects. The judge reminded me quite a bit of his Grandma Sylvia. She had an enthusiastic interest in the details of the various collections and had much to say about each project. I especially was struck by how she seemed to practically interact with the projects in a very personal way and saw the value of each collections change from year to year. Sylvia would make a great 4H judge as I have heard her say similar things when we have gone to exhibits together in the past or when she made observations of various kitchen tools or ways of doing things. I wonder if she could volunteer somewhere....
Anyway, when the judge got to Erik's project she appeared stunned at its organization and professional appearance. She read his story out loud and had to pause several times to exclaim things like "This projects blows the rest out of the ballpark" and many other compliments directed Erik's way. She asked him a lot of questions as to the use of each tool and was impressed with his knowledge. I was VERY proud of him and could see that it was a special moment for him as well. We did not stick around to see how he did overall as it seemed tacky to linger and breathe down her neck while she was making decisions. He will be happy no matter how it comes out as he had a chance to listen to the judge and her reasons for what she said etc. I will update the blog as I find things out.
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