Laura Allen: How to get involved in 4-H

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 27, 2022

By Laura Allen
N.C. Cooperative Extension

I’ve recently had several emails from parents about how to get their children involved in 4-H. Let’s talk about the process and some of the upcoming opportunities available through Rowan County 4-H!

First of all, what is 4-H? 4-H is Cooperative Extension’s dynamic and educational program for youth. 4-H has about 6 million youth members across the country. The name 4-H is summarized as the four-fold development of youth through the Head, Heart, Hands and Health. In 4-H, young people complete hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and civic engagement, in a positive environment where they receive guidance from adult mentors, and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles. The group is open to youths between the ages of 5 and 18 (as of Jan. 1).

If your child meets the age requirements for 4-H, then go to v2.4honline.com to enroll them in 4-H. You will have to create a family profile and then you will add each child in your family as a member. You will be asked questions about emergency contact information, health information, and more so that we have all the information we need in case of an emergency. You will also have to pick a 4-H club to join and a project area that your child is interested in.

4-H in North Carolina runs on the calendar year, so your child’s enrollment is good until Dec. 31. Each year in January, youths have to be re-enrolled in 4-H via 4-HOnline (this process is much easier and less time consuming than the first time you enroll).

Once your child is enrolled and approved, they are eligible to participate in 4-H opportunities that our county offers! Here are some current opportunities:

  • 4-H Clubs: Rowan County 4-H currently has five 4-H clubs in the county. They are led by 4-H volunteers who are registered, background checked, and trained. We have wonderful 4-H volunteers in our county and they dedicate much of their time to helping 4-H’ers learn, grow, and succeed. There are two 4-H clubs that still have room for more members: Happy Trails 4-H Club (focuses on horses) and the West Rowan 4-H Explorers 4-H Club (focuses on lots of topics). The other three 4-H clubs in our county are already full for 2022 with waiting lists; two of these clubs focus on shooting sports and one on cooking. Descriptions of all of these clubs can be found on our website at: https://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu/rowan-county-4-h-clubs/. You can join a 4-H club at any time!
  • Egg-Cellent Egg Contest: If your child has chickens and they are laying well, this is a contest for you! This state-wide contest requires pre-registration, a $15 registration fee, two Zoom trainings, egg submissions for judging, and a supplemental project. Registration ends on Sept. 9, so you must enroll in 4-H (if you’re not already a member) and then register for the contest soon! This is a great contest to enter for both novice and experienced 4-H’ers. All details about this contest can easily be found on the main page of our county’s Extension website at rowan.ces.ncsu.edu.
  • NC State Fair 4-H entries: If your child has talent in the areas of crafts, photography, or entomology, then this opportunity may be of interest to them. Registration is due by Sept. 15. The 4-H’ers entries are due to the Rowan Extension office before 5 p.m. on Sept. 30. A Rowan County 4-H volunteer will be taking all entries to Raleigh for competition and you will receive all items back at the conclusion of the fair. All details can be found on our website at https://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu/2022/08/4-h-arts-crafts-competitions-at-the-nc-state-fair/.
  • There are more opportunities coming up this fall and more details will be released on them soon. These include a Pumpkin Decorating Contest, a “Casserole Cookoff,”and fundraiser opportunities. Details on all upcoming events can be found at rowan.ces.ncsu.edu/upcoming-4-h-programs-7/.

This is just a glimpse of what 4-H offers. 4-H provides opportunities all year long, so try to find a way to get involved. If you are new to 4-H, please know that there are so many potential opportunities that it sometimes seems overwhelming. But once you jump in and start, I promise that it becomes easier to navigate. You also gain connections with me (the 4-H agent), the 4-H volunteers, and other parents who are great resources to help you and your family on your 4-H journey.

Come join Rowan County 4-H! We would love to have you and your family involved!

For additional information or questions, contact Laura Allen, at 704-216-8970 or laura_allen@ncsu.edu.

Laura H. Allen is 4-H agent with the Rowan County Extension.

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