Today is the deadline to sign up for 4-H for the upcoming year. It’s a youth enrichment program for youngsters in grade school through high school. The traditional 4-H program starts in 3rd grade and goes until a member is in 12th grade or 10 years. Younger children can take part in “Exploring 4-H.” It’s open to youth in kindergarten through 2nd grade. 4-H is open to all rural and urban youth who fall into the program’s age parameters. Exploring 4-H members are limited to one project per year, but traditional 4-H members can take as many projects as they are comfortable juggling. Starke County Extension Director and 4-H Youth Development Educator Elisabeth Smith says the program offers something for everyone.
“We have those traditional agriculture-based things, such as crops and livestock, but we also have things for kids who are maybe more artsy, and they want to take a craft project or gift wrapping or Christmas ornament. Or we have something for our kids who like to build, so we have models and rockets. We have architectural models, which they often use K’nex or Legos. We also have things for kids who are outdoorsy. Maybe they like wildlife or shooting sports,” Smith says.
She adds projects like electricity have leaders to assist, while others are more of an independent study. Members get a project manual and are required to complete an exhibit. Requirements vary, but all exhibits are displayed at the fair.
The Starke County 4-H Fair takes place every July in Hamlet. Smith says hands-on time during fair week varies based on the type of project a member takes. Find more information about 4-H, including an online enrollment form on the Purdue Extension Starke County website https://www.four-h.purdue.edu/enroll/. You can also stop by the office, which is located on the first floor of the Starke County Courthouse.