Pike County, Ohio — As part of the nation’s largest youth development and youth mentoring organization, Ohio 4-H is known for its excellence in providing hands-on learning activities. Recognizing the program’s value to our youth, the Pike County Commissioners recently met and declared the week of March 7, 2021 “Pike County 4-H Week.”

“We celebrate Ohio 4-H Week at this time of year because it’s a time when many youths sign up for 4-H membership,” said Tammy Jones, Ohio State University Extension educator. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

With 6 million participants nationwide, in 2020 more than 200,000 young Ohioans participated in traditional 4-H clubs, camps and school enrichment programs, and in other Extension youth groups and educational activities, and nearly 18,000 Ohioans volunteered with Ohio 4-H. In Pike County, over 800 youth and 95 volunteers enrolled in the program in March of 2020, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

While 4-H families experienced pandemic challenges like the rest of the county, Pike County 4-H youth and volunteers were committed to seeing the program year through to completion. With COVID-19 safety protocols in place to protect all participants, the 4-H program in Pike County met that goal with project judging for non-livestock youth early in July and livestock judging during the fair.

Membership in the 4-H club program is open to youths who are at least age 8 as of January 1 and in the third grade until December 31 of the year they reach age 19. The youngest members are “Cloverbuds,” a non-competitive program for youths who are age 5 or older and in kindergarten until they reach age 8 and in third grade.

The core benefits of 4-H rest in the hands-on learning experiences it offers, as well as in the teamwork, leadership and community service 4-H youths engage in. In addition to traditional club activities, Ohio 4-H offers camps, after-school programs, school enrichment programs, and special STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities.

The 4-H motto is “to make the best better,” and refers to each member. It means that each member will do the “best” that he/she possibly can in whatever is attempted. The member will then strive to improve the next time so his or her initial “Best” becomes “Better”. The 4-H motto encourages members to stretch their abilities and capacities to reach greater achievement within their own potential.

To be a 4-H member, a youth must join a community club, select a project (or projects) to complete, attend a minimum of 5 club meetings, and participate in judging. To become involved or to learn more about 4-H, contact the Pike County office of OSU Extension at 740-289-4837. Enrollment deadline is March 15.

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