4-H leader’s animal instinct is for the theater

Tani Adams is an amazing individual with more energy than I have seen in one woman. Besides having a heart of gold, she and the 4-H group she leads, 4-H Fusion, are now part of the Plateau’s art scene. The first time I saw Tani Adams was on the Enumclaw High School stage. She was performing in “The Nutcracker,” produced by Plateau Ballet Repertory Theatre. Tani played the part of Mother Ginger. I did not know that our paths were destined to cross and that she would not only introduce herself to me, but to her family, including Nevada, the llama.

I officially met Tani Adams when she started rehearsing with Stage Door Productions’ “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.” She was bubbly, excited and pleased to be part of the show. When it came time to discuss what type of costume we would need for the scene involving a camel, Tani said, “We don’t need a costume! I have a real llama we can use!” I honestly didn’t think we’d be using a real llama, but by George, Tani made it happen.

She created a “hump” that she saddled Nevada with for each show, but first she had to brush him out and/or dry him off with a hair dryer if it had been raining. Did you know llamas don’t smell very nice when they get wet? Tani took care of that. She just spritzed Nevada with some Febreze while drying him. Nevada ended up smelling like freshly laundered clothes. After the cast had months of rehearsing, dancing and singing to ready for the show, it was Nevada the llama that stole the show.

There is something else very special about Tani Adams. She is a 4-H leader. She leads a team of girls that know no boundaries when it comes to creativity. Personally, I was in 4-H as a teen, but I never thought about 4-H being part of the performing arts, but with Tani Adams, anything is possible. I wanted to highlight this special lady and bring some attention to her gift as a mentor and how fortunate we are to have her in our community. Below are some of the questions she was gracious enough to answer so that we can get to know her better; all the better to encourage her in her efforts to reach out to kids.

Where are you from originally? Everett, Wash. I was born in a barn…well, almost. They got my mom to the hospital in time. Whew! I am a true military brat and home is where we hung our hat in the evening. I never knew how long my dad would be stationed at each base. “Hellos” were easy… “Goodbyes” were not so easy. I guess that is where I get my gift of gab.

Where do you work and what do you do there? I have worked for The Boeing Company for the past 21 years.

Have you any children? I have two beautiful daughters that rock my world and keep me young. I have a married stepdaughter. They have made me a very young nana with four wonderful energetic grandkids.

What brought you to Enumclaw? The recession brought us here. Our family had an opportunity to move to Enumclaw in 2008. I had always loved the small-town life. The many years that we were not with my dad; we lived in small towns like Snohomish and Monroe. Enumclaw is like that to me. I have met so many wonderful people in this community.

What brought you to 4-H? Two dear friends of mine, Susan Hansen of Rainier Alpacas, Heidi White of Blue Ribbon 4-H and our first alpaca Zeke led me to 4-H. Zeke did well at the King County Fair. He was crowned the County Fair’s Royal Critter in 2009.

How did you come to name your group “Fusion”? My club is made up from kids of other 4-H clubs like poultry, rabbits, robotics, we “fused” together to make a performing Arts Club.

What are the most creative/artistic challenges your group has had? Some of my club members have been sand sculpting since 2006. We decided to compete and teach others how to sand sculpt. We just returned from Long Beach, Wash., where we competed in a Novice Class and came in fourth place!

What gave you the idea to branch out into the performing arts with your 4-H group? The kids in my neighborhood were bored after-school and loitering around town. I offered them a place to go and something to do, where they could have fun. We have been having a great time, all year. Community theater has helped our 4-H group build self-confidence, administrative skills, multi- media skills, light and sound technician experience, public relations, presentation skills and communication skills.

Do you have a plan of attack as to what you’re going to do next with 4-H Fusion? 4-H Fusion would like to put on a King County talent show for the public in May of 2012. They want to host a theatrical weekend workshop at Panhandle in February of 2012. They also want to put on a play where kids from other clubs are included and have a show in the fall of 2012.

What are your dreams for your group? I’d like to become a 4-H technical sound and lighting stage crew. I’d like to see a full y integrated 4-H performing arts program in the schools to keep 4-H alive in Pierce and King counties. I’d love to have the continuous support from our local government to help continue the WSU extension programs and ensure they are available to our youths. 4-H would not exist without the funding from our local government. As our by-laws state, we need the funding from local county government to exist.

So this is Tani Adams. She is the kind of person you’d want for a friend yourself or for your child.

Remember the name; 4-H Fusion. We’ll be seeing more of them in the community arts scene, I’m sure.

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