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home : columnists : columnists September 20, 2017


8/14/2017 4:00:00 AM
4-H still shaping Alan Burton's life
The Times photo by Betsy ReasonAt the Indiana State Fair, Noblesville's Alan Burton earned a blue ribbon in the 4-H Sewing project for a two-piece suit he made and modeled in the Hamilton County 4-H Fair Fashion Revue (above), during which he earned Champion in Sewing’s Suits and Coats category and Grand Champion for Senior Sewing construction.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason

At the Indiana State Fair, Noblesville's Alan Burton earned a blue ribbon in the 4-H Sewing project for a two-piece suit he made and modeled in the Hamilton County 4-H Fair Fashion Revue (above), during which he earned Champion in Sewing’s Suits and Coats category and Grand Champion for Senior Sewing construction.
Noblesville’s Alan Burton models his handmade suit at the Hamilton County 4-H Fair. He earned a blue ribbon in Sewing construction for his suit at the Indiana State Fair.
Noblesville’s Alan Burton models his handmade suit at the Hamilton County 4-H Fair. He earned a blue ribbon in Sewing construction for his suit at the Indiana State Fair.

By Betsy Reason
Editor


When we visited the Indiana State Fair on Saturday, we happened onto Hamilton County 10-year 4-H'er Alan Burton, who was working at 4-H Centennial Hall alongside other county 4-H'ers.

Every time that I see Alan, he's busy dedicating his time and efforts to 4-H.

In July, the 18-year-old earned a 2017 Hamilton County 4-H Tenure Award. "It's based off of achievements of your tenure, basically your involvement in 4-H and your commitment to the program," the Noblesville resident, a 2017 Guerin Catholic High School grad, told me. "It's awarded by number of projects, as well as success in those projects, and they also look at how many projects you've done for all 10 years,"

He has completed five projects all 10 years of his 4-H career, plus 12 projects interspersed over the years. "I would say grand total of around 150 (projects)," Alan said.

While that's a lot of projects, his greatest success has come with 4-H Sewing and Fashion Revue projects, annually modeling his hand-sewn fashions in the Hamilton County 4-H Fair Fashion Revue. Alan has sewn every garment from an apron to a suit to a winter wool coat.

In the 2016 State Fair Fashion Revue, he earned Sweepstakes, a ribbon awarded to the overall outstanding exhibit, for his brown suit consisting of hand-sewn pants, vest and jacket that he made and modeled in the Revue. In 2015, he earned Sweepstakes in Sewing construction for a two-piece garment at the State Fair. In 2014, he earned second runner-up for another garment in the State Fair Fashion Revue.

This year at the State Fair, he earned a blue ribbon for Sewing construction of a two-piece suit he made and modeled in the Fashion Revue at the county 4-H Fair, where he earned Champion in Sewing's Suits and Coats category and Grand Champion for Senior Sewing construction. His black jacket and pants are on display in 4-H Centennial Hall at the State Fair through Sunday.

Since achieving in his Sewing project, he said younger 4-H'ers have asked for his help. "Now that my 4-H career has come to an end, I might go into helping other people in their 4-H career," he said.

Alan's sewing machine was handed down from his grandmother, Becky Wilson, who taught him how to sew. "I started sewing as an excuse to spend time with my grandmother," he said. "Then I enjoyed it, so I stuck with it."

He said, "I definitely think sewing has helped me learn patience and being able to sit and work without being distracted."

Public Speaking is another 4-H project in which the well-spoken 4-H'er has found great success, in 2015 winning the State Fair Sweepstakes award for his speech about "4-H and different people who are making a difference in the world today who were, in the past, 10-year 4-H'ers." He has also completed 4-H project as diverse as Weather and Arts and Crafts.

At the county level, Alan's likeness was made into a poster that was presented to him at the 10-year 4-H'er recognition night during intermission of the 4-H Fair Queen Pageant. He was pleasantly surprised about the poster, which he said something new for the awardees. "I thought it was cool."

The poster was displayed in the 4-H Tenure award sponsor Indiana Farm Bureau milkshake tent throughout the run of the 4-H Fair, alongside the 2017 female 4-H Tenure award winner Bailee Williams, daughter of Ed and Nikki Williams of Arcadia.

The son of Bob and Evelyn Burton, Alan is a 4-H Junior Leader who, served as vice president for the last two years and during the county 4-H Fair, volunteered his time to the Fair office staff. "I do a lot of helping with putting the Fair together, the setup and tear down, and the layout of what goes where during the Fair," he said.

He's involved in many activities through 4-H. Alan is on the design team for National 4-H Congress. In November 2016, he and fellow 4-H'er Chris Luhring, both Junior Leader representatives, were selected to attend the 96th National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Ga. He attended State Fair Leadership Conference, returning as a group adviser. He is a member of Purdue Extension Board, served on the 4-H Council and was president for the past four years of Westfield City Slickers 4-H Club. At Guerin, he participated in Model UN, competed in cross country, was a school ambassador and student council class representative and served on the Teen Leadership Corps.

Alan worked diligently to achieve the 2017 Tenure Award. "Especially this year, it was something I strived for. It was my inspiration for trying to see what I could do and get out there and help," he said. "I feel like a lot of it was my willingness to branch out and try other projects that I didn't know about, as well as my success in Fashion Revue, Sewing and Public Speaking."

During the 2017 State Fair, he's coordinating the State Fair Sewing department in 4-H Centennial Hall.

After the Fair ends on Sunday, he will take a year off from schooling and will work as an intern for Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks in her Carmel office. While he focused on history and international studies at Guerin and plans to study political science in college, Alan met Brooks at the National 4-H Conference and plans to take advantage of this internship opportunity to "make the connections with people who are successful in that field."

Alan tries to keep a positive attitude every day, and he thanks the 4-H program for his success thus far in life.

"4-H has helped shape the path in which I want to go in my life. It's helped me discover who I am as a person and my interests, as well as (helped me) become a better person to those around me."

-Contact me at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.







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