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 26 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:

4-H Club Directory


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 $8-$10 each.

Project Areas

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

1. Check out the Ohio 4-H Family Guide and 4-H Project Central to determine which projects are of interest to you. There are hundreds to choose from!  

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 inform you about participatio/attendance requirements, club dues, meeting schedule, club expectations, and any other questions you may have. New members must be enrolled by May 1 to exhibit at that same year’s fair (deadline extensions permitted on a case-by-case basis).

4. Complete the 4-H Online enrollment process by visiting https://www.4honline.com/#/user/sign-in. If you have any questions, please contact our office (937-498-7239) for guidance!

You can also visit the Shelby County Extension office at 810 Fair Road Sidney, OH 45365 and our office staff will help you find a club local to your home or school that is accepting members in your chosen project area.

4-H Online Enrollment - Steps to Enroll/Re-Enroll:

New Members/Families: Click here for instructions.

4-HOnline for Club Advisors Guide to Re-Enrollment: Click here for instructions.

4-H Cross County Enrollment

4-H Membership Across County Lines POLICY

Youth are expected to affiliate with the 4-H program in their county of residence. However, in some circumstances, it is appropriate for a youth to participate in a county other than their county of residence. This can be done with the approval of the 4-H professionals in both the county of residence and the county of request. Once granted, the permission for membership across county lines shall be permanent and stable for the duration of the youth’s 4-H membership. If the youth’s circumstances change (e.g., residence, school, or custody), the cross-county lines membership can be reevaluated. This privilege is extended only to those youth who maintain membership in good standing.

Click here for more information and Cross County Form.