When many of us think of 4-H, our first thought is the Logan County Fair - between livestock shows and style revues, this is the week when young people from all over Logan County can showcase their projects, many of which take months to prepare for. Celebrating 100 years in our community this year, the Logan County 4-H Program has long been a way for youth to learn life skills. But Logan County Ohio State Extension, which facilitates the 4-H program in our community, does so much more.
Logan County Ohio State Extension is a county office of The Ohio State University's Cooperative Extension Service. The passage of the Morrill Act in 1862 supplied each state a university to provide education to citizens in agricultural and mechanical fields. These colleges are known as land-grant universities, and The Ohio State University serves as Ohio's land-grant university. In 1914, Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act to establish the Cooperative Extension Service, which is a network of educators who "extend" university knowledge to people throughout the country. Cooperative Extension is an educational partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the nation's land-grant universities.
The Logan County 4-H program got its start in 1921 with the hiring of its first 4-H Educator. Children ages 5-19 are eligible to enroll in 4-H, which provides a wide range of opportunities for education and development through hands-on activities. Since beginning 100 years ago, Logan County 4-H has come a long way, now offering projects in 200+ topics including mental health, robotics, welding, cooking, and more. The program also offers school activities that teach everything from financial literacy to chick embryology and computer coding.
Logan County’s current 4-H Educator, Justin Bower, began his tenure in August 2018 after graduating from The Ohio State University with a degree in Community Leadership. Originally from Arlington, Justin’s passion for 4-H grew into an interest to serve on behalf of OSU Extension. “4-H had such an impact on me and my community,” shared Justin. “I watched 4-H give youth an opportunity to be involved with something big and that taught actual life skills by encouraging learning with skills like welding, woodworking, cooking, sewing, first aid, agriculture and more.” In 2020, Justin was given a statewide “Achievement in Service” award by the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals for his service to the 4-H program. He was a Team Regional Award Winner for Excellence in Healthy Living Programming for his work developing the 2019 Ohio 4-H Mental Health Retreat. He was most recently a keynote speaker for the 2021 National 4-H Conference.
The network of Ohio State Extension offices offers additional services to communities, including Ag & Natural Resources, Community Development, and Family & Consumer Sciences. Logan County Extension also offers Master Gardener training, which teaches participants comprehensive plant science and engages them in volunteer gardening activities throughout the community.
The Logan County Fair will be held July 11-17 at the Logan County Fairgrounds on South Main Street in Bellefontaine. More information is available at locofair.org.
To learn more about Logan County Ohio State Extension, visit logan.osu.edu or follow them on Facebook. You can also follow Logan County 4-H on Facebook.
Please join us in congratulating Logan County Ohio State Extension for being named our July 2021 Member of the Month and for 100 years of 4-H in Logan County!