Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Craig Aarsvold, 13, of Dodge Center, right, explains his refinished table to a judge on the far left during 4-H conference judging at the Minnesota State Fair Friday afternoon. There were other 4-H’ers from around the state listening in during the judging session. Aarsvold won a trip in the shop project and earned a red ribbon.

There’s no stopping this 4-H’er

Despite a physical disability, Craig Aarsvold carries on with life just like anyone else, and he’s using the 4-H program to prove it.

The Dodge Center teenager operates with only one arm as he was born without a right arm. He’s actually pretty handy when it comes to making things as he made a shop project in 4-H and won a trip for the first time to the Minnesota State Fair last week. 

With some help from his friends, Aarsvold refurbished a century-old table from the charter school in West Concord. He estimates it took him about 35 hours and about $150 to get the table in suitable shape to be displayed at the fair. 

Aarsvold, a member of the Ripley Believe It or Not 4-H Club, ran into some challenges along the way, however. He discovered the table had a stubborn lead-based paint. He had visions of restoring the table to its original form, but he couldn’t come up with a way to remove the paint. 

“Each time we sanded the table, the paint would go farther and farther into the wood,” said Aarsvold, adding he decided in the end to work around the paint and leave it.

Even though it didn’t turn out exactly the way he wanted, Aarsvold is pleased with the end result. He originally thought he was going to sell the table, but he changed his mind after winning the state fair trip at the Dodge County Fair. “I’m going to keep it now,” he said. “I’m happy with the outcome.”

He hasn’t quite decided yet where the table will go after returning from the state fair. Aarsvold eyes either putting it in his bedroom or a downstairs living room. As for its use, that’s easy for him.

“I want to use it to display some of my die-cast toys,” he said.

The table earned Aarsvold a red ribbon at the state fair. He said he didn’t finish with a higher rating because the judge felt the table needed to be sanded down more. But the red doesn’t matter to him.

He said, “It was a great experience to come to the state fair. I would recommend kids getting into 4-H to try and win a trip to the state fair.”

Aarsvold says he has developed an incredible amount of pride in his work through the 4-H program. He has been in 4-H for six years. 

As for his disability, Aarsvold doesn’t think twice about it. He said having one arm to use is normal for him because it’s the only way he’s ever known since he was born.

With lots of determination, Aarsvold is not about to let the physical disability get in his way of functioning in life. In the past, he has picked rocks and trimmed the hooves of horses. This fall he plans to milk cows. He said if there is something he can’t do, he simply takes an extra moment to figure out how to accomplish it. 

Said Aarsvold of having only one arm: “I never have any problems. I can probably do as much if not more than people with two hands. Ninety-nine percent of the time I figure out how to do things by myself.”

Dodge County Independent

Dodge County Independent
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Dodge County Printing
301 S. Mantorville Ave.
Plaza 57 • Suite 200
Kasson, MN 55944

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