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4-H looking for new members

Ohio celebrating 150th birthday of its founder

When most people think about 4-H, they think of kids showing their livestock at the Lawrence County Fair in July.

Rachael Fraley is the Ohio State University Extension educator and 4-H youth development educator for Lawrence County.

She said that there is so much more to 4-H than raising animals. 4-H is a program that helps kids ages 5-18 develop life skills and values through hands on projects and involvement in the community and civic involvement.

“We have over 500 projects that people can choose from,” she said. “So, if you are interested in it, there is probably a project for you. There is sewing and family and health type things. We have a whole range of STEM projects, so if you are interested in robotics or engineering or electricity. We have nature projects like nature gardening, insects, and Ohio birds. There are tons of projects.”

The projects can be entered at the fair and some of the winners can compete against other Ohio 4-H members on the state level.

There are 33 4-H in Lawrence County.

Fraley said there are many benefits to being in 4-H.

“They do community service. We hope they learn a mastery of a new skill,” Fraley said, adding that 4-H focuses on central elements of belonging, independence, generosity and mastery. “We want them to be involved in a club where they can grow and learn new things, learn leadership, and we want them to learn new life skills.”

Last year, there were 610 4-H members in Lawrence County and Fraley expects there to be a similar number this year.

“Enrollment is happening right now, the deadline is March 15,” she said. “And we are hoping to have that many, if not more. We try to grow every year.”

4-H has a camp for members in June at Canter’s Cave in Jackson.

“You don’t even have to be a 4-H member to go,” Fraley said. “We had about 70 kids from Lawrence County go last year. There is a STEM camp. There is a Cloverbud camp for kids ages 5-8, they can go overnight with a parent. There is a junior high camp and a teen camp.”

March 13 marks the 150 birthday of A.B. Graham, the Ohioan who founded a youth group that would eventually become 4-H. In 1902, Graham formed “The Tomato Club” or “Corn Growing Club” in Clark County to teach young people new agriculture techniques.

Anyone who would like to join a 4-H club can contact Fraley at 740-533-4322 or enroll online at oh.4honline.com.