New 4-H Families

Welcome to 4-H – we are so glad you’re here!

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.  4-H can be a lot to take in, as there is a lot to it!  It is more than just showing at the county fair, and hopefully, we’ll be able to help you through it!  Let’s get it sorted out through this website!  Also, for more information, you can check out our Jackson County New Family Packet (if you would like a hard copy, please stop by our office to pick on up)!

4-H To-Do List

What do you need to do even to begin when you are in the 4-H program?  Well, we have a short 4-H to-do list to help you through figuring out the first steps.

  1. Find a club that fits both your youth(s) and your family.
  2. Enroll your youth in 4-HOnline.
  3. Choose Projects that your youth are interested in through 4-HOnline.  When you choose these projects, you will then be added to the project email lists, so this is a critical task to do to stay in the loop with some of the different projects!
  4. Check out resources (literature) through the Jackson County Extension Office by contacting the 4-H Program Educator.
  5. Read our newsletter to get caught up on all things 4-H in Jackson County!
  6. Remember important deadlines.
    • April 15th – Fair Entry Deadline
    • Beginning of September – Re-enrollment process begins in 4-HOnline
    • November 1st – Re-enrollment deadline

Fair and 4-H

Jackson County 4-H members often participate in the Jackson County Fair. The Fair is NOT a requirement of any 4-H member, but it is a formal, joint event that many members join in. The County Fair is operated and managed by the Jackson County Fair Board/Jackson County Ag Society. There are many relationships between 4-H and the Fair, but it is not a part of 4-H. 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 related 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 backward and look at the golden book for what their children want to exhibit and choose the tasks required for that exhibit. You can add or change projects throughout the year in 4-HOnline, but if your child plans to exhibit a project at the 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!

Also, it is vital to sign up for these projects through 4-HOnline, as you will get added to the emailing and mailing lists for those projects.  Not all projects send out information via email or mail, but some of them do, and it is essential to ensure that you are in the communication chain!


Once you’ve selected your projects, you can check out the literature from the Jackson County Extension Office! The literature is a research-based curriculum based on the project to help your child excel in mastering his interests. The 4-HOnline system will allow you to pick out literature during enrollment-however, this system is not compatible with Jackson County, and your literature will never arrive. If you wish to utilize literature, you must contact the 4-H Program Educator to check out and borrow the literature in our office.  Just stop in to see what we have!


Clubs are a way for members to get to know other members with similar interests or 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.  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!  Check out our Club Information page to see what our county has to offer!

County Communication/4-H Flyer

This is a great way to receive deadlines for all sorts of events, some pre-fair and other events that 4-H hosts. The 4-H Flyer is our monthly newsletter that gets emailed out to all 4-H families.  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 4-H Flyer.


Like any other youth organization, we have a membership year, and ours runs from October 1st to September 30th every year. That means you will have to re-enroll your child every year they want to be involved in the 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 715-284-4257 or email the 4-H Program Educator!