If It Weren’t for 4-H…Stories from 4-H Alumni!

Anyone that has participated in 4-H can attribute some skill back to something they learned in 4-H. Whether it is public speaking, finding their love for a certain career topic, organization, running a meeting, or more. Check out these stories from recent 4-H alumni as they share how they got their start in 4-H!

Marina Sweet, Madison County 4-H Alumni and DVM Candidate

If you met me today, you probably would never guess I grew up in a Detroit suburb. My family moved to London, Ohio when I was ten years old and being an animal loving child, joined 4-H in Madison County as soon as I could. My 8-year 4-H career began with six Buff Orpington hens that had individual names and would eat out of my hand. By the end of my time in 4-H, I had raised chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, dairy heifers, and a hog in addition to several special interest projects. I was a camp counselor and served on Junior Fairboard, among other volunteer opportunities.

To say 4-H changed my life would be an understatement! When I first joined, I was terrified of speaking in front of others and knew very little about farm animals. 4-H brought me some of my most cherished friendships, reinforced my work ethic, showed me that I love public speaking, and perhaps most importantly of all, founded my passion for livestock and agriculture. Because of my years in the program, and one particular year raising a market wether that required veterinary attention at Ohio State, I realized my life’s calling in food animal veterinary medicine.

Thanks to 4-H, I received several scholarships to attend The Ohio State University for undergrad where I majored in Animal Sciences and furthered my passions, particularly with dairy cattle. Today, I am a third year veterinary student at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and begin clinical rotations in just a few months. I truly owe almost everything to the 4-H program and agricultural community for building me into the person I am today while giving my life a greater purpose in providing veterinary care to help farmers and hobbyists raise healthy livestock and thus a safe food supply.





Haylee Henry, 4-H Alumni & Student at South Dakota State University

Growing up, I was always looking for what my purpose was going to be in life. It wasn’t until I found myself in my first official 4-H meeting in Speedy Spurs Livestock 4-H club that I felt like I belonged somewhere. I can remember that feeling of acceptance that I had sitting around a table full of my friends that had similar interests to my own. Through my years in 4-H I found myself getting more and more involved in things outside of my own 4-H club and interacting at the state and national level. 4-H taught me many life lessons throughout the years. 4-H taught me how to be a Leader, how to Communicate with others and how to be Kind. I will cherish the time I had growing up in 4H and finding the courage I needed to branch out of my comfort zone.

Fast forward to now I am currently a sophomore at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD. I am studying Agricultural Communications and Agricultural Leadership; I hope to use my degree to help develop youth programs in the Agricultural industry and offer opportunities to youth today, to prepare them for their future. Growing up in the a very supportive community inspired me to leave what I have always known and branch out to another part of the country and gain a new perspective on what the world looks like. I hope to gain the skills I need to help develop and shape the future leaders of our industry. And always remember, Communicate, Lead and Be Kind.


Rachel Garrison, Madison County 4-H Alumni and Program Coordinator at American Farm Bureau Federation

“I started my 4-H career at the young age of 6 as a Cloverbud. My project was cattle, and my first heifers name was Star, she was sweet yet feisty. I continued showing cattle until my last year in 2015. I took various other projects throughout the years like gardening and creative writing as well as joining the Junior Fairboard. I loved taking these projects and cherish the time I spent on the farm. I love that 4-H has so many aspects and found that I especially enjoyed working with my club members to give back to our community, creating lifelong friendships, preparing for skill-a-thon and club demonstrations just as much as being in a show-ring. The community of friends and mentors I found through Madison County 4-H is something I continue to use and value more every year.

My years in Madison County 4-H sparked my interest in agriculture and lead me to my career as a Project Coordinator for American Farm Bureau Federation. I get to work every day at an organization that supports and values America’s farmers and ranchers. The move from Ohio to Washington D.C. was big for me but I’ve found that my 4-H experiences have set me up to run headfirst with a helping hand and smile into anything. Madison County 4-H opened up my world to all aspects of agriculture and the world beyond. I consider my time in the program one of my most valuable assets in life.”

Being a 4-H Volunteer

Interested in becoming a 4-H Volunteer? Check out these testimonials from just 2 of our 130+ amazing volunteers! Contact the Madison County Extension Office to learn more about the volunteer selection process and opportunities available!

Savannah Brock, Madison County 4-H Alumni and Volunteer 

I fell in love with 4-H in 1991 when I moved to Madison County. I was from the city but my dad grew up on a small family farm and he wanted us to have the same experience that he did. I sure am glad I moved out here and joined 4-H. I took many projects over my years in 4-H some I liked more than others but working with my animals and fair were the highlights of the summer every year. I have also had many roles as a volunteer, I can’t say which one I liked the best as I have loved them all. I loved being a volunteer with 4-H camp and with junior fair board. It was always so awesome to see the youth plan from the ground up for camp and fair and make it a huge success. I have learned so much from 4-H. I have learned about all of the projects, how to care for animals, how to show animals, but most importantly it taught me valuable life skills. Some of the life skills, I am most thankful for are responsibility, hard work, and people skills. I have also made some pretty amazing friends along the way. It is hard to believe that this is my 30th year! Time flies when you are having fun! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for my kids, my club, and myself. If you are on the fence about joining or volunteering, I say go for it. Try it out! I promise you will not regret it. 4-H has something for everyone!

Valerie Peart, Madison County 4-H Alumni and Volunteer

When asked to write about being a 4-H volunteer my fist thoughts were of my time as a 4-Her.  Some of my best friends and memories are around 4-H, camp, junior fair board, and fair.  When my oldest daughter was five I heard about clover buds and signed up, the club we joined said sure, but we need an advisor.  That was 16 years ago and the next year we started our own club, the Prairie Raiders.  In 2006 we were all clover buds, this year, my son will graduate high school, it’s been a wonderful experience.

Volunteering with your kids and their friends with a program that I believe in so deeply has been just as rewarding to me as to the 4-Hers and their families.  There are so many programs available and as an advisor it is great to experience projects with the youth.  In our club we have had cooking, sewing, hogs, ducks, bees, woodworking, muskrat trapping and all things in between. It seems the ideas for a project are limited only by your imagination.

As a volunteer it has also been great to meet and work with other volunteers on the 4-H committee or in the extension office.  Each of us are committed to making the best better and let’s be honest, continuing to be a 4-Her is one of the best benefits to volunteering.

March 2021 4-H Newsletter

Greetings 4-H Families!

March is here! Snow is melting, weather is getting (sorta) warmer, and 4-H season is in full swing! Enrollments are starting to roll in, clubs are beginning to meet and make plans for the year, and new members are excited to join! Help us out by sharing about 4-H to all your friends and neighbors – invite someone to a club meeting, send them to our recruitment site: go.osu.edu/mc4hspark so that they can find their spark in 4-H. Don’t forget to re-enroll your own family by March 15!

In this issue:

  • 4-H Enrollment Information and Recruitment
  • 2021 Calendar of Events
  • 4-H Week Happenings
  • Livestock Quality Assurance Information
  • 4-H Magic Show!
  • County Wide Club Meetings
  • 4-H Club T-Shirt for Sale
  • 2021 Project Book Information
  • Extension Office Hours and 4-H Office Hours
  • Ohio 4-H Guidelines Reminder
  • New Jr. Fair Livestock Sale Update
  • Scholarship Opportunities
  • Volunteer Reminders


2021 Enrollment – Due MARCH 15!

Don’t delay! Visit oh.4honline.com and log in your same email and password that you used before. If you forgot your password/email, contact our office – DO NOT create a new account unless you are a NEW family to 4-H!

The system will look different from previous years, but hopefully more user friendly! Click here for instructions and a help sheet with screenshots to help you enroll. If you have any issues, do not hesitate to call our office or email Frances at foos.61@osu.edu.

If you need additional help or assistance in our office and want to set up an appointment, call our office or contact Frances directly to view 4-H office hours for the next few weeks.

4-H Week: March 7-13

Watch our social media pages (Facebook: Madison County OSU Extension; Instagram: @MadCo4HOhio) for challenges to win prizes such as free project books, camp registration, gift cards, and other 4-H goodies!

This year’s theme is Find Your Spark!

Clubs interested in the window decoration contest can click here.



2021 4-H Calendar Available

Mark your calendar and save the dates now for important county events and deadlines! Updates will be added to the website and this calendar as we receive them, as well as emailed to all 4-H families.

Please note: dates, times, and locations, and format are subject to change based on OSU and county health and safety guidelines. We will keep you informed as time progresses.

A printable calendar can be found here.

Livestock Quality Assurance – Register Now!

To be eligible for participation in the Madison County Junior Fair, potential youth exhibitors must participate in one of the following Quality Assurance Education Programs. The deadline to complete QA Education for the Madison County Fair is May 15, 2021.

Register at go.osu.edu/madcovirtualqa.

4-H & FFA Members in these projects must attend Quality Assurance Education:  All Dairy Cattle, Market & Dairy Goats, Breeding Goats, Market Rabbits (Pen of 3), Beef (Mkt. Steers, Beef Feeders, Breeding Beef), Dairy Feeder Calves, Swine, Breeding and Market Sheep, Market Poultry (Pen of 4 Broilers, Mkt. Turkeys and Market Ducks)

This year, all the sessions will be held VIRTUALLY via zoom, just like last year. If you need an accomodation, please contact the Madison County Extension Office to make alternative arrangements.

Please save the dates for the below sessions. Youth must attend one session. Additional sessions may be added as needed. Sessions will be limited to 40 participants:

  • Monday, March 22, 6:00-7:30pm
  • Rabbit Specific: March 25, 6:00-7:30pm
  • Tuesday, April 6, 6:00-7:30pm
  • Wednesday, April 14, 7:00-8:30pm
  • Saturday, April 17, 10:00-11:30am
  • *New Members Only: April 19, 7:00-8:30pm
  • Poultry Specific: April 21, 6:00-7:30pm
  • Sunday, April 25, 4:00-5:30pm
  • Thursday, April 29, 6:00-7:30pm
  • Thursday, May 6, 7:00-8:30pm
  • Wednesday, May 12, 6:00-7:30pm

*NEW: 1st-3rd Year 4-H Members Only! New Member Quality Assurance – Thursday, April 19th, 7:00-8:30pm – Covers an overview of what Quality Assurance is and activities are geared toward younger members! Perfect for newer members or those just getting started with livestock projects!

You may also choose to complete QA through the online YQCA certification on your own time. There is about a $12 cost with this program. Contact the extension office for more information.

4-H Virtual Magic Show –  March 23rd at 7pm

Virtual Family Magic Show
Tuesday, March 23, 2021 @ 7 PM.

Join Madison County 4-H for a virtual night out. Bring your entire family together to experience a magic show presented by 4-H alumni & professional family entertainer Conrad Cologne. During the show, you’ll get a front-row seat to the show and get to see and have fun with your 4-H friends.

FREE TO ATTEND but registration is required, so claim your family’s spot now.



Find Your Spark with 4-H!

While we cannot have our in-person 4-H Rally Night this year, we hosted a series of virtual activies for current members and new/anticipated 4-H members to participate in to learn more about 4-H projects available and win prizes, like 4-H camp registrations, free project books, 4-H goodies, and more!

Starting NOW, you can visit go.osu.edu/mc4hspark where you will find videos from key leaders, livestock committee members, and other volunteers describing various project areas, what you need, what you learn, etc. There will also be videos from our own 4-H members that have done really well in certain project areas sharing their insight!

Additionally, there will be some live zoom Q&A sessions for newer and potential 4-H members (and current members too!) Below are the dates and topics. Registration is now live at go.osu.edu/mc4hspark

March 9 @ 7pm: Welcome to 4-H 101 – How to enroll, where to find projects, and more! Opportunities to meet with clubs that are open to new members.

County Wide Club Meetings

Since we are all “stuck”, we want to make it easier for you to host engaging club meetings this Winter/Spring! This is completely optional, but we hope it can help in your planning!

We are hosting a series of virtual club meetings starting January 10-March 28 on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month at 2pm. Each meeting will include county updates, Q&A time, and an engaging guest speaker for a total of 45 minutes, then advisors can select the option to lead a breakout room with your club officers to host your business meeting!

Advisors can also request the 4-H educator to “pop in” to their meeting for an additional activity, clarify something, etc.

*These are also be recorded and can be made available to advisors and families upon request!

CLUB REGISTRATION: In order to have these count as a club meeting, advisors MUST register in advance for a breakout room HERE: https://osu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0UkEjx3PVzdDdbv

FAMILY REGISTRATION: Families can attend on their own, but it will only count as a club meeting if they attend their individual club meeting in the breakout session after the guest speaker with their club advisors/officers. Families will register for each session HEREhttps://osu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_4Tv182ymIwT0NYV

Dates and Topics are listed below. All are Sundays from 2-4pm. The guest speaker and county updates will be 45 minutes-1 hour, and then clubs can have time in their breakout rooms for however long they need!

  • March 14 – Maple Syrup Making
  • March 28 – Chocolate Science

4-H Club T-Shirt – Orders due March 15!

Back by popular demand! You can purchase a 4-H Club T-Shirt and view the design at go.osu.edu/madco4hshirt

Shirts cost $20, which includes direct shipping to your home after orders close on March 15th, as well as a small donation to the Madison County 4-H Committee

The more shirts sold, the higher profit per shirt goes back to the 4-H program!

Special thanks to Madison Estep from Helping Hands Happy Hearts for designing this shirt in 2020 & to Pounce Signs and Printwear for printing the t-shirts!

Questions? Contact the Extension Office or foos.61@osu.edu.

2021 4-H Projects and Family Guides

The 2021 Family Guide is now available for download at ohio4h.org/familyguide! If you need a hard copy, there are some available in the office. Each 2020 4-H family/volunteer should have had one mailed to them.

You can view sample pages of project books, see comments from families that have enrolled in the project, etc. at projectcentral.ohio4h.org!

This year, there are a couple ways to purchase your project books:

*Before ordering, check the Perfect Stay at Home projects page to see if the project your child is interested in is posted as a PDF version for free (there are 12 projects posted currently). We are happy to print these in the office for you if needed. You can also choose to buy the book still if it is easier to work in.

  1. Order Online: You can skip a trip to the office and have them ordered and shipped directly to your door! Visit extensionpubs.osu.edu to browse project and resource books. Use this coupon to get free shipping on orders of $20 or more (FREE2021)
  2. Purchase at our office: Schedule an appointment to come during 4-H office hours, or call ahead for a different time, to purchase your books in the county office.

OSU Extension and 4-H Enrollment Office Hours

General Office Hours: As a reminder, our office is open by appointment only, Monday-Friday, 7:30am-4:00pm. Please continue to call ahead at least 24 hours before coming into the office to schedule an appointment, wear your mask when inside, and stay home if you are sick.

4-H Office Hours: To assist with 4-H Enrollment, project book purchasing, etc., Frances is holding special 4-H office hours throughout February and March. You will still need to call ahead in advance as doors will be locked. Below are some dates to schedule ahead. If you need to make other arrangements, please let us know. We can also assist with enrollment virtually or you can purchase books at extensionpubs.osu.edu.

  • February 3rd – 1:00-5:00pm
  • February 10th – 10:00am-3:00pm
  • February 17th – 10:00am-1:00pm
  • February 24th – 1:00pm-4:00pm
  • March 3 – 1:00pm-5:00pm
  • March 10 – 1:00pm – 5:00pm
  • March 15 – 9:00am – 4:00pm

In-Person 4-H Meetings and Events Update 

Remember to follow our meeting guidelines for any in-person 4-H meetings and events that you may be attending: That information, along with any new updates, is at https://ohio4h.org/families/stay-connected.



County Level Scholarship Opportunities

  • Madison County Farm Bureau Scholarship
    • The Madison County Farm Bureau is offering scholarships to the children of Madison County Farm Bureau members. While all students are encouraged to apply, preference is given to applicants majoring in an agriculturally-related field
    • To view and download the application, click here 
    • The completed application is due March 31, 2021 to Madison County Farm Bureau, P.O. Box 368, Hilliard, Ohio 43026 OR emailed as a PDF to madison@ofbf.org
    • Questions can be directed to Reilly Wright at rwright@ofbf.org
  • Madison County 4-H Scholarship
    •  The Madison County 4-H Advisory Committee sponsors two -$500.00 and four-  $250.00 scholarships.  Applicants must be currently enrolled in the Madison County 4-H program and must be high school seniors or college freshman.
    • This scholarship application is due April 30th to the Extension Office or emailed to foos.61@osu.edu
    • Click here for a Fillable PDF  or  Word file of the application.
  • 4-H Trip Scholarships
    • There are many opportunities available to youth outside of our county programs! The Madison County 4-H Committee sponsors trips for our youth to help them gain leadership skills and represent our county! Trips include: State Leadership Camp, Shooting Sports camps, Citizenship Washington Focus (trip to D.C.), and many more
    • Applications ASAP for early registrations (CWF, Buckeye Leadership Workshop, etc.) or 6 weeks in advance of registration for event.
    • Download the application here! Opportunities are available for 4-H youth of all ages!

Upcoming Events -March

1: 4-H Committee Meeting – 6:30pm

7-13: Madison County 4-H Week & Ohio 4-H Week

4: 4-H Volunteer Training, 10am OR 7pm (Virtual, RSVP Required)’

9: Welcome to 4-H 101 Open House, 7:00pm (Virtual, RSVP Required)

14: Virtual County Wide Club Meeting: Maple Syrup Making, 2:00pm (Virtual, RSVP Required)

15: Madison County 4-H Enrollment Deadline (Members and Volunteers) – Enroll at oh.4honline.com

22: Livestock Quality Assurance – 6:00-7:30pm – Virtual – RSVP at go.osu.edu/madcovirtualqa

25: Rabbit Quality Assurance – 6:00-7:30pm – Virtual – RSVP at go.osu.edu/madcovirtualqa

28: Virtual County Wide Club Meeting: Chocolate Science, 2:00pm (Virtual, RSVP Required)

Self Care Isn’t Selfish!

Stress and anxiety can sometimes trigger unhealthy behaviors. Next time you feel stressed, try one of these healthy habits instead:

  1. Get moving! Talk a walk, get weights, or do some yoga
  2. Reach Out! Talk with those who can provide support
  3. Stop and Breath! Focused breathing can help you calm down and think clearly
  4. Care for yourself! Get enough sleep and drink plenty of water

For more coping skills, visit mhrb.org.


New Opportunity to for Jr. Fair Sale

Beginning 2021, the Madison County Jr. Fair Livestock exhibitors will have the option to take their market livestock projects home versus sending the animal to the packer at the fair and still be allowed to be a part of the premium sale.  All project requirements must be met, such as showmanship, quality assurance, skill-a-thon, etc. as in previous years to sell in premium sale.

However, per state mandate, all Grand and Reserve Champion market animals MUST still go on to slaughter and cannot be taken home.  Furthermore, exhibitors that plan to take their animal/project home, must declare during entry at the June 1 deadline to allow the Madison County Fair Sale Committee time to supply the packer with shipping numbers.  Those exhibitors taking their projects home must also wait to be released before doing leaving with those animals.

Click here for more information: New Jr. Fair Sale Rule

Contact the Madison County Sales Committee at madisoncountysalescommittee@gmail.com with any questions. 

Livestock & Small Animal Committee Members Needed!

2021 is bringing some fresh changes to our Jr. Fair structure! In lieu of Livestock Key Leaders, the Jr. Fair Livestock program is moving to a committee structure to help encourage sustainability and limit the amount of work for the one person, creating a team effort!

If interested in being a part of this committee, contact madisoncountyjfb@gmail.com to learn more.

The next meeting for LARGE LIVESTOCK is March 10th at 6pm. The next meeting for SMALL ANIMALS is March 3 at 6pm.

The 3 Committees will now consist of:

  • Equine Committee (has been in place for several years, If interested, contact Colleen Martin at stephighatlfs@aol.com for information on meetings times, dates, etc.)
  • Small Animal/Specialty: includes rabbit, poultry, dog, alpaca, and small animal
  • Large Animal Committee: Includes beef, dairy, swine, goat, and sheep!

Responsibilities of these committees will include:

  • Species specific rule recommendations to JFB (timely and accurate oversight and revisions)
  • Judge recommendations
  • Develop and maintain volunteers
  • Fundraising/Budget
  • Fair format/show bill/arena and facility set up, recs
  • Assist extension office with skillathons

Next GEN Agriculture Feed Scholarship for First Year Exhibitor

Next GEN Agriculture, a non-profit organization that supports kids in agriculture, is sponsoring a feed scholarship for a first year livestock exhibitor in Madison County for $300 in credit to a local feed store. The application is due by April 1st.

More information on the application requirements can be found here: Next GEN Ag Scholarship Information.


Volunteer Trainings:  Visit go.osu.edu/virtualvolunteertraining to RSVP for a volunteer training session. If you would like to complete an in-person training, contact Frances directly at foos.61@osu.edu or call the Extension Office to set up alternative arrangements.

County Wide Club Meetings: Visit go.osu.edu/mc4hmeetings for all the information! Since we are all “stuck”, we want to make it easier for you to host engaging club meetings this Winter/Spring! This is completely optional, but we hope it can help in your planning! We are hosting a series of virtual club meetings starting January 10-March 28 on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month at 2pm. Each meeting will include county updates, Q&A time, and an engaging guest speaker for a total of 45 minutes, then advisors can select the option to lead a breakout room with your club officers to host your business meeting. Advisors can also request the 4-H educator to “pop in” to their meeting for an additional activity, clarify something, etc. In order to have these count as a club meeting, advisors MUST register in advance for a breakout room HERE: https://osu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0UkEjx3PVzdDdbv. You may also choose to request the recording to play as an activity during your club meeting!

Officer Training Resources: Visit https://ohio4h.org/officerresources for some brand new officer training resources! We were excited to add these new resources under the “Officer Resources” tab. These resources are quick guides that offer information on the importance of campaigning for club offices, officer position descriptions, and tips for holding elections

Club Achievement Packets: Make sure you are picking up your club achievement packets at the extension office! If you plan to meet with your club, be sure to follow the Ohio 4-H Guidelines. Contact Frances with any questions. This goes for any meetings, fundraisers, community service, and other get-togethers!

Background Checks: If you are up for a background check this year, you have received an email from Arlene in December and will receive a follow up in the mail again soon. Please get this done ASAP! These are due February 28th. Be sure to re-enroll in 4-H Online BEFORE you get your check completed. Contact the Extension Office with questions.

4-H Online Update: Enrollment is now open on our NEW system! Visit oh.4honline.com, same link as usual, and log in with your same informationand submit your enrollment. Contact our office with any questions. If you forgot your password, contact us to reset it. DO NOT create a new account for you or any of your families!


Be sure to check Ohio4H.org for the most recent state 4-H information and follow the “Ohio State – 4-H Youth Development” Facebook page!