4-H enrollment deadline nears for Hamilton County

March 1 is the deadline for youth grades 3 through 12 to enroll in the 2014 Hamilton County 4-H program. 4-H is an informal educational program in which youth “Learn by Doing.” Youth can learn life skills such as cooperation, leadership, decision-making, responsibility and more through hands-on projects in more than 60 different subject areas. 4H_Emblem.svg

“There are so many options people can choose from. There is something for everyone,” Hamilton County 4-H Executive Director Susan Peterson said. “The higher numbers of enrollment are not in livestock.”

Hamilton County ranked as one of the largest programs last year with approximately 2,000 4-H’ers. Peterson said the enrollment fee is $25 with a maximum of $75 per family. Mini 4-H, for first and second grade students, does not have an enrollment fee. Those interested in enrolling can stop by the Purdue Extension Hamilton County office on the 4-H Grounds, 2003 Pleasant St., Noblesville, visit www.ag.purdue.edu/counties/hamilton or call 776-0854.

“This is all about the life skills,” Peterson said. “Kids are exposed to a lot of things they might not be learning anywhere else. For kids it’s the fun of discovering and having a good time.”

Ten-year 4-H’er Samantha Boram encourages anyone interested to participate.

“It’s a place where everyone can get involved no matter what they are interested in, to create friendships in and make yourself better,” she said.  “I’d tell them it’s real important to take as many projects as you can to find your interests out and you should stick with it through the difficult and stressful times because it will pay off in the end.”

Boram’s mother, Nicole, was involved in 4-H in Hamilton County from 1980 to 1989 and was crowned Hamilton County 4-H Fair queen in 1988. Nicole said 4-H is not just about the lifelong skills learned or friendships created but the work ethic instilled in participants through their projects.

“I’m a teacher (at Riverside Jr. High School) and know a lot of the programs out there. I don’t know of a program that teaches hard work pays off more than 4-H does. It’s also about family first,” she said.

March 1 is the enrollment deadline for re-enrolling youth, but members can still sign up afterwards. However, the highest placing they can receive for projects at the county 4-H fair is a blue ribbon, and they are not eligible to advance to the state fair. Because the deadline falls on the weekend, Peterson said enrollment cards will be accepted late.

“We will take them through the business day March 3,” she said.

The Hamilton County 4-H Fair is July 17 through 22.