The 2013 Montgomery County 4-H Fair has been wrapped up and the cream-of-the-crop project entries have been returned from the Indiana State Fair.  As always, Montgomery County 4-H'ers have proven to do very well on the state level, including several projects receiving special merits.

Many of the fair-goers this year were not involved in the 4-H program.  As they browsed through the exhibit buildings and barns, parents and their children alike became interested in the things they were observing.

Leaders, 4-Hers and Extension Staff answered many questions about 4-H for those attending the fair.  They were asked to explain what 4-H is and who can join.  They were also asked how much 4-H costs and how to become a member.  Those asking the questions found that everyone involved with 4-H was very willing to promote the program.

4-H is a "learn-by-doing" educational program, which provides youth with an opportunity to learn new skills outside the classroom.  Most of this informal education comes through participation in project areas selected by the youth.

There are 60 different projects available in Montgomery Coounty, ranging from hobbies, such as Collectibles, to career choices, such as Veterinary Science.  Other projects teach traditional skills, such as cooking, sewing, electricity and woodworking.  Animal projects range from livestock to cats, dogs and hamsters. Oh, and even llamas!  Besides gaining knowledge in these project areas, 4-Hers have the opportunity to gain leadership skills, win trips, awards and scholarships, and to make many new friends.

4-H is for all youth in grades 3 through 12 at the time of enrollment in February.  Mini 4-H is offered in Montgomery Co. for those who are in the 2nd grade.  Clover Buds is a special program for those younger than the second grade.  It is true that in the past most 4-Hers were from farm backgrounds.  However, as the farm population has declined, 4-H has shifted its emphasis to more modern projects that fit the interest of youth residing in cities, suburbs and small towns, as well as rural areas.

There is a $15 fee for becoming a 4-H member.  Project materials will be bought by the member to complete the project.  The projects are not judged by how much money has been put into them, rather they are judged by the creativeness and neatness of the project.

For those who are interested in becoming a 4-H member or learning more about the program, contact the Montgomery Co. Extension Office at 364-6363.  The 2014 enrollment deadline will be Feb. 17.  Students in the elementary schools will be receiving enrollment information at school during the month of January.  Even though that seems to be a long time from now, it will be here before you know it!