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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Ohio 4-H Highlights: March 2020

  1. Temporary Changes for Ohio 4-H

    Two fingers holding the stem of a four-leaf clover.

    As you may be aware, The Ohio State University announced the suspension of face-to-face instruction and the move to virtual instruction for the remainder of the semester. Events deemed nonessential are postponed between now and at least May 15, 2020. Based on these guidelines, all in-person meetings of 4-H clubs, committees, advisory groups, and Extension are postponed or canceled until at least May 15. Activities are encouraged to continue virtually when possible.

    These actions are in alignment with necessary precautions recommended by the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Ohio Department of Health.

    Thank you for your patience with your county 4-H staff, the state 4-H office and OSU Extension as we navigate the process. Although this has caused a disruption, 4-H professionals are still working remotely, and many club members are working on their projects.  We’re committed to doing our part to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. We also know that when we choose to act together, we can have incredible positive impacts. 

    If you would like to learn more about the coronavirus and the university’s response, read more here.

    The calendar of events at the end of this newsletter lists virtual events you can easily participate in from your home. Would you like to share with us what 4-H activities you have been doing virtually?  Please send us an email at and we will share them in our next newsletter!

  2. State 4-H Leader Meet-and-Greet

    Kirk meeting with 4-H constituents at a meet and greet in Williams County.

    Dr. Kirk Bloir, the state 4-H leader, recently traveled to Williams County, where he got his start in 4-H. As Dr. Bloir settles into his new role, he wants to make visits to counties to hear from 4-H families and friends. This is the first of several visits that he will continue later this year.

    Kirk visiting with his former advisor and 4-H agent.



    Dr. Bloir also had the opportunity for a reunion with Bob Sachs (red and gray stripes), his retired 4-H agent and Junior Rath (green hat), his former 4-H advisor.

    During the visit, Dr. Bloir met with individuals and shared his vision for Ohio 4-H. “For the next several years we will focus on creating the next generation of leaders,” he said. “We will ensure our 4-H youth have those necessary career and workforce skills they need to succeed, and we’ll expand the reach of Ohio 4-H, so even more youth have the opportunity to develop life skills.”

    A group of people gathered talking. Two people shaking hands.



  3. Ohio 4-H Teens Receive Top Honors

    Teen of the Year, Emmy Beck-Aden

    The 2020 Ohio 4-H Teen Hall of Fame and Teen of the Year recipients were recently announced. While the formal recognition has been postponed, we salute these outstanding youth for their accomplishments. These awards are generously sponsored by Tim and Karen Corcoran.

    Teen of the Year

    Emmy Beck-Aden, Athens County 

    Eleven years of success and achievement mark the 4-H career of Emmy Beck-Aden. As a leader on the Teen Leadership Council she held a variety of offices, including president and junior advisor. She added a youth voice as a trustee on the Ohio 4-H Foundation Board and will serve as a facilitator at the 2020 National 4-H Conference. Emmy combined her love of 4-H with her passion for filmmaking, earning national recognition for her award-winning films, which also serve as dynamic marketing tools for 4-H.

    Teen Hall of Fame

    Brooke FleshmanBrooke Fleshman, Franklin County

    Commitment, motivation, and determination are the attributes that Brooke Fleshman brings to all her 4-H activities. Whether it is a community service project that she is determined to make happen or preparing for camp, she just gets it done. Brooke is a great role model for members in her club and throughout the state with a reputation as someone who takes action when it is needed and makes 4-H better for it.


    Kayla Kramer, Delaware County Kayla Kramer

    Participation at Ohio 4-H Leadership Camp sparked Kayla Kramer’s interest in broadening her 4-H experience. She serves on the Ohio 4-H Foundation Board and Teen Leadership Council, gaining respect from her peers, staff, and volunteers for her efforts. Kayla’s skill in creating 4-H promotional materials used throughout the state has resulted in positive recognition of programs and lasting impact of her leadership abilities.


    Trevor Minyo, Fayette County

    Trevor MinyoWhen you inspire those around you to “make the best better” through words and actions like Trevor Minyo, you leave a lasting impression of trust, dependability, commitment, and friendship. He helps others go beyond their comfort zone to improve themselves and lends a helping hand whenever it is needed. He is no stranger to hard work, with determination at the foundation of his success. Trevor exemplifies how youth will change the world, one project and interaction at a time.


    Laura Wood, Brown County Laura Wood

    A selfless leader whose efforts make a positive impact describe the lasting impression Laura Wood has made on Brown County 4-H youth. She is generous in sharing her knowledge and giving her time to help younger members succeed. Laura recognizes what is needed and works to find solutions. As chair of the Brown County B-Fit Committee, she wrote grants to fund her innovative idea of a mile-long walk each morning at the county fair to promote healthy living.

  4. Ohio 4-H Conference Volunteer Award Winners

    Innovator Honoree, John Smith

    Each year dedicated volunteers and alumni are recognized for their service to Ohio 4-H.  Although formal recognition has been postponed, we will feature all the winners in the Ohio 4-H Highlights over the next few months.

    This month we recognize the recipients of the Innovator and Meritorious Service awards.

    The Ohio 4-H Innovator Award recognizes adult and/or youth volunteers who have developed new programs, county projects or activities. It is sponsored by Lois Moody Puskarich.

    John Smith

    John Smith assisting a 4-H member with their robotics project.In 2018, John Smith helped establish the Awesome Robotics 4-H Club in Washington County, as a SPIN (SPecial INnterest) club to encourage participation in 4-H STEM projects. In the club’s first year, there were six members, four who were new to 4-H. Club membership has grown to nearly 15 members in 2019. Robotics project members learn to design, build and program their own general-purpose LEGO Mindstoms EV3 robots. Members can attend Awesome Robotics club meetings and maintain membership in their traditional 4-H club. Club members completed projects, created a fair booth display and practiced their public speaking skills at the county fair by offering impromptu robotics demonstrations to fairgoers. 

    The Meritorious Service Award recognizes adult 4-H volunteers for long-term meritorious service or a significant singular contribution to county or state 4-H programs. It is sponsored by Elizabeth Thomas and the Bea Cleveland Human Ecology Endowment. This award

    Ann Marrison Ann Marrison with her family at the Ashtabula County Fair.

    Ann has been a mainstay in the Ashtabula County 4-H program for 53 years. Her first 4-H group was a county-wide club for teenagers interested in making and tailoring coats and jackets. Throughout the years, her club expanded to include a wide range of youth from across the county, interested in sewing, cooking and quilting projects. She served as a counselor for the Ohio 4-H Club Congress, attended the North Central Regional Leader Forums and served on the State Extension Advisory Committee. She is currently in her twenty-fifth year as chairman of the Ashtabula County Extension Advisory Committee. Since 2012, Ann has been a tireless planning committee member and instructor for the Agricultural Awareness Day in the county. Ann’s positive impact and support of 4-H has been shared and passed on Ann Marrisonto her 4-H members. Many of her former 4-H members now serve in leadership capacities across the county and state. 

  5. Faces of Ohio 4-H

    Young Kirk Bloir with a dairy goat.

    Each month we highlight an Ohio 4-H alum. They have amazing stories to share, from their personal experience in 4-H to how they have given back to the program. This month we feature Dr. Kirk Bloir, the Assistant Director of 4-H Youth Development for Ohio State University Extension and Williams County 4-H alumnus.

    Kirk joined his first 4-H club in Williams County in third grade, after being inspired by high school students who came to speak to his class about 4-H. After starting with his first goat, Freckles, he went on to complete many more dairy goat and miscellaneous projects. Kirk joined Junior Leaders and served as a camp counselor and on the junior fair board. He went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in adolescent development, master’s degree in human development and family science, and PhD in Extension education from The Ohio State University.Kirk with a map tiled "How's Your Global IQ? Improve it through 4-H!"Kirk at Citizenship Washington Focus.

    Kirk shared the impact 4-H had on his life and career. “4-H has taught me patience, persistence, and perseverance; the importance of being a humble winner and a gracious loser; and that when we work together we can achieve amazing things for ourselves, our clubs, our communities, and our world.”  

    He continued, “I have so many favorite 4-H memories, I can’t pick just one!  I was in a very active 4-H club and we did lots of group activities and outings—being a part of the annual Kunkle Fourth of July parade, fall family pot luck and hay ride, field trips that helped us dig deeper into our club project, community service projects, and supporting each other during the county fair. My club advisors and other parents made sure we all were safe, felt welcomed, and were empowered to do our best.” 

    Jane Rath, Kirk Bloir, and Junior Rath at the 2016 Ohio 4-H Conference. Jane and Junior are Kirk's former 4-H advisors.Kirk suggested new 4-H members should explore the vast array of opportunities 4-H offers to find their spark. “Stretch yourself, grow your skills, and share your voice through projects, clubs, camps, demonstration contests, junior leaders, junior fair board, awards, scholarships, international exchange experiences, and all that 4-H offers.” He concluded, “I’m so incredibly honored and truly blessed to be able to give back while also paying it forward, so that 4-H continues to grow our future generations of true leaders.” Kirk won the Williams County Fair Showmanship Sweepstakes.Kirk showing a dairy goat at the Williams County Fair.

  6. Calendar of Events

    Young boy cracking an egg into a mixing bowl.

    Please join us for these virtual activities over the next few weeks:

    Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 2 p.m.– Exploring with Erica (Facebook Live) – Join our Mercer County 4-H student intern for kid-friendly recipes, science experiments, and spring crafts. If you have questions about the event, please contact the Mercer County Extension Office at 419-586-2179.

    Tuesdays, Thursdays at noon – Create with Christy (Facebook Live) – Christy Clary, Brown County 4-H Educator features craft ideas through March. If you have questions about the event, please contact Christy at

    Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. – Under the Microscope with Tony Staubach (Online) – Join 4-H Educator Tony Staubach for a weekly, interactive viewing of our microscopic world. If you have questions about the event, please contact Tony at

    Thursdays at 11 a.m. – Kids in the Kitchen (Facebook Live) – Emily Marrison, Coshocton County Family and Consumer Sciences Educator and her children share recipes you and your family can enjoy making at home. You can find previous videos and information regarding upcoming segments on their Facebook page. If you have questions about the event, please contact Emily at

    Fridays at 1 p.m. – Friday Fitness (Facebook Live) Join Hancock County 4-H Educator Cassie Anderson for Friday Fitness. If you have questions about the event, please contact Cassie at

    April 8 at 6 p.m. – Busy People Can Garden Too (Webinar) – Join Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator Amanda Douridas to hear her tips on how she's evolved her vegetable gardening over the years to accomadate her busy lifestyle. Register here. If you have questions about the event, please contat Amanda at