(Posted Feb. 28, 2019)
By Arlene Duffey, Madison County OSU Extension Office Associate
4-H is the ultimate youth development experience and is whatever you make of it. Through trips, activities, projects, leadership roles, working in teams and new levels of responsibility, youths learn the skills necessary to be successful in an everchanging world.
Eligibility for Cloverbud participation begins when a child is 5 years old and enrolled in kindergarten. Eligibility for participation in 4-H projects and competitive events begins when a child is 8 years old and in third grade. Any child who is 9 or older is eligible for project membership, regardless of grade level and can continue through age 19.
The 4-H enrollment deadline to be eligible to exhibit at the Madison County Fair is March 15. The county activity fee is $15. 4-H Clubs can charge minimal dues.
Madison County is home to 33 4-H clubs from which potential members can choose. They are located in the London, West Jefferson, Plain City, and Mount Sterling areas. Most clubs have a set day of the week they hold meetings.
Clubs must be comprised of at least five youths from three different families. Madison County’s clubs range in size from 10 members to over 50 members. They meet at least six times a year, with advisors providing experiential learning experiences each time.
4-H members participate in community projects within their clubs. Some clubs collect pop cans and newspapers. Some hold carwashes and other similar fundraisers then donate the proceeds to charitable causes like the Humane Society of Madison County or the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. Other clubs volunteer their time to perform tasks like sprucing up the fairgrounds, community parks and nursing homes.
4-H members give demonstrations at their club meetings. Topics range from fair projects to hobbies. Members also can put their hats in the ring for club offices. The possibilities include president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, news reporter, health reporter, historian, safety officer, recreation officer, and community service office.
When it comes to projects, the 4-H program has over 200 from which to choose. A small sampling includes livestock, small animals, equine, sewing, cooking, photography, woodworking, creative writing, quilting, collectibles, gun safety, natural resources, bottle rockets, veterinary science, skateboarding and bicycles. An easy way for to preview Ohio 4-H project books and resources is to visit 4-H Project Central at projectcentral.oho4h.org/.
4-H members work out of their project books to prepare themselves for one-on-one interview judging and displaying their projects at the county fair. This year’s fair is set for July 6-13.
So, what is 4-H? Friends, fun, family, adventure, learning and participating in new things!
Interested? Call the OSU Extension office, Madison County, at (740) 852-0975, visit madison.osu.edu or look for “Madison County Extension OSU” on Facebook. The office is located at 217 Elm St., London, just outside the Madison County Fairgrounds.