4-H PetPals Project Opportunity

PetPALS (“People and Animals Linking Successfully”) was created as an intergenerational program of The Ohio State University Extension to connect youth and their pets with senior adults. The project has evolved to include connections with at-risk youth, schools, and hospitals.

Through the PetPALS project, 4-H volunteers teach youth the skills needed to participate in animal-assisted activities in the community. Youth learn about the physical changes associated with aging, along with basic medical conditions they may encounter when visiting different types of facilities.

The project involves a 10-step lesson program with PetPALS county club leaders; the project prepares youth to certify their animals to visit facilities with the club. Animals selected for the project must be people-oriented, predictable, and inspire confidence in those whom the club visits. Dogs participating in the project must pass their American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. Other animals, such as cats and rabbits, need to pass the Socialized 4-H PetPALS test, which is similar to the CGC test. Certifications and facility visits are built into the PetPALS curriculum as part of the project completion. (The CGC test is not a full therapy certification, but a common facility requirement to host dogs.)

Hooves and Paws 4-H Club hosts the PetPALS project in Muskingum County with advisors Heather Jackson and Lisa Marshall, who are certified PetPALS leaders. The club began in 2018 to help launch the PetPALS project in the county. Facility partnerships have included The Oaks at Bethesda, Avondale Youth Center, and the Muskingum County Center for Seniors. The project has been on hold in the club since the pandemic, with plans of relaunching this year.

For more information about PetPALS, contact hoovesandpaws2018@gmail.com. The club welcomes new 4-H members to enroll in the project. Interested Muskingum County youth currently enrolled in a club can join Hooves and Paws as a secondary club for the project. The PetPALS project is found on p. 36 of the 2024 Family Guide, book #230.

USDA Youth Loans Available

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) makes operating loans of up to $5,000 to eligible individual youths ages 10 to 20 to finance income-producing, agriculture-related projects. The project must be of modest size, educational, and initiated, developed, and carried out by youths participating in 4-H clubs, FFA, tribal youth organizations, or similar agricultural-affiliated groups.

More information: Youth Loan Fact Sheet

Local Contact:

Tina Mellinger, Farm Loan Officer

Muskingum/Morgan County Office



The Winning 4-H Plan: Accommodations for Youth with Disabilities due April 15

The Winning 4-H Plan assists Extension professionals and volunteers by providing resources to aid them in developing accommodation plans to meet the needs of Ohio 4-H youth with disabilities. Please see page 7 of the Muskingum County 4-H Owner’s Manual for more information.

Members who have previously submitted a request form do not need to submit again. The Extension Office will contact enrolled youth with a Winning 4-H Plan from the previous year in April to ask for any requested changes. If no changes are requested, accommodations will be listed as they were the previous year. If the member was not in 4-H last year, please contact the office so the previous plan can be updated.

Access the form: go.osu.edu/muskw4hplan.

4-H Membership Across County Lines – Submit by March 15

Youth are expected to affiliate with the 4-H program in their county of residence or receive approval for membership outside their county of residence.

4-H Membership Across County Lines Request – The request form must be completed by any youth requesting 4-H membership in Muskingum County when their primary residence is located in another county. Once granted, the permission for membership across county lines shall be permanent and stable for the duration of the youth’s 4-H membership. This means the youth does not need to apply each year. It also means that once granted, they cannot change counties unless circumstances change. If the youth’s circumstances change (e.g., residence, school, or custody), the cross county lines membership can be reevaluated.

Be sure to review the policy, as there are specific reasons a request can be approved and specific reasons it cannot be: 4-H Membership Across County Lines Policy. Find the request form online: go.osu.edu/muskacl. It is strongly recommended this form is submitted by March 15.