In Washington County, 4-H is a family affair where everyone is involved in the learning, the business, and the fun.

“4-H is one of the largest youth organizations in the county, providing many life skills,” said Jeremy Barth, a life-long 4-Her. “4-H has taught me a lot, from leadership and communication skills to public speaking.”

Jeremy was a member of the 4-H for ten years prior to becoming a volunteer. Earlier this month, Jeremy and his colleagues were honored when Jeremiah’s Coffee House was named the 2019 Ohio Friend of 4-H. “4-H is the backbone of who I am,” he said.

4-H is delivered through a community of more than 100 public universities across the nation to empower young people with the skills to lead. Almost six million kids participate in 4-H clubs, gaining valuable life experience, engaging in civil discourse, and advocating for equity and inclusion for all.

In Washington County, the organization is coordinated by the OSU Extension office and led with help from volunteers, like Jeremy. “We are lucky to have our own 4-H Camp, while many counties have to travel two or three counties away for 4-H camp. We also have three fairs to display the hard work and accomplishments these kids have worked on during the year,” he said.

Without volunteers, many of these programs wouldn’t be possible. Charlotte Wagner, of Lowell, is the longest 4-H adviser and volunteer currently living in the state of Ohio. “Not only was she a 4-Her when she was a kid, she has continued to serve the organization as a volunteer for 72 years,” said Jeremy. “She has seen 4-H change over the years and is the first one in line to provide guidance or a helping hand. Charlotte truly embodies the 4-H motto, ‘To Make the Best Better.'”

Through 28 individual clubs in Washington County, 4-Hers have been making an impact on the region for years through community service, leadership development, and skill building. The 4-H Endowment Committee was established to provide for the program and help raise funds to send 4-Hers to different camps and experiences across Ohio and even nationwide.

Held annually since 2002, the Endowment Dinner proceeds have allowed 4-Hers to participate in trips, camps, and other learning experiences, as well as for adult volunteers to receive training to lead 4-Hers.

“It’s important to support our local 4-H organization,” said Andrea Ralston, Public Relations/Marketing for the Washington County 4-H Endowment Committee, “because of the lifelong skills developed through both the actual projects 4-Hers take on a variety of subjects as well as the practical skills of time-management, public speaking, leadership, and citizenship to name a few.”

The 2019 Washington County 4-H Endowment Dinner and Auction will be held on Saturday, April 6th at the Washington County Jr. Fair Building. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. for the Silent Auction.

Dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m. with the Live Auction starting at 7:30 p.m. Dinner includes a choice of grilled NY strip steak or grilled chicken breast with salad, green beans, baked potato, roll, dessert, and beverages. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 per adult, and $10 per youth 19 years of age & under.

“People enjoy attending the dinner each year because it’s a family friendly event with great food, auction items, and plenty of time to visit with friends,” said Andrea.

To purchase tickets, call the OSU Extension Office at 740-376-7431. Check out the 4-H Facebook page to find out more about the Washington County 4-H Endowment and to see some of the auction items as they become available.