- Associated Press - Saturday, July 12, 2014

FREMONT, Neb. (AP) - Mariann Von Rein remembers the work her four daughters put into 4-H projects. And she remembers the life skills they picked up along the way.

“4-H teaches you life skills,” Von Rein said. “My girls are really realizing it. They can cook. They can identify plants, thanks to Russ Lang. It’s a good bonding activity for parents and kids.”

Now, 11 years after her daughters - Erinn, Trish, Andrea and Allison - finished their 4-H careers, Von Rein was honored as the grand marshal for the 2014 Fremont 4-H Fair, the Fremont Tribune said (https://bit.ly/1mghnZF ).

Sitting in her living room on a recent morning, Von Rein chatted about why she has worked as the foods superintendent at the Fremont fair for the past 20 years and why she devotes much of her summer to judging 4-H contests.

“There’s so many good things about 4-H,” she said. “Kids are proud of the projects that they do, and they do some really creative things.”

She enjoys being part of all the excitement 4-H creates.

“I like to see the little kids bring their plate of cookies and their muffins with their big grins like ‘I made this.’ They’re always so excited about what ribbon they go. It’s just neat. I’ve met some great kids,” she said.

Growing up, Von Rein was a 10-year member of 4-H. Her mother was a leader for 25 years. For her, 4-H has just been a part of life - one that she said helped the family bond.

“I don’t know if I would have sat down with my kids and taught them to bake bread, make unusual things,” she said. “They can all sew. They all swore they’d never sew again, but three of them have sewing machines.

“I just think it’s good,” she added. “Even their dad (Drew) would get involved. He’d help them with the jerky. He’d come up with the recipes and they would dump (the ingredients together).

“It’s just so many life skills and things that they carry that you never would take time to sit and teach them. That’s the important thing.”

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Information from: Fremont Tribune, https://www.fremontneb.com

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