Endless possibilities in 4-H

By Lydia Ulry - 4-H Youth Development Educator

4-H has been built around the idea of “To Make the Best Better.” It is a fundamental concept that our youth, volunteers and anyone who has been touched by 4-H understands. Being a member of 4-H allows you to try new things, step out of your comfort zone, and develop life skills that help the next generation to make an impact on their club, their community, their county and hopefully the world.

Last week’s articles gave some insight into 4-H’s humble beginnings and what it currently looks like within Ohio. From its inception in 1902, the ideals of 4-H have not changed, but the projects, experiences and opportunities available to our youth might look slightly different. Currently, Ohio 4-H offers approximately 570 projects and if youth do not find something to fit their needs or interest in this group, there’s also the option to take a self-determined project. Projects are to help youth learn by doing. 4-H uses learning by doing to aid youth in achieving their goals through school programs, day camps, overnight camps, clubs and other learning environments. Experiential learning takes place anywhere and happens when our youth experience, share, process, generalize and apply particular practice, idea or pieces of information.

In 2018 Fayette County enrolled 687 members and 104 volunteers. Of those youth enrolled, 140 of them attended “Game On at 4-H Camp” with 15 Cloverbud day campers. Our youth took a wide range of projects: 681 animal projects, 10 biological science projects, 18 art projects, 55 family consumer science projects, 21 environment science projects, 72 nutrition projects and 24 shooting sports projects. The opportunities available to our youth are endless. We are only limited by their imaginations as many people know, a child’s mind really has no limits.

“4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills as they work in partnership with caring adults. What does that mean? In 4-H we are committed to helping young people develop skills that will help them succeed. We want to empower all youth to reach their full potential” (Ohio 4-H).

4-H youth impact those they interact with because of the experiences, people and opportunities they have encountered. “4-H gives children and teens opportunities to learn life skills, to practice them, and become confident in their ability to use them in the future. 4-H teaches young people how to meet their needs for belonging, mastery, independence and generosity in positive ways” (Ohio 4-H). Our youth are the next generation of agriculturalist; scientist; educators; discoverers; inventors. This list is endless because the possibilities are endless. 4-H youth might have started in the program to have fun and go to the fair, but once their time in 4-H has passed, hopefully, they look back as I do and many other alumni and see what all they have gained from their experiences.

If you have questions or are interested in learning more at 4-H in Fayette County, please stop in, visit our website (fayette.osu.edu), call (740-335-1150) or email myself at ulry.9@osu.edu.

By Lydia Ulry

4-H Youth Development Educator