Fairfield County 4-Her, Sophia Preston, Embarks on Transformative Journey to Greece with Ohio 4-H

April 17, 2024 – Sophia Preston, a Fairfield Co. 4-H member recently returned home from participating in the Ohio 4-H Greece Immersion Trip to the American Farm School in Thessaloniki, Greece. This unique opportunity, organized by Ohio 4-H, aimed to immerse participants in Greek culture while exploring diverse career pathways in agriculture and related fields.

Led by Steve Brady, assistant professor and 4-H educator, and Margo Overholt-Seckel, program manager, Ohio 4-H Workforce Development and Pathways, Preston was one of 13 Ohio 4-H teens who participated in the transformative adventure to explore into Greek culture while also gaining valuable insights into agricultural practices and career pathways. The trip, which spanned 10 days, allowed participants to immerse themselves in the vibrant traditions and customs of Greece, fostering cross-cultural understanding and global awareness.

“Sophia embraced the spirit of curiosity and ambition that we strive to cultivate in all our 4-H members,” said Brady. “By participating in the Ohio 4-H Global Immersion – Greece, she has the opportunity to broaden her horizons, forge meaningful connections, and lay the foundation for a successful future.”

Throughout the immersive experience at the American Farm School, Preston and her peers will engage in a diverse range of activities, including hands-on agricultural experiences, cultural excursions, and interactive workshops. From exploring ancient landmarks to learning about sustainable farming practices, Preston gained invaluable insights into Greek culture and the agricultural industry.

As Preston represented Fairfield County on the global stage, their participation in the Greece Immersion Trip not only highlights their dedication to personal and professional development but also serves as an inspiration to aspiring youth in Fairfield County and beyond.

Following her return from Greece, Preston undoubtedly brought back a wealth of knowledge and experiences to share with her peers in Fairfield County and across Ohio. Their journey exemplifies the transformative impact of 4-H programs in empowering youth to become confident, capable leaders in their communities.

“The Ohio 4-H Global Immersion trip is a testament to Ohio 4-H’s dedication to shaping well-rounded leaders who are prepared to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world,” said Kirk Bloir, state 4-H leader.

Ohio 4-H is the youth development program of OSU Extension, the outreach program of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Sophia Preston (R) savoring authentic Greek flavors during the welcome dinner hosted by Dr. Jeff Lansdale, president of the American Farm School, alongside AvaLee Cobbs, a Sandusky 4-H member.

Margo Overholt-Seckel
Program Manager, Ohio 4-H Workforce Development & Pathways

Teen Opportunity: 4-H Cultural Immersion Project in Puerto Rico!

2023 4-H Cultural Immersion Project – Puerto Rico (Youth)

November 21-29, 2023

The 2023 4-H Cultural Immersion Project – Puerto Rico applications are open.  The experience is from November 21 – November 29, 2023. After receiving the application, follow-up interviews will be scheduled to select participants.  Final selections will be posted in mid-August.  4-H youth ages 15-18 (as of date of trip) are encouraged to apply. Teens must still be in high school as of the date of the trip to participate.

The cost is $1,400.  (This includes airfare, ground transportation, most meals, lodging, and program fees)

Deadline to Apply:  July 14, 2023

Teens will experience both the vibrant  Old San Juan urban area as well as life in the remote mountain town of Castañer.  The group be working with Puerto Rican 4-H members in joint service projects as well as leading a team building workshop for students at University Gardens High School in San Juan.  Outdoor recreation as well as daily cultural activities will challenge them to expand their worldview and examine their bias and stereotypes.

Call or email for questions.   brady.111@osu.edu or 513.695.1311

CIP Application Link: go.osu.edu/CIP2023

Teen Opportunity: 4-H Cultural Immersion Experience in Puerto Rico! APPLY NOW!

We are excited to announce that there will be a third youth 4-H Cultural Immersion Project experience to Puerto Rico from November 23 – December 1, 2021.

There is a preliminary application for you to share with your youth (see below).  There will be a follow up applicant zoom interview before selecting participants.  State Contact (Steve Brady) will also contact the applicant’s county 4-H Educator for a reference.  The experience is for 4-H youth ages 15-19.  The cost is $500 plus airfare (approx.. $600).   We will be staying in two locations – Castaner – a small mountain town in the center of the island and San Juan. Additionally, Fairfield County 4-H Advisory Committee is willing to support youth who pursue international experiences! Once accepted, contact Leslie or Aubry to make a presentation to the 4-H Advisory Committee to request a scholarship to assist you financially.

One of our goals is to join 4-H youth from Puerto Rico for several service projects and local events.  Please reach out to your 4-H members who would benefit from an experience like this one.  Contact me if you would like further information.

2021 Cross Cultural Immersion Application – Puerto Rico

2021 International Travel Update

Due to the ongoing Covid pandemic, our 2021 in-person International Exchange Programs (both hosting and traveling) have been cancelled. We understand the disappointment this will cause for those who were hoping to participate. We look forward to many Ohio youth and families traveling and hosting with us safely in 2022!

If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities that are usually offered, please visit https://ohio4h.org/statewide-programs/international-program


Do you like writing? How about an International Pen Pal?

Since International Travel and hosting is cancelled for 2021, they’ve found other opportunities for 4-H youth and their families!

For 2021, we will instead offer several “virtual” international activities:

  •  Winter International Pen-Pal Program (January-April; info posted below) 
  •  Summer International Pen-Pal Program (May-August; identical to winter program; info will be posted in March)
  • Virtual Hosting Family Program (June-August; info posted in March)

Pen Pal spots are limited – ACT NOW if interested! If you would like to be a pen pal, please follow the link below for the instructions.

S4H Flier – Winter 2021 Pen Pal Program (Jan.-April)

Summer Judging – Please Schedule an Interview Time by 5:00 p.m. Friday, July 10th!

Greetings 4-Hers!

Thank you to those who recently responded to last week’s survey regarding project completion options. We have taken survey responses into consideration, along with OSU’s guidance on primarily using virtual options for events due to the potential continued spread of COVID-19. In that light, we will be conducting project judging interviews using the online video conference format called Zoom. This will allow for a live, interactive interview with a judge and 4-Her. For those 4-Hers that do not have access to adequate technology to support a Zoom interview, we will offer a few limited slots for an in-person interview. Please read details below before choosing your judging appointment.

All SUMMER project judging will be conducted the week of July 13th. Projects will be judged on these originally scheduled days:

  • Monday, July 13: Food, Home Dec, Genealogy, Laundry, Health, Child Care
  • Tuesday, July 14: Demonstration, Communication, Creative Arts
  • Wednesday, July 15: Engineering and Environmental Science
  • Thursday, July 16: Clothing

Awards this year will be simplified with Outstandings and Honorable Mentions across projects. There is no state-level competition this year, so the primary focus of county judging will be the interview experience and an opportunity for the 4-Her to share what they have learned. Note: we will not be awarding special overall food or clothing awards this year.

Project displays: in order to offer flexibility, you may create a poster and have it near you for zoom judging, or a digital poster that you could ‘screen share’ and later print out to display at the fair. Note: food projects will NOT be required to complete a portfolio this year. Instead you could do a mini poster to display at the fair. The choice is yours.

Online (Zoom) Judging for all summer projects:

  • Extension staff will ‘host’ the meeting and send a link to the judge and 4-Her. Staff will remain online throughout the meeting as tech support, timekeeper and to provide a 2nd adult to avoid any one-on-one meetings with youth.
  • 4-Her and judge will utilize their own computer with a camera or device from their own homes.
  • This is a ‘live’ interactive interview and the judge can ask 4-Her questions.
  • Training will be provided on how to participate in a zoom interview.

In-person Judging for youth without access to internet or computer/phone:

  • Note: this option is reserved for members who cannot do a zoom interview because they do not have access to technology
  • Safety measures:
    • 4-Hers, judges and staff will be asked to wear masks. (provided if needed)
    • Plexiglass tabletop shields positioned between the judge and 4-Her
    • 6-foot distance between everyone
    • Surfaces will be sanitized after each 4-Her
  • Held at the Ed Sands building at the fairgrounds the week of July 13.
  • 4-Hers will wait in their car until it is time to be judged.

As a reminder, if you have a project that you do not plan to complete, please email Missy Koenig at Koenig.398@osu.edu with the project you wish to drop from your record. You also have the option of interviewing with your club advisor for project completion. Please contact your advisor to make arrangements.

We are excited to see all that you have completed and learned in your 4-H projects this summer. Please click on this link to schedule your SUMMER judging appointment by 5:00 p.m. Friday, July 10th: Summer Judging Scheduling Link Please note:  If you have multiple summer projects or multiple 4-H members, you will need to re-select the link to schedule additional projects, it is not member specific.

~Fairfield County 4-H Team

4-H International & Other Summer Exchanges – CANCELLED for 2020

In partnership with our national non-profit partner, States’ 4-H International, the Ohio 4-H Program has made the difficult decision to cancel all 2020 International Inbound hosting and Outbound travel programs this summer. This determination is a result of months of communication and collaboration among program partners. The decision aligns with the travel guidance provided by the CDC and State Department, yet most importantly, it fully prioritizes the health and safety of our delegates, host families, and chaperones. This includes the LABO exchange with Japan.

In addition to our international exchange program with State’ 4-H International, no other international or domestic 4-H trips or exchanges will take place this summer (between now and the end of August). This includes any county or club-level exchange trips with other states.

International Host Families Needed

Hello Potential Fairfield County Host Families: Now is the time to submit applications to host international youth in the summer of 2020!

2020 Hosting Information!

  • 50 Families will be selected to host Japanese youth and adults (July 23 – August 17).
  • You must have a child in your family aged 10-16 to host a youth. No children are required to host an adult.
  • Applications Due ASAP – Until all exchangees are placed. Japanese youth and adults are typically placed by March or April.
  • Applicants will be notified of acceptance after references, home visit & background checks are completed.

Japanese Youth and Adults

*** Ohio host siblings for Japanese youth should be ages 10-16. *** Ohio host siblings will be matched with a Japanese youth of the same gender & approximate age. *** Applications accepted until all youth are placed, usually in late April.

2020 Host Family Application 

Please complete the application by following the instructions on page 1. This application can only be completed using a desktop or laptop computer. (No tablets, phones, etc.) You will be instructed to save the application form to your desktop or laptop with a NEW name BEFORE entering information to it – otherwise, your information will be lost. You will need the names, email addresses and phone numbers for your 3 references in order to submit the form. You will also need 1-2 family photos, although they can be submitted separately or at a later time. Questions? thalheimer.1@osu.edu

2020 SAMPLE Host Family Application – Click above to see a finished application! 


Additional information can be found on the State 4-H Website at: https://ohio4h.org/statewide-programs/international-program

Attention High School Youth: Inspired by global agriculture? Get involved in the Ohio Youth Institute!

High school age youth are invited to part of the Ohio Youth Institute, hosted by OSU’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Participants research and write a short paper on a global challenge facing a country, then come to the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on April 20, 2020. Students from throughout Ohio meet with OSU experts, speakers and participate in hands-on experiences focused on global food concerns. OYI Scholars may be eligible for USDA summer internships and international opportunities. Visit the OYI website for details.

4-H International Exchange Program – Update from the George Family!

The George Family had a wonderful time with Rise.Rise is a Japanese youth they hosted through the 4-H International Exchange Program this summer!

According to the George Family, “Rise is absolutely wonderful. We have done a fishing derby, hiked Old Man’s Cave, went to the pool, painted, done origami, made friendship bracelets, had fun at Magic Mountain and so much more! We also took her to her first drive in movie.” They were able to spend some time in the Cleveland area as well as Gatlinburg, TN. The George Family also introduced Rise to their family members and and friends. One neat thing Rise got to experience is that she witnessed Vice President Pence and his motorcade park right next to us in Canal Winchester.

Thank you so much to the George Family for allowing Rise the opportunity to be a part of their 4-H Family this summer!

If you’d like to know more about the 4-H International Exchange Program (to host or to experience 4-H abroad), please contact Leslie or Aubry at the Extension Office!