Van Wert Co. Jr. Fair Update – 4/22/2020

​ Attention all Van Wert County Fair Jr. Fair Exhibitors,

Thank you for your patience as we work on updates regarding the 2020 Van Wert County Jr. Fair. We want everyone to stay positive as we all navigate through uncertain circumstances. Many people want to know if there will be a 2020 Jr. Fair. We would like to give a definite answer but we all know it is not that simple and may not be our decision to make. Senior Fair Board and Jr. Fair Board advisory met to discuss options and we want to reassure Jr. Fair members that we will be conducting a Jr. Fair Show and Livestock Sale for 2020 with appropriate back up plans as deemed necessary by the Governor. We will have an opportunity for youth to show their livestock either traditionally or through virtual options.

We also wish to reassure youth taking livestock projects that there will be market and sale premium opportunities made available to them regardless of the status of the fair.  For those youth involved in still projects through 4-H and FFA we will also be working hard to allow those youth opportunities to exhibit and receive premiums (as well as awards) through the Jr. Fair program. Please note that we will still also be crowning a Jr. Fair King & Queen as well as Royalty and applications will be available soon.

Jr. Fair members can check for up to date information by going to,, , or through the Jr. Fair Facebook page at

While we are dealing with uncertain times we hope that we can reassure you that we are working very hard for the “Show to go on!”. We look forward to everyone joining us for the 2020 Van Wert County Jr. Fair September 1 through September 7. If you have any immediate questions you can contact any of the following Jr. Fair Board Advisors or the Senior Fair Board office at (419) 238-9270.



Ryan Mohr, Jr. Fair Coordinator (419) 203-8566

Nick Wolford, Jr. Fair Sale Coordinator (419) 302-5055

Heather Gottke, 4-H Educator (419) 979-6412



Summer Programming Status

​Dear 4-H Families, Volunteers, and Supporters,

I know that many of you have lots of questions following last night’s email from our State Leader, Kirk Bloir. We spoke with Camp Counselors last night to break the news and it was the most heartbreaking conversation I’ve had in my 11 years here with Van Wert County 4-H. I am so proud of the counselors for the way they handled the news. If you have a (human) 4-H camper at home, please look at the link in the 4-H Camp section below about doing a Camper Pen Pal! It isn’t a replacement, but I hope it helps keep our 4-H Camp Bonds.

4-H Meetings

Face-to-Face 4-H meetings can resume on July 6, 2020. I am encouraging advisors to try Remind, Facebook, and maybe even a few Zooms to communicate! Those of you who are familiar with these (even if you aren’t a volunteer) if you could offer help that would be beneficial. If you add me to your Facebook groups, then I can snag cool videos and share them with others!

Still Project Judging

We will do judging with 4-H Projects and Project Judging for all projects.I fully plan to do judging (hopefully face-to-face, but possible virtually), give away trophies (not virtual ones, I promise!), select winners, etc. Still projects will stay the same. Use this time to get them worked on and make them amazing!

Black Inc. Projects

I am moving forward with Black Inc. Judging! Please keep an eye out for the applications so you can get an early start.

Ohio State Fair

I do not know about any changes to Ohio State Fair as of now. As soon as a decision is made, I will be sure to communicate with you.

4-H Camp

As you read last night, we will not be doing 4-H Camp this year. We are still shocked from this decision and I have no real updates at this point to share. If you would like to participate in a pen pal exchange with a fellow Van Wert Camper, please fill out the following survey:

Van Wert County Fair

There have been no changes communicated as of right now for the Van Wert County Fair. All Van Wert County Fair decisions will be made by their Board in collaboration with the health department. There is quite a bit of time between now and then and we are committed to assisting the Fair Board in making this fair great! Please know that I cannot give you guidance on whether or not to purchase your animal for fair. I would encourage you to have a family conversation about the project, projected costs, and ability to care for the project this summer. We will have judging for those who choose to move forward with their livestock projects, awards for skillathons, and I am fully committed to doing everything I can to support those youth who continue their Livestock Projects. In short terms, Livestock projects please proceed knowing there are unknowns, as of right now the shows are not canceled.

Turkey Order

We are taking turkey orders through this coming Monday, April 13, 2020 (Extended from this Friday). Please use the following link to tell me what you would like to order.

If you have already emailed me or texted your order – please check your email (later) today for a confirmation email with your order. Let me know if it is wrong or needs updated at

Livestock Quality Assurance

We will not be conducting the face-to-face session #2 for Livestock Quality Assurance in June. I have an update tonight on Zoom for 4-H Professionals. At this time, online QA is open to ALL ages at the cost of $12.00 a person. If you wish to complete this you can, I will know more tonight.

Information for Online Certification in 2020

The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Youth for the Quality Care for Animals (YQCA) has endorsed the following option for youth who are officially enrolled in a 4-H and/or FFA livestock/food animal project.

Youth who intend to show their project animal(s) for exhibition (e.g., county or state fair) have the option to complete an on-line YQCA session. For the training to meet the Ohio Youth Food Animal QA requirement for the project year:

  1. Youth MUST be 12 years of older as of January 1, of the current year (4-H Age). NOTE THIS RULE HAS BEEN LIFTED FOR 2020! Any age can complete.
  2. The on-line module completed MUST be the correct 4-H age for the youth.
  3. The on-line session must be completed at least 45 days prior to the start of exhibition.
  4. Youth must complete the on-line session within the QA calendar year (October 1-September 31)

Other Notes:

  • The other online courses do NOT meet the Ohio Youth Food Animal QA Certification (ie. BQA, PQA, BEST, etc.)
  • You can go to the following website to take the age-appropriate online module for $12.00 (for each child).
  • Youth will need their 4-H Online login and password or they can create their own login and poassword (Please use 4-H Online if you are a 4-H Member). Youth must register using 4-H Online for their results to automatically show up.
  • YQCA test-outs are NOT an option at this time.

Events Coming Up

I will have more guidance on events and what I am permitted to do and how to move forward with them for the future. I will be sure to communicate with you all at least once a week with updates, and as soon as possible with updates about any of the unknowns above.

·Shaved Ice: The trailer will not be able to participate in any activities until after July 6, 2020

·Chicken BBQ: Will most likely need postponed, getting further clarification from the State.

In Closing

I know we have changed directions a lot in the last 4 (four) weeks. I know it is frustrating, sad, and downright stressful. Please know that I am doing everything I can to answer all your questions, keep clear communications, and make this as easy as possible. If you have questions, you can always ask me via email, text, or Facebook. I have developed a survey you can put your questions in to help me keep track of questions and ensure that I have answered them all. I ask that while we are working through all of this for what feels like the 100th time, please keep us in your thoughts. This summer will look and feel different than the last 10 summers of 4-H. The situation is a moving target and we are trying very hard to serve all of you as best as we can.


Do you have questions? Feel free to use this survey and I will get back with you (as long as you leave contact information). I will be going through email and text messages today to make sure I haven’t missed any questions, but you can ask questions again by going to the following link.

I will be posting FAQ as we get them to Facebook at and on our site at

If you haven’t already, please sign up for the Remind service to get text messages information when we send or post relevant information.

Please text @vanwert4h to the number 81010

They’ll receive a welcome text from Remind.
If anyone has trouble with 81010, they can try texting @vanwert4h to (419) 482-1735.

COVID-19 Update on Summer 4-H Programming

Below is a message from our Assistant Director of 4-H Youth Development, Dr. Kirk Bloir


Heather Gottke, 4-H Educator

Rachel Hoverman, 4-H Program Coordinator

Deb Knapke, 4-H Office Associate

Dear 4-H members, families, volunteers and supporters,

It is with a heavy heart that I share this news with you. Due to ongoing health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision has been made to cancel all Ohio State University Extension in-person programming through July 6. This includes all 4-H programs, activities, and events. Additionally, we’ve made the very difficult decision to cancel all 4-H camps thru August 31. Although in-person programming is cancelled, we will continue to offer virtual 4-H experiences.

We know this is an incredible disappointment and recognize how much everyone looks forward to our cherished 4-H summer events. As 4-H professionals committed to providing positive youth development programming, we share your sense of loss.

Given available information, we anticipate the next few weeks and months will continue to be critical times for stemming the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It is our duty to keep ourselves and those we serve safe through the education we provide and the modeling of safety-conscious behaviors. We do not want to get to the other side of this pandemic and wish that we had done more to keep our future generation of leaders safe and healthy.

While we are making decisions regarding the youth events we organize and manage (such as camps and 4-H project judging), we are deferring to local decision-makers and Governor DeWine’s administration on the events owned by others, such as county fairs. Our decision to cancel in-person 4-H activities and events through July 6 and summer camps, should not automatically imply that local county fairs are also canceled at this time. Please keep in mind that 4-H and our FFA colleagues support the education and development of youth, but the decision about whether fairs will occur is in the hands of others. This continues to be an evolving situation that will require some negotiation and monitoring depending on decisions. We will be ready should fairs move forward and to pivot if they are cancelled.

As we work through the impact of these decisions for 4-H activities and events in the weeks ahead, county OSU Extension 4-H professionals will share important updates and information with you as we develop and provide new online opportunities. We know the experiences will be different than we had hoped, yet we remain committed to working together to grow future generations of true leaders.

Yours in service to 4-H,


Ohio 4-H Friday – Van Wert Session

Today we did a quick session of Get Started in Art! You can find more information on the book at 

A couple resources I mentioned (not an endorsement, just to help) 

From the Project Book (which will be released as at home 4-H Project, subject to change):

Finally, the activity that I adapted from is on Page 33 and is called, “Perspective Patchwork”.

You’ll need

  • Cardboard: (I used 12×12)
  • Card stock/ thicker paper:  4 peices of 6 inches x 6 inches)
  • Markers, Pens, Pencils, Crayons, Paint, etc. to decorate
  • Suggested one black marker to draw outline with (Sharpie is best, but suggested easy cleanup for younger youth)
  • Adhesive, tape/glue

Page 11 – “Make a Color Wheel” 

  • Define what Complementary and Analogous Colors Mean
  • Explore what Hue means.
  • What are Warm and Cool Colors?

(You’ll have to download the book for full details)







For those who want to watch the full tutorial see the video on facebook at


Calendar of Virtual Field Trips for Families 

This information has been re-formatted for a blog post. To see the original please click this link. 

March/April 2020

3/23- San Diego Zoo

3/24- The Louvre in France – Egyptian Antiquities

3/25- The Great Wall of China

3/26 Boston Children’s Museum

3/27- Canadian Egg Farm

3/30- Guggenheim Museum, New York

3/31- Live Webcams from the Georgia Aquarium

4/1- Mars (Google) Mars (NASA)

4/2- Yellowstone National Park – visit several locations in the park.

4/3- Hubble Control Center – Lobby Hubble Control Center– Operations Room (NASA)

**Want to add a LEGO engineering challenge each day, too?  Please CLICK HERE  for the 30 day LEGO challenge from

Daily activities (weekdays only):

April 2020

4/6- How Science Powers Us – Tour of a pharmaceutical lab

4/7- Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Museum at Home videos)

4/8- The Louvre in France – The Apollo Gallery

4/9- Discover Hawaii (takes a bit to load so please be patient)

4/10- Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

4/13- Future U. – Visit Johnson Space Center and meet Boeing employees

4/14- Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

4/15- The National Gallery, U.K

4/16- Canadian Apple Orchard

4/17- St. Louis Aquarium Galleries

4/20- Stanley Black and Decker Makerspace

4/21- The Louvre in France – History of the Louvre

4/22- Space Shuttle Discovery

4/23- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

4/24- National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

4/27- National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea

4/28- Monterey Bay Aquarium Live Animal Cams

4/29- Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

4/30- Soar with Wings – exploring social/emotional health

5/1- STEM Careers – Improving Animal Health

May 2020

5/4- Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

5/5- Van Gogh Museum, Netherlands

5/6- Teaching with Testimony – #strongerthanhate

5/7- Polar Bears in the Tundra

5/8- Careers that Count – with the NBA

5/11- Discover Your HAPPY

5/12- Undeniably Dairy-  Visit a Dairy Farm

5/13- J. Paul Getty Museum, California

5/14- Yosemite National Park, California

5/15- Technology in Agriculture – Feeding the Growing Globe

5/18-Celebrate 400 Years of Shakespeare

5/19- Dig into Mining

5/20- Smithsonian’s National Zoo Webcams

5/21- Colonial Williamsburg Webcams

5/22- Star Atlas – explore over 60,000 stars


Memorial Day

5/26- The Great Lakes

5/27- Powering the Planet – Renewable Energy

5/28- Borneo – The Symphony of the Rain Forest

5/29- Ellis Island

** Want more LEGO Challenges – click here for 31 more LEGO challenges  from

4-H Update on COVID-19 related changes

Message from Kirk Bloir,
OSU Extension Assistant Director & State 4-H Leader

If you have questions specific to Van Wert County 4-H please contact:
Heather at, Rachel at, or Deb at

Dear 4-H Families, Volunteers, and Supporters,

It’s hard to believe that just three weeks ago we were preparing to welcome 1200 volunteers and teens to the annual Ohio 4-H Youth Conference in Columbus. We know much has changed since that time for all of us, but what hasn’t changed is the commitment of Ohio’s 4-H professionals to the youth in their counties.

I want to update you with information about how the 4-H program is moving forward during this global pandemic. One week ago, county OSU Extension offices temporarily closed to help reduce opportunities for the virus to continue to spread. 4-H professionals and their OSU Extension colleagues worked quickly to transition their materials and resources to be able to continue working from their homes. In just a few short days, they connected with you via email, began offering virtual meetings and regularly updated web sites and social media with current information and resources. I could not be prouder of their willingness to handle this challenge and seek ways in which to keep 4-H programming alive and well.

For many of our families, virtual (or online) meetings seem to be working well, however I recognize it doesn’t work for everyone due to accessibility issues in parts of the state. We are continuing to explore options and will share solutions in the next few weeks. In the meantime, there are tip sheets for club leaders with options and ideas for holding virtual club meetings at Keep checking this site, because we will continue to add information to help you.

We know the spread of coronavirus also presents great uncertainty about upcoming 4-H events—Will camps happen this summer? Will we be able to exhibit our projects at fairs? What about project judging? And the answer is that right now, we just don’t know. At this point, all 4-H activities, club meetings, events and programs must be held virtually or cancelled until May 15. The situation is dynamic and changes daily, so we will continue to monitor conditions and reevaluate as needed. This ban may need to extend beyond May 15. During this time of unprecedented health concerns, we will work together to keep you updated and informed.

We understand concerns that some fairs may not be able to take place this year due to the global pandemic health emergency. Any decision to cancel a local fair, festival, parade or other large group gatherings will be made by those authorized to protect the health and well-being of all Ohioans. 4-H members and their families should consider a number of factors as they make their decisions to purchase 4-H market livestock projects. Risks and rewards must be taken into account. For example, we encourage families to consider their overall available budget, space to care for livestock, availability of alternative markets, availability of local processing, family freezer space, and needs of local food pantries.

OSU Extension and 4-H will continue working together to support our 4-H members, families, volunteers and local partners, including senior fair boards, classroom teachers, and magistrates, as we navigate this health emergency. As Governor DeWine shared earlier this week, we are “in this together Ohio.” Thank you for your continued patience and perseverance.

Yours in service to 4-H,

Kirk Bloir

Assistant Director, OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development

Please be advised our physical office is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.I am working remotely during this time and responding to phone, email, and voice messages during normal office hours. (8 am – 4:30 pm) Thank you for your patience, understanding and support during these unique and challenging times.

Heather L. Gottke, M.S.
Educator, 4-H Youth Development
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Extension
1055 S Washington St, Van Wert, OH 45891
419-979-6412 Mobile (text or call okay) /

A Guide to 4-H Written by Someone Who is Still Figuring it All Out

By Rachel Hoverman, Program Coordinator, 4-H Youth Development

Perhaps your child brought home 4-H promotional items from school or has befriended someone whose family has been in 4-H for generations and now they want to get involved. The information that came home is confusing to you and your child’s friends’ parents aren’t helping. Now what? Are you hoping the papers get buried and your kid forgets about it? Let me try and sort some things out for you.

What the heck is 4-H?

4-H is the largest positive youth development organization in the country. 4-H welcomes ALL young people, empowering them to create positive change in their communities. In 4‑H, kids complete  hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and civic engagement where they receive guidance from adults and are encouraged to take on leadership roles.

To break it down, 4-H members join a club, attend meetings, choose a project, attend an interview and show off their project at the county fair.

  1. Joining a club: Ask you county professional for a list of 4-H clubs. Read it over. Find a club that meets near your home, in your child’s school or church or one that has an adviser that you like. Your child can join any club you want within the county. If you want them to join a club in a different county, there’s some paperwork that you’ll have to do.
  2. Attend meetings: Most clubs hold meetings once or twice a month. Meetings have four parts: project work, business, recreation and social activities and special interest programs (a guest speaker or field trip).
  3. Choosing a project: Someone might ask your child what project she wants to “take”. This is what they will work on, on their own, for that 4-H year. They can literally do anything they are interested in. Your adviser will order a coordinating project book that will be your child’s manual. Over 200 projects are listed in the Family Guide publication.
  4. Attending an interview: For your child to complete their project, they will have to attend an interview session. We call it “judging”. Your child will make a poster-board display explaining their project or bring something they made. Your child will talk with an adult about their project and the adult will ask a few questions. Interviews last 10-15 minutes. Your child may win a ribbon or be selected to take their project to the state fair.
  5. County Fair: 4-H members will display their completed project at the county fair and receive a small cash prize for doing so. The county fair is the end of the 4-H year for most members.

So that’s the basics, here’s the answers to a few more questions you may have:

  • When should I sign my child up? The deadline to get signed up for 4-H is April 1st (You might start to receive promotional materials in February and March). By April 1st, your child should be signed up with a club and have picked a project.
  • How much is this going to cost me? Project books usually cost around $6.00, the club may have dues (usually around $10.00) and you may need to buy supplies for your poster-board display for the interview. If you’re not sure you can manage these costs, I can help you get them covered.
  • What ages can participate? Basically children 8-19 can be 4-H members. (Officially, they need to be 8 and in the third grade or 9 and in any grade, when it’s time to get signed up). Your 4-H membership ends December 31st of the year you turn 19.
  • Can younger children get involved? Children 5-8 (and at least in Kindergarten) can participate as “Cloverbuds”. This just means that they don’t do the competitive side of 4-H, like the judging or taking an animal to the fair. They still attend meetings but are given some different things to do.

This is a pretty basic guide to an organization that has many facets. As your child gets older, they might want to attend 4-H camp or join a specialty club. You get to choose the level of involvement you’re comfortable with. Whatever you decide, 4-H is a great way for your child to learn more about something they are interested in, in a low-cost, hands-on, social way.

Are you wanting a little more information? Please fell free to call your county 4-H professionals. We love to talk about 4-H and what we think it does for kids! You can also pick up a state and county Family Guide and visit the state and county 4-H websites.  or We also have an app and a Facebook page!





#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s #GivingTuesday is today, December 3, 2019, and kicks off the giving season by inspiring people to collaborate and give back.

On #GivingTuesday (TODAY ONLY) individuals and businesses have the opportunity to donate to one or multiple Foundation held Charitable Organization Endowment Funds – essentially doubling the gift with a match from The Foundation. A Charitable Organization Endowment Fund is established by a charitable organization to provide support for the agency’s exempt purposes. The original gifted amount (principal) is permanently preserved. Income generated from gifts will benefit the named charitable organizations forever.

To give to The Van Wert County Foundation #GivingTuesday initiative, you can donate online via GoFund Me by going to 

You can deliver a check or cash donation to The Van Wert County Foundation office located at 138 E. Main St., Van Wert, OH 45891 today only from 8 am – 5 pm and enjoy coffee, hot cocoa, and donuts. (Post adapted from email from the Van Wert County Foundation.

2020 Show Steer, Performance Steer & Dairy Steer Weigh-In

The Junior Fair Board has set the date/time for the 2019 show steer, performance steer and dairy steer weigh-in. Please mark your calendars for Saturday January 11, from 9:00am-11:00am at the Junior Fair Beef Barn on the Fairgrounds. Animals not in line to be weighed at the end of the time may be disqualified from participation in the 2020 Van Wert County Jr. Fair. Exhibitors may allow someone else to weigh in their animals for them if they are unable to be present for the weigh in.

Please note: If you are planning to exhibit your steers at the Ohio State Fair you are responsible for information required to be submitted by January 15th, 2020, the Extension office has a few packets available for pickup.

Exhibitors should plan to come in the gate next to the Extension office and leave through gate 4 (livestock gate during fair) to help with the flow of traffic.  Be prepared to wait as the process takes a bit longer than the other weigh ins, but feel free to come in and help with other exhibitors and the Jr. Fair Board to help us ensure the process goes as quickly as possible!

Please help us to inform others that may be taking show, dairy, or performance steers this coming year. It is especially important for those who are exhibiting these animals for the first time.  We will try our best to have lists of previous participants, but we have no way to knowing who might be exhibiting for 2020. Please contact the Extension office at (419) 238-1214 or by emailing me at the address below.

 4-H and Tractor Supply Kick Off Fall Paper Clover Campaign in Van Wert, Ohio 

Visit your local Tractor Supply this fall and purchase a paper clover to help Van Wert County 4-H members attend 4-H camps and leadership events.

Van Wert, OH (October 9, 2019) – Every year, 4-Her’s in Van Wert County participate in a number of 4-H programs to help position them with the skills they need to succeed in their life and career. This fall, local Van Wert Tractor Supply stores are continuing their long-standing partnership with 4-H for the 2019 Fall Paper Clover Campaign to make it possible for more youth in the community to experience 4-H’s youth-led, hands-on programming.

October 9-20, 2019 Van  Tractor Supply customers can participate in the 2019 Fall Paper Clover campaign by purchasing paper clovers for $1 or more at checkout. The funds raised will be awarded as scholarships to individual Van Wert County 4-H members wishing to attend 4-H camps and leadership conferences across the country. The number of scholarships distributed to students following the fall campaign will be determined based on the total amount raised.

Since it began in 2010, the partnership between National Tractor Supply and 4-H has generated more than $14,500,000 in essential funding across the nation. The fundraising effort directly supports numerous 4-H programs in Van Wert County as well.

About 4-H

4‑H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for career tomorrow. 4‑H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4‑H is the youth development program of our nation’s Cooperative Extension System and USDA, and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4‑H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4‑H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.

Learn more about 4‑H at www.4‑, find Van Wert County 4-H on Facebook at WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/VANWERT4‑H

About Tractor Supply

Founded in 1938, Tractor Supply Company is the largest rural lifestyle retail store chain in the United States.  At July 1, 2017, the Company operated 1,630 Tractor Supply stores in 49 states and an e-commerce website at  Tractor Supply stores are focused on supplying the lifestyle needs of recreational farmers and ranchers and others who enjoy the rural lifestyle, as well as tradesmen and small businesses.  Stores are located primarily in towns outlying major metropolitan markets and in rural communities.  The Company offers the following comprehensive selection of merchandise: (1) equine, livestock, pet and small animal products, including items necessary for their health, care, growth and containment; (2) hardware, truck, towing and tool products; (3) seasonal products, including heating, lawn and garden items, power equipment, gifts and toys; (4) work/recreational clothing and footwear; and (5) maintenance products for agricultural and rural use.