Martin County 4-H

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In 4-H, we believe in the power of young people. We see that every child has valuable strengths and real influence to improve the world around us. We are America’s largest youth development organization—empowering nearly six million young people across the U.S. with the skills to lead for a lifetime.




Contact Us

Purdue Extension Martin County
2666 US Highway 50
Loogootee, IN 47553
(812) 295-2412


Martin County 4-H

 2023 National 4-H Week Proclamation
Martin County, Indiana
Celebrating Opportunity 4 All

WHEREAS, The Martin County Commissioners are proud to reflect upon and share regarding the 4-H Youth Development Program of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service providing experience-based education to young people throughout the Hoosier State; and

WHEREAS, This program, which seeks to provide a learning experience for the whole child, including head, heart, hands, and health, helps young Hoosiers to acquire knowledge, develop life skills, and form attitudes to enable them to become self-directed, productive, and contributing members of our society; and

WHEREAS, Its more than six million youth in the nation and more than 700 Martin County 4-H youth participants, range in age from kindergarten to high school; and

WHEREAS, The program undoubtedly could not have achieved the success that it has today were it not for the service of its more than 60 Martin County volunteers, who have given generously of their time, talents, energies, and resources to the youth; and

WHEREAS, Martin County and surrounding area people have supported the 4-H works via financial contribution and are also recognized at significant;   

WHEREAS, Throughout its rich history, the 4-H program has developed positive role models for countless Martin County and surrounding residents through its innovative and inspiring programs, continues to build character and to instill the values that have made our state strong and great; now, therefore, be it

PROCLAIMED, by The Martin County Commissioners, we hereby designate this week, October 1-7, 2023 as National 4-H Week in Martin County and commend the 4-H Youth Development Program of the Purdue Extension Cooperative Service and the many individuals who have made the program a success.

Further, the date of October 5, 2023 will be Martin County Wear Green Day to show belief & support in the significant influence of positive youth development through 4-H for all, and particularly all youth in Martin County, Indiana. 


October 3, 2023 Martin County Commissioners Meeting, Shoals, Indiana

Tim Ringwald, Shelly Ringwald, Commissioner Aaron Summers, County Extension Director Dena Held, 4-H Member Eva Ringwald, Commissioner President Paul George, & Paula Ringwald. 


Martin County 4-H Member Harry Richer Awarded Top prize at The Indiana State Fair

Sweepstakes is the recognition and award which is given to recognize the best exhibit from all exhibits in a 4-H project. Many call this the Grand Champion, however, in the 4-H Exhibit Hall of the Indiana State Fair with 4-H Static Projects – the name of the game for the ultimate prize in each project competition is Sweepstakes. 

Martin County 4-H member Harry Richer has brought home a 2023 Sweepstakes Award in the Poultry Poster or Display 4-H Project!

Harry is the nine-year-old son of Jon & Megan Richer and brother to Jack, Adeline, and Charlotte.  Harry is in the 5th grade at Loogootee Elementary School. 

A special dark purple rosette and recognition was given to Harry. As a second year 4-H member, this exhibit prevailed over all Poultry Poster or Display exhibits, which includes taking the top prize of all ages, beginner/intermediate/advanced.  All the way up to ten year 4-H members entered Poultry Poster & Display exhibits.

There were 130 exhibits in this project. 

Harry’s exhibit is titled “Poultry Processing, a Farm Kids’ Experience.”  He chose the poultry poster & display project because he has been processing chickens on the farm and he thought it would be a good starter project.  It is a starter project that has been awarded that top prize, which is an amazing accomplishment! When asked how does it feel to be awarded this top prize, Harry said “It feels great! My goal was to go to state with my poster.”  

Little did he know the quality was stellar and the judges recognized this. Harry also shared “the best things about being in 4-H is making friends, playing at the fair, and working with the animals.” 

He plans to start early on projects for the upcoming 4-H year and he would love to be able to have projects go to state again. 

Parents Megan & Jon shared that they are incredibly proud of Harry’s achievements.  They cannot wait to see what his future in 4-H holds, and beyond!

Pictured below holding the stellar 4-H exhibit during a visit to the Indiana State Fair is Jon, Harrison, & Megan. 


Martin County Nine Year 4-Her Demonstrates Heart at the 2023 Martin County 4-H Fair

There are some who are not aware of the heart of the nation’s largest youth development program, and yet, there are many who live by it every waking moment.

A highlight of most Indiana County 4-H Programs is the county fair, and this is no exception in Martin County, Indiana, county population of 10,000.  This year, with more than 200 youth exhibiting at the Martin County 4-H Fair and more than sixty 4-H volunteers involved, the multiday exhibition of learning did not disappoint.

One particular action of heart stands out as an example of Heart, a heart supported by the 4-H community. 

John, a nine year 4-H member arrived at the Purdue Extension Office to provide some detailed 4-H project information.  During a very brief encounter, John casually shared, “I have been thinking about something and want to give my auction premium back to 4-H, 4-H Clubs here…… What Club should it be?”  He stood at the Extension Office window as he made this statement and question. He obviously he had been working hard both in the swine barn for his 4-H project and out in the world. John is a hard worker and I suspected he had been working on the farm with his family. Later on I become aware he has his own farming venture in addition to working on the family farm. He is 18 years old.

John is a young person who wears responsibility on his sleeve, not just for his caretaking of the land and animals, but how these endeavors feed and provide for all the people of the world.

I collected my thoughts quickly, as he had things to do and places to be. I began to answer his direct question about 4-H Clubs and responded that all of the Martin County 4-H Clubs would be deserving and begun to share the names of the clubs who have been able to assemble this year: Dream Team, Horse & Pony, Jolly Juniors, Jolly Jug Rox, Jr. Leaders and The Tractor Club. I couldn’t finish quick enough, and he turned to leave. I knew it was important to understand his intentions and asked a couple more clarifying questions. He shared that he wanted to give back to a program that gives to him and this was a way he could give back. I cautioned that there was zero expectation to do such a thing. To my knowledge, a county 4-H member had not made this choice in the near past in this county. 

He clearly wanted to share all of his auction dollars. I suggested if this was his and his family’s decision, they could either keep that quiet or share that, as such an act of generosity was incredible. He indicated he did not want to be the one at the auction to talk about it but that someone else should announce it.

At that time, John left and I became busy again, it was County Fair Time! There were so many tasks at hand with the team: communicating, troubleshooting, 4-H exhibitions of all sorts from cats to showmanship competitions, confirming judge schedules, meeting with judges, producing show programs, rubrics, results, media interviews, arranging supplies and one of many full-time shifters of awards. A county wide budget meeting also appeared on the schedule.

I thought of John’s statement and what was clearly his intention multiple times every day of the fair. Would he follow back up on this clear instruction to me about his auction premium? Did he really want this to happen? Was he counting on me now to make it happen? Was he being impulsive when he made that statement to me before the fair gates even opened?  Did his family know of this conversation?

I have known John and his family for years and well enough to believe it was a sincere statement, and his clear intention: “I have been thinking about something and want to give my auction premium back to 4-H.”

A core function as an Extension Educator is to provide avenues for positive youth development. In this scenario, my hope was to support John and help assure to the action decided in a supporting and appropriate manner. I had not shared this information with anyone else, giving respect and grace to a potential change of mind. The only other non-family member who was aware to my knowledge was Michelle, another Extension staff member who heard the entire exchange from the front office. 

The fair days passed and I did not have further contact on this subject. The auction was approaching quickly, and I reached out to John’s family. We had some great discussions on intentions, best approach and exact implementation. One option was to not share with the crowd at auction and make the donation afterwards, but that was not the decision. Such a depth of caring and generosity should be shared – it is a core of 4-H life skill development and maybe even a piece of 4-H accountability to ripple out the positive effects of 4-H programming and increase understanding and support of positive youth development.

With the clarifying contact of family intentions, the decision was made. All of John’s auction proceeds would go back into 4-H.

John was encouraged to share his message out, which he was supportive of sharing but he was not keen on public speaking. So, it would be me who would share. Typically, auction donations go directly to individual 4-Hers, which is an amazing community testament of support in and of itself. A full circle contribution occurred by John and was on display for the world that Tuesday evening. John could have used these dollars for his tenth year 4-H project or other endeavors. He demonstrated generosity, and generosity is a life skill under the second of the four h’s: heart. 4-Hers have opportunities to try activities (projects) and learn. They have pathways to go down, and ways to practice and provide service to others. It is the embodiment of pure and significant college and career pathways for youth. 

And so, it was for the world to partake, Tuesday evening of the Martin County 4-H Fair 2023 with auction lot 38.  John’s genuine and pure heart is stellar and true demonstration of the life skills that are grown through 4-H, the nation’s largest youth development program.  


July 11, 2023 Dena Held, Purdue Extension Martin County, The Hart Family:  Louis M., John, Louis D., Racheal; and the successful 4-H auction bidder, The Hawkins family:  Brooke, Jordan, Lydia, Ayla, Brodan & Eva   (Photo by Audra Deckard, The Shoals News)


This guide will answer all of your questions about 4-H!



 Contents include: 

  • What is 4-H
  • How to Join
  • Online Registration
  • Learning Experiences
  • Club Information
  • Projects
  • Awards
  • 4-H Parents
  • 4-H Opportunities
  • 4-H Vocabulary
  • FAQ
  • Important Dates
  • Contact Information





 Martin County 4-H 101 Guide






The quickest and easiest way to enroll in 4-H is by completing the enrollment online HERE.
The enrollment guides below contain step-by-step instructions of how to enroll online.


Guide - New 4-H Youth Member
Guide - Returning 4-H Youth Member
Guide - New Adult Volunteer
Guide - Returning Adult Volunteer



To enroll in 4-H using a paper form, print the following form, complete and return to the Purdue Extension Martin County office via the afterhours dropbox or in person during normal business hours. You mail also mail in the enrollment form. 

Form - Youth
Form - New Adult Volunteer
Form - Returning Adult Volunteer




4-H Club Leaders

Dream Team
Jacqueline Esch (812-295-4595)
Krista Sims (812-296-0457)
Karla Eckerle (812-295-6832)

Horse & Pony
Becca Hollaway (812-787-2676)
Candance Clark (812-709-2633)  

Jolly Jug Rox
Mimi Hawkins
Rhonda Sanders (812-247-2096)
Audra Deckard (812-247-3391)

Jolly Juniors
Kathy Lingenfelter (812-709-1424)
Teresa Mauder (812-486-6962)
Junior Leaders
Megan Hawkins
Rhonda Sanders (812-247-2096)
4-H Shooting Sports / Martin County Marksmen
Mark Sims (812-296-0458)
4-H STEAM / Robotics Club
Looking for Leaders! Call 812-295-2412
Tractor Club
Larry Craney (812-709-8156)
Rick Mauder (812-486-7189)




Become A Volunteer

The Indiana 4-H Youth Development Program has a variety of involve​ment opportunities available. We rely heavily on adults who care about the development of youth across the state in order to deliver positive youth development experiences to our youth. All volunteers must complete a volunteer application and screening process and participate in training provided by your County 4-H Educator. Individuals annually reaffirm their commitment to serving as 4-H Volunteers.

To become a Martin County 4-H Volunteer, email Dena Held or call 812-295-2412.

For more information on becoming a volunteer, click the button below.



10 Ways to Volunteer with 4-H


4-H Projects


Members have the opportunity to learn more about a subject matter that they choose to study through completing hands on activities. We refer to these as projects. In order to enroll in a project, members must sign up for them at the time of enrolling in 4-H. Each project has a manual that guides the youth through the learning process as well as a set of guidelines that helps them meet the project requirements. We provide adult volunteers and staff who are knowledgeable on that particular subject who will often times provide workshops to allow th​e youth to learn about that topic in a social environment. Each project has a beginner, intermediate, and advanced level-this allows youth to build on their knowledge each year and continue to challenge their skills. Projects are meant to be worked on over time, providing an educational opportunity for youth outside of the classroom setting. Often times, youth will exhibit and display their project at a local county​ fair in order to show the community what they have learned. 

Follow the links below for information on each 4-H Project including project guidelines, record sheets, score cards, and more

4-H Projects 
(Grades: 3-12)

Animal Education (Posters: Cat, Dog, Llama, Poultry, Rabbit)
Arts and Crafts, General
ATV Safety and Operator Skills
Cake Decorating
Child Development
Communications (Creative Writing, Demonstration, Presentation)
Computer Science (Graphic Design, Programming, Robotics)
Construction & Architectural Replica (Farm Scene, Legos)
Consumer Clothing
Dairy Beef
Dairy Goats
Fashion Revue
Fine Arts
Home Environment
Horse & Pony 
Jr Leaders
Lawn and Garden Tractor Safety and Operator Skills
Llamas and Alpacas
Llama and Alpaca Craft
Meat Goats
Mini 4-H (see section below)
Model Craft
Needle Craft
Pygmy Goats
Shooting Sports
Small Engines
Soil and Water Science
Sport Fishing
Tractor Safety and Operator Skills
Veterinary Science
Weather and Climate Science
Zero-Turn Mower Safety and Operator Skills

MINI 4-H Projects
(Grades: Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd)

Mini 4-H is a program designed to encourage positive development of children, Kindergarten through second grade. The goal of Mini 4-H is to help young children explore friendships outside the family; explore the way in which things work; practice both small and large muscle control; and think about the ways people work together on projects.


Mini 4-H Projects 2023-2024 Martin County

  1. Aerospace
  2. Arts & Crafts
  3. Beef – exhibition/show
  4. Beef –static project
  5. Bicycle
  6. Bugs
  7. Cake Decorating
  8. Cats –exhibition/show
  9. Cats –static project
  10. Collections
  11. Construction Toys
  12. Dairy – exhibition/show
  13. Dairy – static project
  14. Dinosaurs
  15. Farm Scene
  16. Floriculture
  17. Foods
  18. Forestry
  19. Garden
  20. Goats- exhibition/show
  21. Goats – static project
  22. Helping Mom & Dad
  23. Horse & Pony – exhibition/show
  24. Horse & Pony – static project
  25. My Pet & Me
  26. Models
  27. Poultry – exhibition/show
  28. Poultry – static project
  29. Rabbit – exhibition/show
  30. Rabbit- static project
  31. Recycling
  32. Sewing
  33. Sheep – exhibition/show
  34. Sheep – static project
  35. Sports
  36. Swine – exhibition/show
  37. Swine – static project
  38. Weather
  39. Whales & Dolphins
  40. Wildlife

Animal Identification Information

2024 Indiana 4-H Animal Identification

4-H Online Animal ID Instructions

Indiana State Fair Terms and Conditions

Video: 4-H Animal Project Basics

2023 Indiana 4-H Approved Animal Grooming Program







  • Dairy Goat and Pygmy Goat ID Worksheet
  • Meat Goat ID Worksheet
  • Meat Goat DNA Hair Sample Collection Instructions
  • Video: Meat Goat and Sheep DNA Hair Sample Collection
  • Video: 4-H Online Dairy Goat & Pygmy Goat ID Help
  • Video: 4-H Online Meat Goat ID Help



  • Rabbit Ambassador Handbook