Ohio breaks ground for 4-H Center

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COLUMBUS – Ground was broken Sept. 7 on the Ohio State University campus for The Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center.

The facility is named in recognition of grants totaling $6 million from the Nationwide Foundation and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

The Nationwide Foundation has committed $4.5 million to support the new 4-H center, including a gift of $2 million earmarked for the project in 2000.

“Ohio Farm Bureau members know the importance of relationships and supporting youth,” said John C. (Jack) Fisher, executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. “We’re proud to stand alongside our great friends at the Nationwide Foundation to create a facility that will both honor and sustain Ohio’s tremendous 4-H program.”

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has committed $1.5 million to support the new 4-H center.

The facility, located on Lane Avenue, west of the Jerome Schottenstein Center and east of State Route 315, will serve as a youth development center and a training center for volunteer leaders. Currently, more than 286,000 youth and more than 25,000 volunteers are involved in Ohio 4-H programs.

Private dollars. Thus far, $8.3 million – of a $12 million private fund-raising goal – has been raised for the new 4-H facility, the first of its kind on a land-grant university campus. Architectural plans are being drawn now and construction will begin as soon as the fund-raising goal is reached.

The Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center will include space for hands-on programs with youths and the adults who work with them. The center will provide office space for Ohio State faculty and staff to conduct research, teaching, and service relating to youth development.

It will also feature technological links to Ohio’s 88 counties and worldwide, and indoor and outdoor educational facilities are planned.

Greater visibility. “What excites me the most about the new center is the visibility it will give to 4-H and the new partnerships that will form as a result of that visibility,” said Jeff King, assistant director of Ohio State University Extension in

charge of 4-H Youth Development.

“We’ll be able to develop new projects and new programs – things we haven’t even thought of yet. I think it will do a lot to expand the scope of Ohio 4-H and, therefore, have a greater impact on the youth of Ohio.”

In the United States, 4-H has become the largest youth organization in the world, with more than 6 million members in this country, alone.

In Ohio, 4-H is part of OSU Extension, under the umbrella of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, and serves as the university’s youth outreach program.

Centennial. Across the nation, 2002 marks 4-H’s centennial year. The organization traces its roots to the advent of boys’ and girls’ clubs that formed throughout the nation at the turn of the century, including a January 1902 meeting of a Boys’ and Girls’ Agricultural Experiment Club in Clark County, Ohio, attended by approximately 85 children, ages 10-15.

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