4-H is more than cows, cooking and clothing

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On March 3, the Madison County commissioners signed a proclamation declaring March 8-14 as 4-H Week in Madison County: (from left) Commissioner Tony Xenikis; Frances Nicol, 4-H educator; Commissioner Mark Forrest; Arlene Duffey, OSU Extension Office associate; BreAnn McFarland, Madison County 4-H intern; and Commissioner David Hunter.

(Posted March 6, 2020)

By Frances Nicol, 4-H Extension educator

Cows, cooking and clothing. These are the projects that often get associated with 4-H. While 4-H does offer these opportunities, there is so much more available to our youth.

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, cats, dogs, trees, woodworking, nutrition, creative arts, scrapbooking, cake decorating and more. Ohio 4-H has more than 200 projects to pique a child’s interest.

4-H members start out by joining a club. Madison County has more than 30 community clubs from which to choose, scattered throughout the county in London, West Jefferson, Plain City and Mount Sterling.

All adult club advisors go through training and a background check. Their job is to help youths grow into responsible, skilled adults by assisting them with their project work and providing opportunities to learn and engage with their peers.

Clubs offer 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 project, such as collecting donations or donating time to fixing up an area park or the fairgrounds.

Once a member joins a club, they can choose their projects. Members can review and purchase 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 family members.

Anyone interested in taking a project to this year’s Madison County Fair as a 4-H member must register by March 15. The types of eligible projects are nearly endless.

As a member, you can participate in many other county, state and national opportunities. Madison County hosts a county wide 4-H camp, demonstration contests, judging opportunities and clinics.

At the state level, your child can participate in state-wide camps related to forestry, shooting sports, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and even a sea camp. The options are literally endless for what your can do in 4-H; every child paves their own path through 4-H.

Madison County’s deadline to join 4-H is March 15 to be eligible to participate in the Madison County Junior Fair. To enroll in a 4-H project and competitive events, a child must be 8 years old and in the 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 Madison County OSU Extension Office at (740) 852-0975 to obtain a list of clubs available in Madison County. Or visit madison.osu.edu or check out “Madison County Extension OSU” on Facebook.

Contact Frances Nicol, Extension educator for 4-H youth development, with any questions at 852-0975 or by email at nicol.115@osu.edu.

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