By Steven Baringer – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Denton County 4-H & Youth Development Agent
If you have been keeping up with my column, you have learned about the history of Texas 4-H, several opportunities or projects that 4-H has to offer, and what Denton County 4-H members have accomplished.
Now to answer the question you all may have, how does my family become involved with 4-H?
First off, you need to see which age group your soon to be 4-H member falls within. If they are in kindergarten to 2nd grade, we do have some opportunities for them as a Clover Kid. Clover Kids can participate in almost everything a 4-H member can, they can even patriciate in mock-contests. Our Clover Kids who are active in our Food & Nutrition Project are experts by the time they compete in their first Food Challenge as a 4-H member! Our Clover Kid Program is a great way for families to get acquainted with 4-H before they are 4-H members. There is no enrollment fee, and Denton County 4-H is working on planning a summer day camp for interested Clover Kids to attend. This day camp will showcase our most popular projects and give them something to take home at the end of it.
Youth in 3rd to 12th grade can enroll as a 4-H member. Before doing so, you need to pick your project. In 4-H, the activities are organized by topics and called “projects” and all 4-H members must be enrolled in at least one project. When you choose a project, you will learn and demonstrate concepts related to the topic. You will participate in various hands-on activities, learn new skills, do community service, and even make speeches about your project.
How to choose your 4-H project:
- Select a project you like.
- Consider the money and time it will take. Can parents/guardians help?
- Consider the space and equipment that you have at home.
- A 4-H project should be fun, serve a purpose, and be worth the effort.
- Select only the number of projects you can complete.
When you are researching 4-H projects, you may come across something that Denton County does not currently offer. We are always looking to grow our program, so you can speak with a club leader or myself, the county 4-H agent, about starting a new project.
4-H enrollment is done totally online now through a platform called 4-HOnline. You can start this process at v2.4honline.com. Here you will create a family account and profile before creating one for each 4-H member in your family. Texas 4-H has created some guides to help you with the enrollment process but our office is also here to help.
While enrolling, you will select not only your 4-H project but the club you would like to join as well. We have a variety of 4-H clubs in Denton County that are grouped together by a specific interest or by a local community club. 4-H members are allowed to participate in more than one club at a time.
More About 4-H
4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. 4-H is about having fun, learning, exploring and discovering. In 4-H, young people make new friends, develop new skills, become leaders, and help shape their communities. More than 65,000 Texas youth are enrolled members of 4-H community clubs in Texas. Another 850,000 Texas youth get involved in 4-H through special educational opportunities at school, in after school programs, or at neighborhood or youth centers. These youth live in cities, suburbs, small towns, and rural communities.
4-H gives them a chance to pursue their own interests – from photography to computers, from building rockets, to raising sheep. To learn more about getting involved in Denton County 4-H, contact Steven Baringer, Denton County 4-H & Youth Development Agent, at 940-349-2884 or at [email protected]