It's 4-H time again in Montgomery County!  Next week, I will be visiting each of the elementary schools to tell the students about the 4-H program and how to enroll in it. Since 4-H is definitely a "family affair," it is also important to tell parents about 4-H and what it can offer to your family. 

4-H is a program for all youth in the 3rd through 12th grades. Mini 4-H is for 2nd graders.  For children age 4-1st grade, we have the introductory "Clover Buds" program.  There are over 60 different projects, including animals, hobbies, and potential career areas, from which to choose. Every project is fun and teaches skills members will use for a lifetime. However, projects are only a small portion of what 4-H has to offer.

4-H members belong to clubs. They learn leadership skills as they work together with other club members to plan activities. 4-H Camp offers the opportunity to meet new friends from several surrounding counties, as well as fun and educational outdoor activities. Workshops offer 4-Hers the chance to learn more about their projects and how to better their skills. Trips to Purdue and Washington, D.C., allow 4-Hers to experience travel and to learn more about their interests and their future.  The 4-H Fair allows 4-Hers to show their talents and be rewarded for their hard work. Most importantly to some parents, all of these experiences can culminate into 4-H Scholarships to college. 

As we embrace character education through Character Counts! in Montgomery County, 4-H has much to offer. 4-Hers and their parents need to keep the six pillars of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship in mind as projects are chosen and completed. In 4-H, character lessons are hands on and life long.

I my own opinion, having been a 10 year 4-H member myself here in Montgomery County, the life skills I learned through 4-H were most important. I learned to cook, garden, cross-stitch, take pictures, and arrange flowers through 4-H and I still use those skills today. I also met new friends and learned new skills as I attended camp, Purdue workshops, and the Washington Citizenship Program.   And, I did win one of those 4-H scholarships and my chosen career was obviously influenced by my 4-H experiences.

The 4-H enrollment deadline is February 15.  Youth may join 4-H by returning an enrollment card, enrolling online at or turning a card in to a 4-H leader. You may also wish to attend the 4-H Expo on Wednesday, Feb. 6 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the 4-H Building.  A chili supper and open house will be offered for you and your child to learn more about the projects and volunteers involved in the 4-H program. Enrollment cards will also be taken at this event.  Also, note that there is a $15 enrollment fee for each youth in grades 3-12 (up to three per family).  If you need assistance with the fee, please let us know.

If you have further questions regarding the program, please contact the Extension Office at 364-6363. We will be happy to answer your questions.

Sherry Legg Young is the 4-H Development extension educator at Purdue University Montgomery County.