October is almost here which brings cooler weather, fun fall activities, and pumpkin everything. The change in calendar to the month of October also signals a new 4-H program year. Beginning Oct. 1, 4-H enrollment for the 2021-22 year starts. This is an exciting time to gain new members, to watch our Mini 4-H members from last year move to “regular” 4-H this year, and see new program ideas come to life!
The Montgomery County 4-H program currently offers Mini 4-H for youth who are currently in grades Kindergarten-2nd grade. Mini 4-H is free and is a great avenue for youth to experience an introduction into the 4-H program, including their own set of projects and attend local club meetings. Our regular 4-H program is for youth currently in grades 3-12, with a cost of just $15/child (with a cap of $45). We offer over 50 different projects for our regular 4-H members and hope that youth find a topic (or topics) that they are passionate about. Once enrolled, youth get the opportunity to learn about other educational programs that occur on the local, state, and national level offered through the 4-H program. Towards the end of their 4-H career, youth have various 4-H scholarship opportunities that they can apply for to continue their education.
Becoming involved in the 4-H program has multiple benefits to youth in the community, as compared to their peers who do not enroll in 4-H. In 2013, a Tufts University study showed that 4-H members excel in positive youth development areas compared to peers, including:
• Four times more likely to contribute to their communities (grades 7-12)
• Two times more likely to make healthier choices (grade 7)
• Two times more likely to be civically active (grades 8-12)
• Two times more likely to participate in extracurricular STEM programs (grades 10-12)
Need another reason to celebrate in the month of October? Oct. 3-9 is also when we celebrate National 4-H Week. During this time millions of youth, parents, volunteers and alumni across the country will be celebrating everything 4-H. The theme of this year’s National 4-H Week, Find Your Spark, highlights the remarkable 4-H youth in our communities and showcases the incredible experiences that 4-H offers young people.
Help us celebrate National 4-H Week and promote 4-H enrollment by visiting our Facebook page, Montgomery County 4-H, and sharing all of the opportunities and promotional materials posted. Have questions about joining 4-H, how to enroll, or just general questions about what your child can expect? I would love to talk with you and help get these questions answered. Feel free to call 765-364-6363, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the Extension office. I am always happy to share how amazing the 4-H program is and how it benefits the youth in our community.
Abby Morgan is the Montgomery County Extension Education, 4-H Youth Development Educator. The office is at 400 Parke Ave., Crawfordsville; 765-364-6363. She may be reached by email at email@example.com.