October 28, 2016 - 1:19pm -- rowe.316@osu.edu

Without adult volunteers, Adams County would have no 4-H clubs, no Junior Fair events and exhibits, and no OSU Extension-backed, positive youth development program working to help local youth develop into competent, caring, and committed adults.

Throughout 2016, more than 150 adults from throughout Adams County helped nearly 700 young people learn and grow as members of local community 4-H clubs. Additional adults are needed to help increase the program’s capacity to reach even more youth in 2017. Volunteers share their time, career, and hobby interests with youth, mentoring them at meetings and in completing their project work.

Currently, there are 29 community-based 4-H clubs in Adams County, as well as a Junior Leaders Club for youth in 7th-12th grades. New advisors may elect to help with one of these existing clubs, or they may start a new 4-H club in their own neighborhood or one that offers special interest projects, such as dog care and obedience, to members throughout the county. Clubs are required to have at least five members from a minimum of three different families. Club advisors and club names must be approved by Extension professionals, and the head advisor must comply with IRS and other financial and reporting requirements.

The program’s most immediate need is for volunteers from the Manchester and West Union areas willing to start new clubs. Existing clubs in those communities are bursting at the seams with interested members, and several have reached capacity. The 4-H program never wants to deny a youth the opportunity to join, and it’s important that new opportunities, in the form of new clubs, be created. While a single screened, approved, and oriented adult volunteer may start a new club, most often a team of several such adults work together to do so, maximizing programming and project opportunities for members.

New volunteers are welcomed into the 4-H program at any time throughout the year, and each must complete a screening and orientation process before being approved as a 4-H club advisor. This process takes time, and prospective volunteers are encouraged to apply by December 31 in order to complete the process in time to be fully engaged with youth for the 2017 program year. Adults seeking to start a new club are urged to begin the process early, so that they’re approved and oriented in time to hold one or more club meetings prior to the February 15 4-H enrollment deadline.

To become a 4-H volunteer, bringing 4-H programming to youth in your neighborhood, contact OSU Extension Adams County at 937-544-2339 or visit the website at adams.osu.edu for additional information or to download the volunteer application.

4-H is the positive youth development program of The Ohio State University and is open to all youth ages 5 and in kindergarten through age 18, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability.