Danedri Thompson
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Several area special needs youth will be chasing memories during a special event at the Johnson County Fair. Fifteen 12-18 year-olds are set to compete in the first “Chasing Memories” Livestock Show at 5 p.m. on July 31 at the Livestock Pavilion on the Johnson County Fairgrounds.
The event will pair 15 special needs youth with experienced members of the Johnson County Livestock Club. The goal of the event is to introduce children with special needs to youth livestock programs and clubs in Johnson County, said Denise King, a sheep and goat breeder and adult sponsor of the Johnson County Livestock Club.
“I have been working with youth in the livestock show ring for 25 years, and it always inspires me what these kids take away from their experience and the life lessons they learn,” King said. “Our club wanted to share those memories with this group of children.”
The De Soto woman also serves as the secretary of the Johnson County Fair Association.
During the show, tame lambs and goats will be available to the show’s participants.
Courtnie Cain is a psychologist at Lakemary Children’s Treatment Program in Paola. Some of her clients will participate in the July 31 show.
“I can’t begin to express how awesome this opportunity is,” Cain said. “Many of these kids never get a chance to participate in a healthy competition like this, to get the chance to hear a crowd clap and cheer for them as they receive a medal.”
Members of the Johnson County Livestock Club are also excited about sharing the experience with some of their peers. Daniel Smith, 14, president of the club, said the club was looking for a way to share livestock showing opportunities with others who may not have such a chance.
“You really get to learn a lot about things like sportsmanship and never giving up by showing livestock,” Smith, of Shawnee, said.
The show will last approximately 30 minutes. It starts at 5 p.m. on July 31 at the Livestock Pavilion on the fairgrounds, 136 E. Washington, Gardner.
There’s still time to register children to participate in the Chasing Memories Livestock Show. For more information, call Denise King at (913)583-1009.
For more information about the Johnson County Livestock Club, visit www.4-HLivestock.com.