By John Allen
One of the things that I am most proud of in my work with the fair is how young people have stepped up to be involved. Most of you know I spent 45 years in youth development work in my career so youth have been so important to me all my adult life.
You can see them in our pictures from the fair. You saw them accepting our trophy for Champion Fair last weekend. I made the decision long ago to put them out there as the face of the fair. Young people doing good things do not get enough recognition today. Adults upstage them.
We brought eleven of our junior fair board to Murfreesboro for the banquet. We had two of them there for the entire convention. We have five board members who came from our junior fair boards since 2014. You see them in action at our fair, and I want the state association to see them in action there. I want more fairs to involve their young people in the state association.
I could have just walked up to the Commissioner of Agriculture on Saturday night -- or any of the adults on the board could have done that and been justified -- and accepted that trophy. Many fair presidents and adult fair board members did just that when their fair's name was called. But in my heart I know the "heart" of our fair is the young people and that "heart" will be out front as long as I am president.
I wanted the 900 people sitting in that room to see our kids, to see what fine young people we have involved with our fair. We value our young people and we want them to take credit for what we are doing also. I know our board member feels the same way I do about all this. We could not achieve being State Champion Fair without the help of the Junior Fair Board.
We all work hard to have our young people involved in the fair knowing that one day we will hand over the reins of the fair to them.
Our young people never disappoint me/us ... they never let us down, they never fail when we need them to step up and take charge. They always go above and beyond in all they do. They are the real "Heart" of our fair. I salute them today and every day.
We have the finest Junior Fair Board in the nation. The absolute finest! Thanks Susanna Clouse and Dawson Davidson for your leadership of the Junior Fair Board these past years. Go TEAM!