Hamilton County 4-H is open for enrollment.
And while the 4-H Fair is too far ahead to think about, I’m hoping that the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) pandemic will be far behind us by the time that the 2021 Hamilton County 4-H Fair rolls around next July.
4-H is such a great program for youth. When I was young, I was a 4-H’er in Henry County, Ind., for nine years, and completed dozens of projects that kept me busy every spring and summer, from traditional Foods and Clothing projects to Bowling and Macramé crafts.
Now, my daughter is a 4-H’er who started out in Mini 4-H with fun projects, such as Mini Horse & Pony and Clogging. Once she was old enough for regular 4-H, she tried Basic Crafts, Photography, Bicycle, Archery, Foods, Health, Veterinary Science, Cake Decorating and more. Photography is a project she has stuck with every year. And Dog Obedience is another 4-H project that she enjoys with her Golden Retriever Rocky.
She has held various offices in her own 4-H Club, from health and safety chairperson to club president, and has participated in an array of activities, from caroling at local nursing homes to volunteering to make snow cones and Muddy Chicken chocolate pudding desserts for her Mudsockers 4-H Club 4-H Fair booth.
The 4-H program inspires youth to do through all kinds of opportunities.
I remember the 4-H pledge that I memorized more than 40 years ago. “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.” Today’s 4-H’ers say the pledge at club meetings just as I did.
My daughter’s 4-H club hasn’t conducted any meetings since last winter. But recently, we’ve been receiving some positive news that a few more events are on the 4-H calendar.
Hamilton County Junior Leaders are busy selling poinsettias again this year for $9 per plant. They’re taking orders through Friday, with a Dec. 2 delivery to the 4-H Fairgrounds in Noblesville.
Purdue Extension is looking for volunteers interested in leading the Mini 4-H Club for the upcoming year, and 4-H leaders for Child Development, Health and Weather projects.
A Holiday Gifts Spark Club will meet 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Fairgrounds, with participants in Grades 3-6, with advance reservations due by Dec. 3, to make holiday gifts, with a virtual option available.
For those 4-H’ers who want to show off their green and white colors, a 4-H virtual pop-up shop is now online through Nov. 20.
Many events through Purdue Extension this year have also gone virtual, including the annual sewing and quilting seminar.
Hopefully, as 2021 arrives, 4-H’ers will have more activities to put in their calendars that already include: 4-H Camp Shakamak, June 9-11; Exploring 4-H Day Camp, June 15-16; and the Hamilton County 4-H Fair, July 15-19.
In 2020, it was a time of learning new ways of doing things, due to the pandemic. Hamilton County 4-H included educational programming for more than 60 subject matter areas for 1,595 youth. 4-H volunteers created Zoom meetings, social media platforms, videos, and social distanced in-person meetings to share their knowledge on projects. A virtual Camp Shakamak was launched as was a virtual Exploring 4-H Day Camp with daily Zoom calls with camp counselors. And the Hamilton County 4-H Fair Exhibit included a safety plan for judging of 3,400 4-H projects. It was the first time in Hamilton County 4-H history for virtual submissions and virtual judging.
To register for 4-H online, visit https://v2.4honline.com/. Questions may be directed to Extension Educator Kathleen Bohde at 317-776-0854.

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.