You’ve probably read all the basics about 4-H and what it means to be a member. But maybe you aren’t sure how to get started, or what to do first. And just how does it all relate to the county fair anyway? Let’s get it sorted out!
|My 4-H To Do List|
|1. Enroll child in 4HOnline|
|2. Choose Projects|
|3. Order Literature|
|4. Find a club|
|5. Read Cloverline|
|6. Remember Deadlines|
|– April 1: Pick final projects for 4-H|
|– June 30: Fair entry deadline|
|– September 9: Re-enroll|
Fair and 4-H
La Crosse County 4-H members often participate in the La Crosse Interstate Fair. Fair is NOT a requirement of any 4-H member, but it is a traditional, common event that many members participate in. The County Fair is operated and managed by the La Crosse County Agricultural Society. There are many relationships between 4-H and the Fair, but it is not a part of 4-H. In fact, members from other youth organizations can participate in the fair, too.
That being said, you might see some similarities! If you look at the Fair exhibition handbook, you’ll see department names and classes that relate to our project list. The Fair is an opportunity for members to showcase the projects they have worked on throughout the year. If you hear us use the term superintendent, that is someone involved with the Fair, who helps youth sort out the requirements for their exhibits. Many fair superintendents are also volunteers in 4-H.
When you enroll your child in 4-H, it will ask you what projects your child will work on. Your child can pick as many projects as we offer (we offer a lot of projects!). Some families work backwards and look at the fair book for what their children want to exhibit in, and choose the projects required for that exhibit. You can add or change projects throughout the year in 4HOnline, but if your child plans to exhibit a project at fair, the deadline for picking that project category is April 1st (March 1st if your child plans to exhibit at the State Fair). There is no limit to the number of projects each member can select, visit our Project page to learn more!
Once you’ve selected your projects, you can order literature! The literature is research-based curriculum based on the project, to help your child excel in mastering his interest. The 4HOnline system will allow you to pick out literature during enrollment-however, this system is not compatible with La Crosse County, and your literature will never arrive. If you wish to order literature, you must fill out the online form at https://goo.gl.mzKtwL. The first 5 pieces are free!
Clubs are a way for members to get to know other members with similar interests or who live geographically close. Some clubs are based on specific projects. You can change clubs at any time in the year to find one that suits your children’s needs and interests. Please contact us in the office for a list of club contact information or to change your club. Clubs vary by where, when, and how often they meet. Every club in 4-H practices inclusivity and no youth will be turned away if they want to join a specific club-it’s all about finding the right atmosphere and fit for your family!
This is the best way to receive deadlines for all sorts of events, some that are pre-fair, and other events that are hosted by 4-H. For families who plan to show animals at the fair, there will be special qualifications and deadlines based on the animal. These deadlines are published in the Cloverline. We also publish deadlines and events on our calendar – be sure to check it out!
Like any other youth organization, we have a membership year and ours runs from September 1st to August 31st every year. That means you will have to re-enroll your child every year they want to be involved in 4-H beginning in September. The best part? All your information stays the same! But you may want to update those projects! Visit our Enrollment & Re-enrollment page to learn more.
We would love to help you out – please call the office at 608-785-9593 or email us at LaCrosseCounty4H@lacrossecounty.org.