Statewide celebration of 4-H observed

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 6, 2001

The governor of Ohio has a message for all residents this week: Celebrate Ohio’s 4-H clubs.

Tuesday, March 06, 2001

The governor of Ohio has a message for all residents this week: Celebrate Ohio’s 4-H clubs.

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Gov. Bob Taft declared this week Ohio 4-H Week, calling the young people who belong to one of thousands of Ohio clubs the state’s greatest resource.

"The Ohio 4-H program provides a unique learning experience for more than 229,000 youths ," Taft wrote in a proclamation signed in January.

Laura Jane Murphy, OSU Extension 4-H agent for Lawrence County, agreed, echoing words of the governor.

Programs in 4-H, whether about farming or the dozens of non-farm activities, enables young people ages 5 to 19 to become self-directing, productive and contributing members of society, Ms. Murphy said.

Science, health, safety, natural resources, leadership, community service, communications, global learning – it’s all explored through 4-H projects and workshops, she said.

And that, in turn, increases young people’s self-esteem and problem-solving skills.

The many programs of 4-H are also fun, and involve people from all walks of life in just about every community, city and country, Ms. Murphy said.

"With its emphasis on the learn-by-doing approach, the 4-H program is really exciting for young people and it helps get them interested in many new subjects," said David Farrell, extension associate in communications with OSU.

"We’re really trying to get the word out about it."

More information about local 4-H clubs can be found at the extension office on the first floor of the Lawrence County Courthouse, or by calling the office at 533-4322.

Although today’s Lawrence County 4-H numbers reflect a drop in community club members – from a peak in 1968 of 1,090 to about 900 members now in almost 40 clubs with 168 advisers – the total numbers including school enrichment and special interest programs reach more than 1,880 youth, Ms. Murphy said. And, camping at the overnight camp program held at Canter’s Caves and Cloverbud Day Camp involved more than 130 youth.

Also, the program delivery has evolved from just community clubs to school enrichment and special interest clubs. Lawrence County has always been innovative in program delivery with in-school and afterschool programs in the 1970s and a pilot county for the Cloverbud program in the 1990s, she said.

The next 100 years of Ohio 4-H will include an expansion of afterschool programming, school enrichment, special interest groups and development of community clubs in non-rural areas of Lawrence County, Ms. Murphy added.

And, the 4-H Committee will begin distributing scholarships to county 4-H members from interest earned from the county endowment fund.

The 4-H members and volunteers of Lawrence County will continue the tradition of excellence of the Ohio 4-H program, she said.