What is 4-H?
In 4-H, we believe in the power of young people. We see that every child has valuable strengths and real influence to improve the world around us. We are America’s largest youth development organization—empowering nearly six million young people across the U.S. with the skills to lead for a lifetime.
4-H is a research-based experience that includes a mentor, a hands-on project, and a meaningful leadership opportunity. Based on the their interests and guided by adult mentors, youth develop their own pathway in 4-H. They select from a broad menu of local 4-H programs. There are hands-on, learn-by-doing, opportunities for everyone, from sewing and cooking to engineering and animal science.
Shelby County 4-H currently has 29 clubs. Clubs vary in size and project interest area (livestock, non-livestock, variety and specialty). Meeting times, locations and activities also vary by club; however, all are committed to youth development, leadership and making the best better.
Visit our club directory to learn more about the clubs in Shelby County. The directory provides basic information about each club, including when they meet, where they meet, what type of club they are, what their most popular project areas are, and who to contact in order to enroll:
Ohio 4-H membership is based on a child’s age and grade. There are two levels of eligibility for 4-H: Cloverbud and 4-H youth.
- Cloverbud – (5 to 8 years) – Eligibility begins when a child is enrolled in kindergarten and is five years old. Cloverbuds explore topics and complete projects, but do not compete for awards or premiums.
- 4-H Youth – (8 to 18 years) – Includes eligibility for competitive events, 4-H projects, and other 4-H youth activities. Begins when a child is eight years old and in the third grade as of January 1 of the current year. Ends December 31 the year the child turns 19 years old
In total and compared to other youth activities, 4-H is relatively inexpensive. The cost to join 4-H in Shelby County is $5 per family. Some clubs charge minimal dues to support the operations of the club ($5-$10 per youth). Others do fundraisers to sustain their activities. Additionally, project books cost $6-$10 each.
A common 4-H myth is that you have to live on a farm or raise livestock to be involved. That is NOT true. 4-H includes everything from A to Z. The project areas are truly endless. Below is a sampling of the projects we offer.
A project typically consists of a project or record book that is completed by the member. The book contains a series of hands-on activities in addition to learning curriculum that works to develop the youth’s knowledge in that project area. The member completes the project by attending county-level judging, where they display their project or exhibit in an effort to communicate what they have learned by participating in 4-H.
- Livestock & Animals: Beef, Dairy, Cats, Dogs, Hamsters/Gerbils, Horses, Goats, Guinea Pigs, Llamas/Alpacas, Poultry, Rabbits, Sheep, Swine, Other critters!
- Traditional Non-Livestock: Cake Decorating, Clothing & Fashion, Creative Arts, Creative Writing, Food & Nutrition, Photography, Scrapbooking, Sewing, Woodworking
- Special Interest: Animal Science, ATVs, Babysitting, Bicycling, Collectibles, Diversity, Electricity, Engineering, Engines & Tractors, Family History, Food Science, Gardening, Healthy Living, Interior Design, Leadership, Money Management, Natural Resources, Public Speaking, Rocketry, Physics, Self-Determined, Solar Energy, Shooting Sports, Sport Science, Theatre, Welding
To Get Started
2. Use our club directory to determine which club might be a good fit for your project choice, preferred meeting time/location and size.
3. Contact the club to ask about enrolling as a new member. The organizational leader will walk you through the processes of project enrollment and junior fair entry forms. Members must be enrolled by April 2 to exhibit at that same year’s fair (deadline extensions permitted on a case-by-case basis).
4. Fill out the New Member Enrollment Form and Code of Conduct and turn it in to the advisor of your selected club or the Shelby County Extension Office.
You can also visit the Shelby County Extension office just east of the Horse Arena on Fair Road in Sidney. Our office staff will help you find a club local to your home or school that is accepting members in your chosen project area.
ENROLLMENT DEADLINE TO SHOW AT THE JUNIOR FAIR: APRIL 2
4-HOnline Enrollment - Steps to Enroll/Re-Enroll:
New Members/Families: Click here for instructions.
4HOnline for Club Advisors Guides to Enrollment: