If your child wants to be in 4-H, Jan. 15 is an important day. He or she needs to be enrolled in the 4-H program by then to participate in 2015, no matter where you live in the state.
That's the word from local 4-H extension educators. Many are going to great lengths to get the word out that you must be enrolled by Jan. 15. That's because this is a major change from how enrollment was done in the past.
Ashley Schultz, 4-H Youth Extension educator in Johnson County, says many counties had their own deadlines for enrollment in the past. The deadline in her county was April 1 in past years. This year, all counties have the same deadline, set by the state 4-H office.
The Indiana state 4-H Department and staff are no longer part of the Youth and Ag Education Department at Purdue University. In fact, for the first time in recent memory, the 4-H Department will not be located in the Purdue Ag Administration Building. It's moved to a facility in a private complex at the west edge of campus, known as "Purdue West."
The separation from the other youth programs is one reason why changes are being made, educators say. It required a change to enrollment by computer. While making the change, the state 4-H department decided to go to one deadline to simplify matters.
According to Extension educators, there were as many as 30 deadlines before, ranging from December to June.
So far, enrollment is running behind schedule according to youth educators. The official response to questions about exceptions or extensions after the deadline is that the deadline to enroll in 4-H for 2015 is Jan. 15, 2015. You must enroll online. Those needing help or without a computer and Internet access can visit their local Extension office for help in enrolling online. No paper enrollment process is available.
There is a fee to join 4-H, set at $15 to the state and whatever additional amount the county adds to fund county programs.