(Posted March 10, 2021)
By Frances Foos, 4-H Extension Educator for Madison County
“You can be anyone you want to be when you grow up!” This is the phrase we often tell our children. We want them to know they can reach for the stars., but what do we do to show them they can do anything?
In 4-H, we call this “finding your spark.” 4-H members enroll in projects that help them find and nurture this spark–their passion, interests, talents and what eventually can lead to their career, enjoyment, and belonging in the community. 4-H allows youth to try something new and gain exposure to something they otherwise may have never had the chance to explore.
Want to learn about rocketry? There’s a project for that. Interested in shooting sports or exploring the outdoors? We have several projects related to those topics. 4-H projects include livestock, rockets, cats, dogs, shooting sports, trees, woodworking, nutrition, creative arts, scrapbooking, cake decorating, and more. Ohio 4-H offers more than 200 projects that can pique your child’s interest and help them find their spark.
So, how do you get started? 4-H members start by joining a club. Madison County 4-H is home to more than 30 community clubs scattered throughout the county in London, West Jefferson, Plain City and Mount Sterling. Adult advisors who are trained and background checked help youths to grow into responsible, skilled adults, assisting them with project work and providing opportunities to learn and engage with their peers.
Clubs hold at least six regular meetings throughout the year in addition to other experiential learning experiences. At club meetings, members discuss business while including time for education and recreation. Every club contributes to the community with a service project, such as collecting donations or donating time to fixing up the fairgrounds or an area park.
Once a member joins a club, they can choose their projects. Members can review and purchase project books at the Madison County Extension Office. Another way to easily preview the project books and resources is to visit projectcentral.ohio4h.org. You can preview the book pages and read reviews on projects from other 4-H members and their family members.
Members can participate in many county, state and national opportunities. Madison County hosts a county-wide 4-H camp, demonstration contests, judging opportunities and clinics. At the state level, 4-Hers can participate in camps related to forestry, shooting sports, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). There’s even a sea camp. The options are endless for what your can do in 4-H; every child paves their own path through 4-H.
Ready for your spark? Madison County’s deadline to join 4-H is March 15 to be eligible to participate in this year’s Madison County Junior Fair, or March 30 for new members. To enroll in a 4-H project and competitive events, a child must be 8 years old and in third grade or 9 years old through the age of 19 as of Jan. 1 of the current year. Any child that is age 5 and in kindergarten through second grade can enroll as a Cloverbud.
Contact the OSU Extension Office, Madison County, at (740) 852-0975 to obtain a list of clubs available in Madison County. Visit Madison.osu.edu or “Madison County Extension OSU” on Facebook for additional information.
Contact Frances Nicol, Extension educator for 4-H youth development, with any questions at (740) 852-0975 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joining Ohio 4-H is a privilege and responsibility for individuals and is subject to the Ohio 4-H Code of Conduct and applicable policies of The Ohio State University.