Hamilton County’s 4-H enrollment continues to increase and officials are hopeful to meet a milestone before the summer. Hamilton County 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator Kathleen Bohde said the county is just nine members away from 2,000 members.
“This is the start of the 4-H season for 2012, and the enrollment period has been very strong,” she said. “We hope to hit that goal this year.”
While enrollment numbers across the state are still being figured, Bohde said Hamilton County has one of the larger programs and estimates it as the third or fourth largest in Indiana.
Hamilton County officials are particularly pleased to see enrollment numbers continue to steadily increase, especially this year, when the enrollment fees increased from $10 to $25 – with a maximum family amount of $75. Bohde said the Hamilton County 4-H Council offered funds to provide scholarships for families with financial hardships.
“We were concerned about 4-H numbers decreasing,” she said. “Costs did not deter from participation in the program. It’s a hands-on learning opportunity the whole family can be a part of.”
Starting this year, the state 4-H program implemented an annual $15 state 4-H program fee that will be collected from all 4-H members. All of these funds will be used for the Indiana 4-H program. The other $10 is the county enrollment fee, which is used to support the Hamilton County 4-H program.
“The statewide fee for funding helps support the 4-H program as revenues and budgets have been tightened,” Bohde said.
March 1 was the enrollment deadline for re-enrolling youth, but members can still sign up. However, the highest placing they can receive for projects at the county 4-H fair is a blue ribbon, and they are not eligible to advance to the state fair. Bohde said brand new youth have until June 1 to enroll.
“We’re still accepting 4-H’ers enrollment in the office or online,” she said.
Bohde explained the March enrollment deadline was to provide youth the opportunities to attend club meetings, project workshops and summer camps.
4-H is an informal educational program in which youth in grades three through 12 “Learn by Doing.” Youth can learn life skills such as cooperation, leadership, decision-making, responsibility and more through hands-on projects in more than 60 different subject areas. Mini 4-H is available for students in first and second grade. There is no fee for Mini 4-Hers.
For more information and an enrollment card, stop by the Purdue Extension Hamilton County office on the 4-H Grounds, 2003 Pleasant St., Noblesville, or call 776-0854. Information and enrollment is also available online at www.ag.purdue.edu/counties/hamilton.