Editor's note: This is the first in a six-part series highlighting Wayne County 4-H. Stories will appear in each Thursday
WAYNE COUNTY — It's a symbol and a name familiar to almost everyone.
But what exactly is 4-H?
"It's a community of kids who come together with various interests," said Jessica Scull, Penn State Cooperative Extension agent who runs Wayne County 4-H.
The program is split into two categories.
The Clover Bud program is for those who are ages 5-8 while the regular members are ages 8-18.
"Clover Bud is new in the last five years," said Scull.
In Wayne County, there are 10 community clubs, two agriculture clubs, six horse clubs and one project club.
The community clubs are for all projects offered in the 4-H program. That list is very broad these days, ranging from traditional fare like rabbits to more intricate interests like computers and rocketry.
The agriculture clubs deal strictly with that area of study, the horse clubs speak for themselves and the area project club has to do with tractors.
In Wayne County, there are around 350 young people who are enrolled in the 4-H program.
That's something Scull wants to see grown and they are making a concerted effort this year to make that happen.
On Feb. 23, there will be an open house for Wayne County 4-H. She said now is the beginning of the "season" for enrollment and they hope to get as many people interested in the program as possible.
"We want to bring them here and make them aware of 4-H," said Scull.
The event will be in the old cafeteria at 4-H headquarters on Park Street in Honesdale. It will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and everyone is invited to attend.
Scull along with the Teen Council members are organizing this event.
The Teen Council is a core group of 4-H members who take leadership roles in the program. Not only are they outstanding 4-H members, they also help with recruiting and organizing various events throughout the year.
One challenge for Scull and the program is the enormous distances which make up Wayne County.
"We are one of the biggest counties," she said.
From Newfoundland in the south to the Hancock, N.Y. area in the north, there are a lot of miles to cover for those in charge of 4-H, as well as those involved.
Part of the success of 4-H is having quality people in place to be leaders.
Page 2 of 2 - "If we didn't have them, there wouldn't be a program," said Scull.
Leaders play a multitude of roles in 4-H, from organizing meetings to advising the young people on projects. Just transporting them can be a major task.
The 4-H program is completely independent of any school district. It is operated as part of the Penn State Cooperative Extension program.
All 4-H club members pay an annual $11 educational materials fee to help cover a portion of the costs of 4-H project books, resource materials, curriculum development and program marketing.
For Scull, one of the most important aspects of 4-H is the friendships which are formed. There's a real social aspect to it, she said.
"The friends you make in 4-H stick," said Scull.
Coming in future stories: The various programs, interviews with members, interviews with leaders and more in edition for the next six weeks.