Enroll now for 4-H

By Melinda Ryan

Want to be a part of the Champaign County Fair and 4-H? Join over 1,200 current members. 4-H clubs are now forming and taking new members. Final enrollment deadline is March 1.

What is 4-H? 4-H is an extra –curricular activity for youth with the opportunity to explore different areas of interest while having hands-on learning fun that may lead to careers in adulthood. 4-H offers over 300 projects in which members can choose to complete. Through project completion, youth gain knowledge of a specific area of interest. Over time, youth can achieve mastery in that area and win state awards and trips. In addition, youth learn life-skills of time management, responsibility, sportsmanship, community service learning, and other work-force prep skills.

4-H promotes 8 essential key elements during the 4-H Experience. Our 4-H volunteers work with youth to accomplish a full youth development experience during a member’s 4-H career.

Concept Belonging

1. A positive relationship with a caring adult. A caring adult acts as an advisor, guide, and mentor. The adult helps set boundaries and expectations for members of the club. The adult is could be called the supporter, role model, friend or advocate.

2. An inclusive environment. An inclusive environment is one that creates a sense of belonging, and encourages and supports its members with positive and specific feedback. Healthy groups celebrate the success of all members, taking pride in the collective efforts of all participants.

3. A safe emotional and physical environment. Youth should not fear physical or emotional harm while participating in a 4-H experience, whether from the learning environment itself or from adults, other participant or spectators.

Concept Mastery

4. Opportunity for mastery. Mastery is the building of knowledge, skills, and attitudes and the demonstration of the competent use of this knowledge and skill by a proficient practitioner. The level of mastery is dependent on the developmental ability of the individual or youth. The development of mastery is a process over time.

5. Engagement in learning. An engaged youth is one who is mindful of the subject area, building relationships and connections in order to develop understanding. Through self-reflection, youth have the ability to self-correct and learn from experience. The engaged learner has a higher degree of self-motivation and in inexhaustible capacity for creativity.

Concept Independence

6. Opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future. The ability to see oneself in the future is to have hope and optimism to shape life choices, which facilitates the transition into participating in the future.

7. Opportunity for self-determination. Believing that you have impact on life’s events rather than passively submitting to the will and whims of others is self-determination. Youth must develop a sense of influence over their lives, exercising their potential to become self-directing, autonomous adults.

Concept Generosity

8. Opportunity to value and practice service to others. Finding yourself begins with losing yourself in the service of others. Service is a way for members to gain exposure to the larger community and indeed the world itself.

Who can join 4-H? Any Champaign County resident age 5 yrs old and in Kindergarten and have not reached age 19 as of January 1, 2019. If a youth is a member of a school district in Champaign County, they are eligible to join the county program.

Who can join?

How can youth join? Currently, there are 83 4-H clubs in Champaign County. If you know of a club and an advisor of that club, you can contact them directly. If you are not familiar with a club, contact the OSU Extension Office at 937-484-1526. You will be asked, “What type of project are you interested in taking” and “What part of the county do you live”? An Extension Professional will then give you names of clubs in your area that matches your child’s interest and a club near you so you don’t have to travel far for meetings.

How much does it cost? There is a $20 yearly membership fee plus the cost of a project book and the cost of the project.

Benefits of joining 4-H: Participate in the Champaign County Fair. Have fun with friends and meet new friends from around the county, state, nationally, and internationally. Learn life-skills. Learn work-force prep skills. Members can master skills in an interest area for them.

Please join us in 2019 as a member in Champaign County 4-H.

By Melinda Ryan

Melinda Morrison Ryan is 4-H Extension Educator, Champaign County Extension Office.

Melinda Morrison Ryan is 4-H Extension Educator, Champaign County Extension Office.