This year has been like no other. A few short months ago, the program as our community and supporters knew it was turned upside down. Within these months the community has worked through a health crisis, school closures, teleworking, job loss, schedule changes, and the adjustment to virtual communications. The resilency of the 4-H program has been tremndous. The Columbiana County 4-H program has been able to continue “to make the best better” by offering youth virtual learning experiences and opportunities. 4-H program youth have been engaged in virtual meetings, project fair judging, workshops to help in writing buyers letters and thank you notes, the new 4-H Livestock/Non Livestock Project Completion opportunity and family community service projects. The numerous experiences and good works the youth are completing, even during this difficult time, are offering strong platforms for all to strive to become stronger leaders!
Many youth over the past year have grown through the “learn-by-doing” approach. Youth have shared their learning experiences, community service efforts and leadership activities through pictures, videos, stories and news articles. Still projects were showcased through an online vitrual award ceremony. Megan Chludzinski received the high honor of “The Kathy Burbick Award” for overall clothing or food project award. Megan’s project, “Sports Nutrition; Ready, Set Go!,” highlighted the connection between proper nutrition and exercise. Aidan Frye received the high honor of “The Donna Merrick Award” for overall non-livestock still project. Aidan’s project, “Insects Adventure 3,” helped him learn about a variety of insects, how to capture and mount them.
Along with the many changes to the program due to COVID-19, 4-H members also had to adjust to the Columbiana County Agricultural Society’s decision to hold a market only Junior Fair. With the limitations of the Junior Fair, OSU Extension offered all livestock/nonlivestock members the opportunity to showcase their efforts by participating in the new 4-H Livestock/Non Livestock Project Completion opportunity. Youth shared their projects through PowerPoint or other related platforms. Each presentation was judged by age and specie category by surrounding county OSU Educators. With support from the local Farm Credit Mid-America, youth were recognized as overall age category winners, species age category winners and participation honors.
Garrett Timmons took home the honor of the 1stYear Overall Winner by sharing his experiences and knowledge about raising his steer named Patrick. Garrett showed great pride in raising his steer from birth.
Carli Binkley-Bricker was chosen as the Beginner Overall Winner. Carli shared her love and dedication to her market hog project. Her project highlighted the daily care and attention required to raise a healthy animal.
The Intermediate Overall Winner was awarded to a six-year 4-H member, Karli Stacy. Karli’s project highlighted her desire to exhibit a market lamb project for the first time. As this was not a species common on her family farm, Karli worked extremely hard to understand the best management practices for her lamb.
Chloe Townsend was awarded the Advanced Overall Winner for her knowledge and dedication to the dairy industry. Chloe’s leadership within her club, vast educational knowledge about the dairy industry and the countless hours of hardwork on her family farm made her a leader in this category.
As the 4-H youth and volunteers also pledge their hands to larger service, throughout the year numerous families and clubs gave back to the community through service projects. The community has been blessed with food collections, numerous cards and cookie deliveries to first responders, cards of encouragement for members and families in need, community trash pick up days, and visits to nursing homes for outdoor animal visits.
As this year is coming to a close, planning for the new 4-H year is under way. The Ohio State Extension Office- Columbiana County is currently seeking new volunteers, members and clubs. Enrollment for all returning and new members will begin on Oct. 1. The county enrollment deadline is March 1, 2021. Audrey Dimmerling, 4-H Educator, is available for more information by calling 330-870-1165 or via email at [email protected]. 4-H has something for everyone with hundreds of projects to choose from, hands-on learning, leadership opportunities and a lifetime of memories.