Building Self Esteem Around Every Country Corner

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We are getting ready to wrap up a month in Baker City, a small Oregon town that has provided huge opportunities for our entire family since we arrived in town.

During our stay here, we had the good fortune to be in town for the Baker County Fair and the Union County Grassroots festival, as well as the peak farmer’s market season – and we’ve taken full advantage of the cornucopia of activities that presented themselves when we least expected it.

For years we’ve visited state and county fairs in our travels and Marina and Morgan have always marveled at the ribbons on display in the exhibit halls. Until this stop in Baker City however, we never seemed to be in town at the right time to both enter craft projects as well as be there to pick them up after the fair was over. So we previously remained fair visitors with the promise from mommy that one day we’d be in the right place at the right time to enter our projects.

Baker City ended up being that time and place – and it’s been a treasure trove of experiences from it all.

As a child, I have fond memories of entering our local fair each year and just because we’re on the road doesn’t mean that the girls can’t build those same memories as well as the self esteem that goes along with it. So when we realized the timing was right, as soon as we hit town, we pulled out the craft and jewelry making supplies, and the girls started combing through the fair booklet to decide what they wanted to enter.

Morgan came up with a list of 7 items and Marina had 12. And systematically, they planned what they would create, kept to a schedule of getting them finished on time and submitted their wares with as much excitement as Christmas for opening day when they’d arrive to find out if they’d won any ribbons.

As noon arrived on opening day, we were among the first at the gate and headed straight to the exhibit booths to see if we’d be taking home a coveted ribbon and what color it might be. As we rounded the first corner, I saw a bright red ribbon hanging from Morgan’s photo of Multnomah Falls and I felt the excitement too – just as if I were back to being a bright eyed child again at our own county fair.

As we scanned the wall of photos, we spotted two more red ribbons on Marina’s roses, taken at the International Rose Test Garden in Portland – and the ear to ear smiles started to appear. But where were the “chipmunks?” We were looking all around and Marina’s 3 set collection of chipmunks seemed to be missing. Then we saw them…

GRAND CHAMPION! The chipmunks were in a special spot – reserved for the top winners of each age division and there was Marina’s entry – with a huge purple ribbon reserved for champions. Tears started and hugs were flowing all around as the three of us stood there doing the happy dance!

But we weren’t done yet! We hadn’t even made it over to the crafts exhibits, where we were soon to discover a sea of blue ribbons, red ribbons, and yes – TWO MORE purple Champion Ribbons! (One was even on mommy’s wire wrap – woohoo!) So as we headed to the crafts, Morgan ran ahead and discovered first place ribbons on three of her items and reds on everything else. Along with that, Marina spotted her 2nd Grand Champion ribbon for the crafts division and the yelping from us all continued.

All in all – the girls took first or second on EVERY item they entered – including decoupage, herbal soap, beaded jewelry, wire wrapped pendants, wood burning, and their polished gem and petrified wood collections. And on closing day, when we arrived to pick up our entries and prizes – the girls were over the top when they were handed $50 and $47 checks in prize winnings.

But beyond the ribbons and the cash, this experience canvassed a multitude of learning platforms that are indeed Priceless! I watched as a lot of hard work and determination went into each project as the girls worked diligently to put their best efforts and energy forth. The pride of accomplishment before the projects were even submitted was on the ceiling and a great deal of emphasis was put on the importance of doing their best, doing it themselves, and meeting the deadline – and not just the awarding of ribbons.

At the end of the day, when the fair was packed up and headed out of town – these memories will indeed last a lifetime along with the positive messages and self esteem that was earned in knowing that they accomplished a job well done. I’m proud of my girls and they will carry this with them as the ribbons hang on the wall of the motorhome marking this month in history!

CLICK HERE To enjoy more photos of all the submissions.





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We went full-time in 2008 in a 37ft Itasca Suncruiser and in April 2010, we upgraded to a 42ft Safari Continental which Greg drives and I now follow behind in an Excursion, towing a 20ft cargo trailer with our ATV & golf cart tucked inside. (More About Us...)
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