Guest Editorial: 4-H is for everyone!

Sadie and Piper Passwaters, members of the Tomorrow River Voyagers 4-H Club, were all smiles showing their crafts made at the 4-H booth during Celebrate Amherst.

By Deb Helbach, Portage County 4-H Leaders Association President and Tomorrow River Voyagers 4-H Club General Leader

When you think of 4-H, what comes to mind?

Unfortunately, one of the misconceptions that many seem to have is that 4-H is just for kids who live on farms and only involves showing crops and animals at the local fairs.

I’d like to address that misconception and let you know that 4-H is for everyone. It is one of the nation’s largest youth development organizations that has been around for more than 100 years and has nearly six million members from rural, suburban, and urban areas.

Its motto is to “Make The Best Better!” 4-H welcomes youth and their families of all beliefs and backgrounds. It is family friendly and welcomes youth from kindergarten to one year past high school.

In addition to crops and animals, there are many project areas that youth can be involved in, including cultural arts, electricity, natural science, photography, youth leadership, and so much more!

The highlight of the 4-H year for many is showcasing their projects at state and county fairs. Through 4-H, youth have a place of belonging, can build connections with other youth, develop life skills, and learn how to give back to their communities. There are also opportunities for travel, county contests, and other fun activities.

Portage County has thirteen 4-H clubs. If you’d like to learn more about 4-H and how to enroll, please go to and click on the “4-H Youth” tab. Or you can reach out to the Portage County Extension Office at (715) 346-1320, and they will be happy to further answer your questions.

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