Brenda Hall grew up on a farm and was in 4-H for 11 years. She said she enjoyed being with kids who had things in common with her outside of school.
Some of those relationships remain now that those kids have grown up and started their own families.
“A lot of us have kids who are showing at the (Trumbull County) fair,” said Hall, of Brookfield, in advance of Ohio 4-H Week, which is March 3-9.
Hall doesn’t live on a farm but has enough property that she can have a chicken coop, and now her seventh-grade son, Justin, is a 4-H pro, in his fifth year.
Justin is a member of Trumbull’s Best Shepherds, which his mom advises and specializes in lambs. Justin won’t get his lambs until April.
He also is in Feathered Friends, a poultry club, and has participated in Trumbull County Shooting Sports. He has shown lambs, market ducks, fancy ducks and fancy chickens at the fair.
“I like waking up every morning and saying, ‘I gotta take care of my animals,’” said Justin, who also plans to do a welding project for 4-H this year. “It gives me something to do.”
Justin said he enjoys the friendships that develop through 4-H, even with kids of other ages, such as Brookfield senior Blake Yendrek.
“You learn responsibility and make a lot of new friends, learn a lot of new things,” said Blake, adding that he is eyeing farm management or “something to do with livestock,” as a career. He has been accepted to Ohio State University.
“I think this kind of helped him choose his career path,” Hal said.
Blake showed some of Justin’s animals at last year’s fair and will raise and show his own this year. He also has participated in Trumbull County Shooting Sports.
Although many people associate 4-H with agriculture, particularly livestock, there are many other projects 4-H members can do, from photography and astronomy to sewing and model railroading
In addition to preparing projects for the fair and hanging out with friends, 4-H members learn leadership skills and budgeting, participate in community service projects and work toward goals that they set, Hall said. In some cases, the kids have to market themselves by contacting potential buyers of their animals at the fair auction.
In honor of Trumbull’s Best Shepherds’ 40th anniversary, the group plans to raise money to renovate the sheep barn at the county fairgrounds, Hall said.
“Our club is growing,” she said. “All our stalls are filled at the fair.”
Hall said she likes how well the kids work together, support each other and pitch in to take on whatever tasks need to be done, such as cleaning out stalls.
“They’re all good kids,” she said, “We have a lot of fun together, especially at the fair.”
Anyone interested in 4-H can contact Ashlee Dietz, 4-H extension coordinator, at 330-638-6783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a list of Trumbull County’s 4-H clubs, their specialties and meeting details
4-Star Horsemanship – horses and Cloverbuds, first Tuesday of the month at various locations.
Badger Pork Raisers – swine and Cloverbuds, second Sunday of the month at the Johnston fire hall.
Bee Masters – beekeeping, meeting particulars to be determined.
Brookfield Friends – poultry, small animals and variety, second or third Wednesday of the month in Hubbard Township.
Buckeye Riders – horse and Cloverbuds, fourth Wednesday of the month in Bazetta or at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds.
Buckles, Boots and Spurs – horses and Cloverbuds, fourth Wednesday of the month at the Howland or Cortland libraries.
Country Kids – small animals, rabbits and variety, Tuesdays at the Kinsman Methodist Church.
Cows R Us – dairy, dairy feeders and Cloverbuds, second Sunday of the month in the old Bazetta fire station.
Down on the Farm – small animals, home economics, variety and Cloverbuds, Tuesdays in an adviser’s home.
East Ohio 4-H Club – goats, poultry and rabbits, second Monday of the month at the Ohio State University Extension office in Cortland.
Everything Under the Son – variety and Cloverbuds, Mondays at members’ homes.
Feathered Friends – poultry, first Wednesday of the month at the OSUE office.
Funny Farm – rabbits, first Monday of the month at the old Bazetta fire station.
Goats N More – goats, last Wednesday of the month in the OSUE office.
Happy Hams – swine and Cloverbuds, first Sunday of the month at the OSUE office.
Kinsman Busy Bees 2nd Edition – dogs, clothing, foods, creative arts, variety and Cloverbuds, every other Saturday at Kinsman United Methodist Church.
Kinsman Kids Club – goats and variety, first Sunday at the OSUE office.
Kountry Kritters – small animals, meeting details to be determined.
Rogue Riders – horses and Cloverbuds, first Monday of the month at the fairgrounds.
Silver Claws – cats, second Sunday of the month in Champion.
SMASH – traffic safety, third Tuesday of the month at the OSUE office.
Stablemates – horses, meeting dates and locations change depending on season.
Touch of Class – horses and Cloverbuds, dates change according to season but meetings are held at the fairgrounds.
Tractor Safety Club – tractor safety, meeting details to be determined.
Trumbull’s Best Shepherds – sheep, small animals and variety, second Sunday at the fairgrounds.
Trumbull County Beef Boosters – beef, third Sunday of the month at an adviser’s farm.
Trumbull County Dairy Feeders – dairy and Cloverbuds, first Sunday of the month at the fairgrounds.
Trumbull County Dairy Judging Team – dairy judging, third Sunday of the month at the fairgrounds.
Trumbull County Equestrians – horses and Cloverbuds, first Tuesday of the month at the fairgrounds.
Trumbull County Hare Raisers – rabbits, first Saturday of the month in the Bristolville town hall.
Trumbull County Shooting Sports Pioneers – archery, rifle, shotgun and pistol, first and third Friday of the month at the Vienna Fish & Game Club.
Trumbull Country Wild Clovers – Cloverbuds, outdoor education and variety, third Sunday of the month at the OSUE office.
Very Good Know Growers – dairy, meetings vary and are held at an adviser’s home.