Morrow County 4-H celebrates its 111th year
By Randa Wagner -
The first full week of March is traditionally Ohio 4-H week, and for Morrow County, membership is as strong as ever.
“This is the 111th year for 4-H in Morrow County!” Morrow County 4-H Coordinator Becky Becker told commissioners February 27. “We’re fortunate we have 4-H in all four public schools, and we have the support of the agricultural community.”
Barker, who is in her 20th year, estimates the Morrow County 4-H organization ranks eleventh in Ohio for the number of youths in 4-H. She reported there are 864 youth in traditional 4-H clubs, and 2,786 youth in the county receive extension education programming.
“That’s 40%!” she exclaimed. The youth are supported by a league of volunteers, namely 251 adults and 25 youths. Barker said she keeps a database of 4-H youth enrollment in the county, as far as what extension programming provides.
Barker said the 2013 Ohio 4-H Volunteer Conference takes place in Columbus Saturday, March 9, bringing youths and adults together for training, education and fun.
The 4-H program in Morrow County is offered through the OSU Extension office in Mt. Gilead, who also provides programs for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Family Consumer Science and Food and Nutrition.
“The majority of this is (directed by) Dana Brown, Jeff McCutcheon, LeAnne Leonhard and myself,” said Barker. “This is the team out in the county providing citizens programs to strengthen their lives.”
Barker explained when the levies pass for the OSU extension or money comes from the general fund, state and federal dollars come back to the county.
“Morrow County receives $36,561 in federal funding for our nutrition education program for low income people,” Commissioner Tom Harden said of Lee Ann Leonhard’s Family Nutrition Program.
The extension service also provides educational for youths who go through the CAR-TEEN program in traffic court.
Commissioners Tom Whiston and Dick Miller were both members of 4-H. Miller recalled his mother started and all-girls 4-H club in the Iberia area called “Miss America.”
Then there’s the fair, the highlight of the year for many 4-H members and clubs.
“The extension office is very active before during and after the Morrow County Fair,” Harden said. “We go to the fair and support the livestock sale, which is a big part of the 4-H program,”
“We have a wonderful fair,” Barker said. “There is a relationship with the junior fair and senior fair, and many of the kids donate part of their sale price to the junior fair building fund so new buildings can be built. Counties that have more businesses than our county are amazed at the support we have for the junior fair livestock sale, because we have individuals and businesses.”
“We’re very proud of the 4-H program in Morrow County,” said Commissioner Tom Harden, “along with all the boys and girls that participate in the program. You are the future leaders of Morrow County.”