Rachael Fraley: 4-H is an Ohio tradition and offers many benefits to youth

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Did you know Ohio is considered the birthplace of 4-H?

In 1902, A.B. Graham started 4-H in Clark County and, since then, 4-H has grown to reach over 240,000 youth yearly in Ohio.

Here in Lawrence County, over 650 youth enroll annually into one of the 30 community clubs, led by over 120 4-H volunteers. Clubs meet at different locations throughout the county.

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Community Clubs focus on creating a safe and inclusive environment for all youth, provide opportunity for mastery of a new skill through 4-H projects, community service engagement and allowing youth to thrive as independent, productive citizens.

A highlight of the year is to participate and showcase their club involvement and 4-H project completion at the Lawrence County Fair.

4-H enrollment is open at all times, but to ensure 4-H members have the opportunity to meet their club meeting and project requirements, the enrollment deadline to exhibit at this year’s county fair is March 15.

What is 4-H?
4-H is the largest non-formal youth educational organization in the United States. All 4-H programs focus on active involvement and experiences which stimulate lifelong learning values and skills. 4-H members learn valuable lessons in leadership, communication and collaboration while increasing their knowledge in math, science, technology and a variety of other topics.

Who can participate?
Lawrence County 4-H membership is based on a child’s age AND school grade as of Jan. 1 of the current year. Lawrence County membership is open to any county resident youth. Youth who are 5 years of age AND enrolled in kindergarten are eligible for Cloverbud participation (noncompetitive events).

Eligibility for participation in 4-H projects and competitive events begins when a child is age 8 AND in the third grade, OR age 9 in any grade. A youth’s membership eligibility ends Dec. 31 of the year they turn 19.

Project Opportunities:
4-H Project opportunities are endless… if you can think it, there is a project for it! Samples include scrapbooking, insects, horses, shooting sports, bicycling, photography, sewing, cooking, engines, fishing, rockets, gardening, market animals, etc.

For a complete list of available projects visit the Family Guide located online at ohio4h.org/familyguide and hard copies available at our county Extension Office located in the courthouse at 111 S. 4th St., Ironton, OH.

Youth who participate in 4-H are five times more likely to graduate college, four times more likely to give back to their communities, two times more likely to make healthier choices, and two more likely to participate in STEM activities.

To enroll into Lawrence County 4-H or for more information on finding a 4-H club for you, please contact the OSU Extension, Lawrence County office at 740-533-4322 or visit https://lawrence.osu.edu.

Rachael Fraley is the OSU Extension Educator for Lawrence County. She can be reached at Fraley.171@osu.edu.