4-H offers a wide variety of opportunities for teens to develop knowledge, skills, positive attitudes and aspirations needed for adult success. Many older 4-H members serve as mentors, officers and committee leaders in their local club. In 2016, 19 percent of all older 4-H members took advantage of the opportunity to get involved beyond their local club; 69 out of 361 members served as camp counselors, 4-H CARTEENS peer teachers, or as Junior Fair Board, FCS Board and/or 4-H Committee members. These advanced 4-H experiences help our older members build a foundation for achievement in the 21st century.
4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills as they work in partnership with caring adults. Huron County had 49 4-H community clubs, guided by 197 adult volunteer advisers, with 1,097 4-H members enrolled in our 4-H program in 2016. Overall, 96 percent of members completed their membership requirements designed to help young people develop skills to help them succeed, while empowering them to reach their fullest potential. Members completed 94 percent of the projects they selected, which teach citizenship, healthy living, and agricultural and other sciences.
Organized camping is cooperative group living in a natural environment that focuses on the individual’s social, spiritual, mental and physical development. Huron County 4-H has been camping on the banks of the Huron River at 4-H Camp Conger since 1925. We hold an intermediate resident camp for 4-H members in sixth through eighth grades, junior resident camp for 4-H members in third through fifth grades and a Cloverbud Fun Day for our members in kindergarten through second grade. In 2016, intermediate camp was attended by 66 campers. There were 82 campers at junior camp and 103 participants at Cloverbud Fun Day. Participants at the Huron County 4-H camps had fun learning, while developing leadership and social skills, independence, and responsibility in an outdoor environment.
Livestock quality assurance teaches youth how to use best practices that guarantee producing quality and safe animal products for consumers, as well as responsible animal handling, care and welfare. In 2016, 408 4-H and FFA members participated in livestock quality assurance training. After training, 92 percent of participants agreed that they will try to follow the 10 Good Production Practices, and 78 percent plan to develop an emergency action plan for their livestock facility. Youth education in livestock production and animal welfare helps assure safe, wholesome food animal products are produced in 4-H and FFA projects.
Pesticide applicator training and recertification is a crucial component of a vibrant and sustainable approach to food production. It has been well-established that controlling pests in crop production systems is essential to sustainability. Pesticides, when used responsibly, not only have the potential to increase crop yields, but in many cases result in higher quality produce that is more appealing and even more nutritious. OSU Extension – Huron County has trained and recertified more than 1,150 private applicators over the last 24 months. More than 95 percent of licensed private applicators have recertified during that period. Continuing education and the recertification program help to ensure that the individual producer has access to a tool that is vital to the sustainability of many farm operations. At the same time, it helps to ensure that pesticides are used correctly to protect consumers and the environment.
4-H CARTEENS is a traffic safety program conducted by 4-H teen leaders and the Ohio State Highway Patrol for first-time juvenile traffic offenders. The goal of the program is to increase teen awareness of traffic/vehicular safety and reduce the number of repeat offenders. The Juvenile Court judge sent 170 traffic offenders to our CARTEENS program over a 12-month period. A parent/guardian must attend with each juvenile. Many parents indicate that this type of program would be beneficial for all teens before they get their driver’s license. The teen participants take the program seriously and report plans to change their driving behavior. The responses are very positive, with many parents and teens thanking us for presenting the program.
One morning in August 2014, the residents of Toledo, Ohio awoke to a shocking realization – they had no water. There was no water main break or power outage, the problem was bigger than that. The city could not ensure that their water was safe for human consumption, so the water supply was turned off. The supply stayed off for more than two days. The problem was micrositis, a toxin that results from high levels of some algae in drinking water. Although the water outage was a trauma for Toledo, Ohio and the Great Lakes, this incident may have triggered one of the most dramatic environment protection movements that we have ever witnessed.
As part of the grand effort to reduce the algae growth in Lake Erie and other waters of the state, the Ohio Department of Agriculture put in place required Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training. OSU Extension has served as the certifying agency for this program. OSU Extension – Huron County played a role in certifying more than 1,100 fertilizer applicators in 2015-2016. Although agricultural producers were initially tentative about this new certification process, the vast majority of them see value in the process and want to be part of the cleanup effort.