The Wayne County 4-H program is a true point of pride for our community. The program annually reaches more than 1,500 youth through involvement in 4-H community clubs where youth can choose from more than 200 different self-directed learning projects. Youth also hone their leadership and life skills during club meetings and group learning activities. Additionally, Wayne County 4-H reaches more than 200 youth through our 4-H camping program, which includes a day camp for Cloverbuds (youth ages 5-8) and an overnight camp for youth ages 8-13. Teens also benefit from 4-H camp experiences by serving as camp counselors and mentors to the younger campers. Wayne County 4-H annually reaches more than 350 youth through our Real Money, Real World personal financial literacy program.
The Wayne County 4-H CARTEENS program brings an important message about safe driving to more than 160 first-time juvenile traffic offenders (ages 16-18) each year through a partnership with the Wayne County Juvenile Court and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. And this year our 4-H Character Counts program reached more than 900 first through fourth graders each month for six months of the school year with lessons seeking to develop the six pillars of character – trustworthiness, respect, fairness, responsibility, caring, and citizenship – within young people.
All of these local outcomes are but just a few of the many broader impacts that 4-H has on our community. According to a recently published longitudinal research study conducted over 10 years by Tufts University in coordination with other land-grant universities such as Ohio State, when compared to their peers youth involved in 4-H programs excel in several areas. 4-H'ers are about:
- Four times more likely to make contributions to their communities (Grades 7-12)
- Two times more likely to be civically active (Grades 8-12);
- Two times more likely to make healthier choices (Grade 7);
- Two times more likely to participate in Science, Engineering and Computer Technology programs during out-of-school time (Grades 10 – 12); and
- 4-H girls are two times more likely (Grade 10) and nearly three times more likely (Grade 12) to take part in science programs compared to girls in other out-of-school time activities.
If you believe in the importance of positive youth development, please consider supporting our 4-H program by making a gift to the Wayne County 4-H Youth Development Fund or becoming a volunteer.
For more information, please contact me at the Wayne County Extension Office.
Doug Foxx is an OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.