My 4-H experience


Q&A with 2011 fair queen and 10-year member Phoebe Davis about the impact 4-H has had on her life

During her time in 4-H, Stringtown Pikers 4-H Club member Phoebe Davis has completed 150 exhibits in 29 projects and earned many Grand Champion plaques and state fair entries. Current in Noblesville sat down with Davis and asked her about her 10 years in 4-H (12 if you count her two years in mini 4-H) and being the 2011 Hamilton County 4-H Fair Queen.

What’s it like going into your last 4-H fair?

“My sister and I always said when we were both in 4-H together that the 4-H fair is our favorite holiday, and this is the one thing we both looked forward to the entire year. Now she’s out of 4-H and I’m here, I have a lot bigger responsibility, it’s just means even more than that.”


What has 4-H meant to you?

“It was definitely something I got to bond with my sister over – that was 4-H when I was younger. There was a time where we would go to meetings together and get to learn new things and work on projects together. I did 26 projects my first year. I loved to learn things and I love to work hard, and that was just always something I did. It’s gotten me to really mature. I learned a lot about the fair, and I gained a new respect for 4-H even though I was in love with it.”


What is like being queen during a fair?

“It’s crazy. I was here from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and some of that was my own choice. When I was done being queen, I wanted to spend a little bit of time at the fair, so I might get off at 10 p.m. and stay a little longer just because I love the fair so much.


Meet Phoebe Davis

Parents: Geoff and Julie Davis

Residence: Old town Noblesville. Davis has lived in the same house her entire life.

Education: Recently graduated from Noblesville High School. She will attend Wilmington College of Ohio in the fall to study studio art and agriculture.

Favorite band: The Avett Brothers

Hobbies: She loves to sing, play ukulele, perform in show choir and theater, sew and photograph.

Favorite song: “Little Birds,” an original song Davis wrote to help her get through tough times in her life.

Awards: 2011 Hamilton County 4-H Fair Queen, 10-year 4-H member, had state fair entries in consumer clothing, weeds and beekeeping, placed third in the state fair talent competition and in the top 10 in the queen pageant.

Personal motto: “Decide what to be and go be it.”

Being queen was absolutely amazing! That week was bittersweet for me because at the beginning of the week I was so excited, it was so amazing, but it went by so fast. It kind of disappeared before my eyes. I wanted to do more. Even though it was so hectic, I wanted to take on anything, because it was such a huge opportunity for me. It honestly changed my life so much, because it really opened my eyes to 4-H. I only show poultry, so I have really small animals and do girly projects and nature projects as well, so after sitting in the Show Arena hour after hour, I learned so much about livestock that I would have never guessed. It really opened my eyes to how much 4-H’ers work, and our jobs are all really different. Being queen, I realized that even though we are so different, we come together to put on this amazing event for our county to enjoy.”


You are assisting with this year’s pageant. What is the best advice you gave to this year’s queen contestants?

“Be confident and happy with yourself. You don’t need to listen to other people. Even though the pageant is semi based on beauty, it is also based on character. It’s important to remember that as long as you feel beautiful and great, you’re always going to be a winner. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose or if you even make court – even though that is a great, great opportunity that I never dreamed I would get – the experience in itself is amazing. I have so many new friends because of the pageant last year, and I have friends from the pageant this year even though I’m not in it.”


What is your favorite fair food item?

“I do enjoy the fruit slushies, and I really do love a good funnel cake. The fair at night is my absolute favorite thing on the earth. It’s beautiful, comforting and peaceful and just sitting there with your friends eating a funnel cake is the best thing in the world.”


What is the biggest life lesson you’ve learned from 4-H?

“Confidence. I come here and I just feel at home. I feel happy here, and every time I come to the fairgrounds I make a new friend. I learned to be very confident in myself here because no one judges anybody here. It’s different than high school, even though it’s a whole bunch of high school kids; it’s just different. Everybody’s just so accepting, happy and so willing to help each other – that is such a big thing here. Everyone’s willing to do anything to support each other and I love that feeling.”


What is you favorite 4-H project?

“I really, really enjoy consumer clothing. We get to model an outfit we chose ourselves. The goal of the project is to learn to be caring of your clothing but not spend money. Consumer clothing has taught me over the years it’s OK to shop at Goodwill. As long as you feel professional and great it doesn’t matter how much it costs.

My other favorite project that others don’t not know about it wildflowers. Only 10 to 12 people do it, but it has gotten a lot bigger. My first year probably five people did it. You spend time in parks and nature preserves in Indiana and you go out and try to find flowers, take pictures of them and identify them. It’s also a great opportunity to bond with your family because as a third- or fourth-grader I couldn’t go to a park alone, so my parents would take me. We would spend time together with a field guide on some trail in a park looking at a flower and finding it fascinating. Today, I am very proud to say I could go into any part of Indiana and probably tell you what flower you are looking at because of this project.”


You will attend Wilmington College of Ohio in the fall to study studio art and agriculture. What made you decide on those two different majors?

“I have very many interests. I’m very creative and I’m also very helpful, I love to teach people things. I also love nature and learning how things grow. When it came to college I didn’t know what I was going to major in. I have so many different interests, what do I do? For now I picked two of my very favorite interests and we’ll see where it goes. It could easily change, but I feel pretty confident in it. Studio art is just because I’m a creative person and I love to make things. With agriculture I’m hoping to go into sustainable agriculture, which is local farming and growing. I think that is an important career choice to make because our earth is really going to need it. We are running out of resources, and there’s always a need for young people to have some bright ideas of how we can change it a little bit better.”

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