One of the state’s largest and oldest youth organizations recently made it easier for young people to join with the introduction of a new online registration system.
Jackson County 4-H officials hope that the new system — available at in.4honline.com — will lead to an increase in membership.
“This year we had 741 kids enrolled, and we’d like to be at 800,” said Amy Nierman, the 4-H youth development educator Jackson County. Her job is to coordinate local 4-H activities.
The enrollment period for 4-H, designed to provide educational programs to help young people reach their potential, continues through Jan. 15.
Indiana 4-H is the state’s largest youth development program for Grades 3-12, reaching more than 200,000 youth in all of the state’s 92 counties, according to a news release from the county’s Purdue Extension office.
In Jackson County, approved adult volunteers teach young people specific skills related to a wide variety of subjects through hands-on, experiential learning. Youth also have the chance to develop leadership and citizenship skills by participating in one of the 37 organized 4-H clubs.
The variety of subjects available range from science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to agriculture to citizenship. Other subject areas include healthy living, the arts, consumer and family sciences and more.
In 2013, a Tufts University study showed 4-H members also excel in positive youth development areas compared to peers, including:
Four times more likely to contribute to their communities (Grades 7 through 12)
Two times more likely to make healthier choices (Grade 7)
Two times more likely to be civically active (Grades 8 to 12)
Two times more likely to participate in extracurricular STEM programs (Grades 10 to 12)
The new 4-H online system, used in several states, across the country, also is used to register for events, plan calendars and allows for secure payment of fees and replaces an older system, Nierman said.
Local youths also may register by visiting the Jackson County Purdue Extension office at the courthouse at 111 S. Main St., Brownstown, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
The fee is $20 per child and $5 for mini 4-Hers. That also includes all Indiana 4-H program fees.
To join 4-H or for information, call 812-358-6101 or visit the Jackson County Extension Office at 111 S. Main St., Brownstown. You may also enroll online at in.4honline.com