AMES, Iowa -- A Sac County project is bringing the community together in hopes of boosting economic development.
More than 200 Sac County residents, many of them students and 4-H members, are creating 8 by 8 foot quilt squares to place on barns and corncribs. Students in five Sac County school districts and three 4-H clubs are painting the quilts.
Kevin Peyton, a 17-year-old 4-H member, came up with the idea for The Barn Quilts of Sac County after hearing about a similar project in Iowa. That project was initiated to increase tourism in the area and increase agricultural awareness. Peyton, a junior in high school and a nine-year 4-H member, thought the project would be beneficial to Sac County.
Although Peyton hopes the Sac County project will have results similar to those in Grundy County, he believes The Barn Quilts of Sac County is unique.
"One way our project is different than The Barn Quilts of Grundy County is we are getting more youth involved," Peyton said.
Sac County residents chose barns and corncribs that are at least 50 years old, located on attractive farmsteads and hard-surface roads.
Jerry Chizek, extension education director, hopes the project will be completed by August 2005. He believes bus tours and motorists will take the 108-mile drive through the county to view the barns.
Peyton asked Sac County Extension for help with the project in April. Extension is assisting in coordinating the project by facilitating committee meetings, working on publicity and contacting schools.
"We feel this project ties in well with Extension's role in economic development," Chizek said. "We're excited to be a part of it."
The barn quilts will be on display at various county celebrations and parades this summer before they appear on barns and corncribs.
Maps will be available for tourists visiting the barns beginning in August. Organizers would like to have a compact disc giving descriptions of the barns, corncribs and other agricultural features of the area available in 2006. Their long-term goal is to have between 60 and 70 barn and corncrib quilts on display by 2008.
"This project demonstrates the 4-H community working together to achieve a goal," Susan Doehrmann, Sac County youth coordinator, said. "4-H'ers are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills through their participation in The Barn Quilts of Sac County."
Peyton's efforts will be on display at the Sac County Fair July 26-31. He also was recognized as a Herbert Hoover Uncommon Student and is a finalist for a $5,000 scholarship from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association for his work on the project.
Carol Ouverson, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-9640,