Change is different for 4-H too

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Someone I once worked with liked to say "change is different" and liked to use the words "paradigm shift" and "think outside the box" and you know all of those clichés. There are times one loves change for variety and spice to life ... that certainly occurs in Extension which allows one to enjoy the job as each and every day brings new adventures.

There are other times when change forces one out of the comfort zone and dread sets into action. And then there is the dreaded change for the sake of change. Oh and remember last year when the bridge by the fairgrounds was closed forcing change to entering and exiting the fairgrounds and many discussed impending doom. Yet in the end, it was the best thing that ever happened for entering/exiting the fairgrounds to everyone's surprise.

The current 4-H year has seen plenty of change starting last fall with early enrollment with an online system offering online payment as well. The early enrollment had a benefit of identifying programs to target youth interests. The Putnam 4-H program, thanks to donations from local individuals, initiated a robotics program with four kits that will soon grow to having 10 kits thanks to a grant to Purdue University designed to help jumpstart counties with new programs.

Project workshops continued to grow with new workshop topics offered over an expanded period of several months rather than just a couple of months.

The youth member and animal enrollments went well with few hiccups and the 4-H program has grown from 863 last year to more than 920 this year.

Youth are having fun learning life skills, science and career skills. Last week five youth attend 4-H Roundup on campus at Purdue to gain life and career skills.

The Putnam County Fair is coming up in just a couple of weeks to showcase the knowledge and experiences of youth in the program.

Another change this year is the process of registering exhibits via for the fair. This is particularly important for the Indiana State Fair projects. It also will be a useful tool in future years for developing show bills/programs, replace pen forms and help with communication.

An email went out to all volunteers and 4-H families on Thursday asking to help test this out. In the first day nearly 75 folks entered what they planned to enter into the fair. No one will be left out of the opportunity for exhibiting and the office staff will work with everyone enrolled to help register for the fair.

Besides the 4-H member enrollment, animal enrollment and the fair exhibit registration, many other activities used by 4-Hers went online this year. These include the Putnam County Community Foundation scholarships and the youth Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) program. After FairEntry, another online tool which has not yet been introduced will feature a records component allowing youth to build a resume or online portfolio of their 4-H career. All three steps of 4honline, FairEntry and this final component will be necessary to make this work. If you have any questions or need help with these tasks, don't hesitate to contact the office staff for assistance.

Visit the homepage at or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs.

While many publications are free, some do have a fee.

Upcoming Events

June 29 -- Public Speaking and Demonstration 4-H Contest, Fairgrounds, 5:30 p.m.

June 29 -- Summer judging contests, Fairgrounds, approximately, 6:30 p.m.

July 14 -- Arranging Gardening Flowers, Library, 6 p.m.

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