Ohio Fairs’ Queen wants to ‘blur the lines’ of traditional farm kids and those without agriculture backgrounds

Maya Kidd, of Butler County, wants to let people know many ways fairs and 4-H programs help youth

Growing up in Butler County, with its mix of urban, suburban and rural areas, 18-year-old Maya Kidd saw the value that county fairs and 4-H clubs bring children and teens from all those areas. And as the 2022 Ohio Fairs’ Queen, she wants to help those various kids across Ohio hang out with and learn from each other.

Maya is the second oldest of Amy and Savalas Kidd, who live in a semi-rural area of Butler County. Her parents grew up in suburban Colerain Twp. and are not traditional farmers, although they now live on 6½ acres of agricultural land. Savalas is police chief and assistant vice president at the University of Dayton.

Maya recently won a competition against 77 other 2021 county fair queens to be crowned the 2022 Ohio Fairs’ Queen. She will visit many county fairs this summer with her family.

She and her siblings, who have been involved with the 4-H organization more than a decade, have participated in the more traditional showing of livestock, and also have participated with less traditional county-fair fare, such as competing in sewing with a prom dress Maya made.

“I believe that honestly, the future of our fairs is going to be in the projects that might not necessarily be livestock projects,” said the high-school senior who is taught at home. “I understand that our fairs have agricultural roots, and that we continue in those roots, but at the same time, the fairs really have an opportunity to gain a whole new wave of people because they open it up to people who can do sewing projects, the cooking projects.”

At least in Butler County, she sees a divide between traditional farm kids and those who don’t have backgrounds in agriculture and don’t have livestock to show.

“I really want to blur the lines between those two groups of people, and just really help our fair build one community,” she said.

Maya hopes teens who show livestock will become more involved in county fair committees, and junior fair boards. And for those who don’t show animals at the fair, “I want them to be able to mingle with those kids who are in livestock, and be able to make friends in both groups of people,” Maya said.

A variety of activities at fairs, 4-H

“We are so proud” of Maya being named fairs’ queen, said Emily Kahrs, 4H educator at the Ohio State University’s Extension Office in Hamilton. “We are over-the-moon so excited that our girl is representing Butler County.”

“The Kidd family, both mom and dad, did not have any background in 4-H,” Kahrs said. “They stumbled into it, got their kids plugged in pretty early.”

“People have this misconception that 4-H is for rural kids, and that is so contrary to the truth,” Kahrs said. “There are over 200 4-H projects to choose from.”

4-H is the country’s biggest youth development organization, with almost six million young people learning a variety of skills, including not only agriculture and livestock, but also rocketry, robotics and science, healthy living, sewing, civic engagement and cooking. There’s also cake-decorating, woodworking and overall leadership.

Credit: Picasa

Credit: Picasa

“There’s something for everyone, no matter what demographic, no matter what part of the county you live in, or the family you come from — rural, non-rural — there’s something for every kid,” Kahrs said.

“In Butler County we have almost 900 families enrolled in 4-H,” Kahrs said. The program has been strong across the county for decades she said, recalling hearing about Butler County 4-H kids, and meeting some at the Ohio State Fair, when she was a youth member in Marysville.

Quality people with fun projects

All members of the Kidd family are “people of high character, high values and integrity,” Kahrs said.

Maya’s older sister, Madeline, 20, was the 2020 Butler County Fair Queen. Her brother Brayden, 14, and sister, Miranda, 9, also are involved with 4-H.

Credit: Picasa

Credit: Picasa

“I hope she will inspire other young people to know what opportunities are out there in terms of leadership and everything that’s gained from 4H,” Kahrs said. “She is the face of it.”

“Not only does she accomplish a lot in the program, but she’s very well-liked by her peers,” Kahrs said. “All of them just adore her.”

Several Butler County junior-fair-board members attended the state convention where Kidd was named queen, and when they finished giving a presentation about a program called Barnyard Rodeo, “they could not wait to go see Maya, and support Maya, they were so excited for her.”

Maya also continued an Ohio Fairs’ Queen streak for the southwest quarter of Ohio and the Greater Dayton area:

  • Mozie van Raajj from the Clark County Fair was the 2021 Ohio Fairs’ Queen;
  • Mackenzie Hoog of the Montgomery County Fair was 2020 Ohio Fairs’ Queen;
  • Lora Current from Champaign County was the winner in 2019. She is currently Miss Ohio.

“My family is really big on the community it builds for us, and for my siblings,” Maya said. “The county fair really brings everybody together, everybody from different backgrounds, no matter what they’re interested in. It just makes us all a part of one thing. It unites a lot of different people.”

Some of her favorite activities through the years have been playing Red Rover in the cow-show arena, competing with her sewing projects — including a prom dress. Also, “I really love showing my livestock,” including lambs, goats, dairy heifers, turkeys and sheep, some of which were borrowed, and the first animal that she owned and showed, a rabbit.

Maya, who has been involved with 4-H almost 11 years, laughs, saying she’s a member of almost every committee a teen can be part of through the Butler County 4-H.

One of her many activities has been Car Teens, which teaches vehicle safety to teenagers who are required to attend such classes because of traffic mishaps.

People interested in learning more about 4H can contact Kahrs at kahrs.7@osu.edu.

Want to learn more?

People wishing to learn more about the 4-H can contact Emily Kahrs at kahrs.7@osu.edu.

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