Now's the time to sign up for 4-H in 2023

Now's the time to sign up for 4-H in 2023

My involvement in Wayne County 4-H from the time I was 9 through high school had a huge impact on my life and is a big part of why I went to college.

As we start 2023, I’m looking forward to sharing with you many of the great opportunities available to youth as members of 4-H and experiences for adults as volunteers of the 4-H program through this column.

What does 4-H offer?

With more than 200 project areas to choose from, youth can learn about animals, computers, cooking, leadership, photography, public speaking, robotics, sewing, shooting sports, woodworking and so much more. In addition to the projects, 4-H teaches life skills, creates lifelong friendships, and helps prepare youth to be capable, competent, caring and contributing citizens. And it’s a whole lot of fun along the way.

Is it just projects?

No, in addition to completing educational projects, 4-H offers summer camping experiences and the opportunity to exhibit and show projects and livestock at the Wayne County Fair and the Ohio State Fair. There are opportunities for older youth like the Junior Leaders Club, Junior Fair Board, serving as a camp counselor, and traveling to many conferences and events at the state and national level.

How old do you need to be?

In Wayne County youth who are age 5 and enrolled in kindergarten are eligible to join 4-H as a Cloverbud, and youth who are age 8 and enrolled in third grade as of Jan. 1 of the current year are eligible to join 4-H as a member. Membership ends Dec. 31 of the year in which the youth reaches age 19.

How do I volunteer?

Volunteers serve as club and project advisors and/or on special county-wide committees. There are around 45 4-H clubs spread throughout Wayne County serving more than 1,500 youth. 4-H in Ohio is a part of Ohio State University Extension, and as such, all extension volunteers are required to complete an application, interview and criminal background check process.

Now is the key time of the year for youth to join 4-H and for adults to become volunteers. For more information about how to join 4-H or to become a volunteer, call me at the extension office at 330-264-8722 and/or visit the website at wayne.osu.edu.

Doug Foxx is an extension educator of 4-H youth development with OSU Extension Wayne County. He can be called at 330-264-8722 or emailed at foxx.2@osu.edu.