4-H Clubs – What is it?
4-H is an opportunity for boys and girls in grades K-12 to learn and develop life skills that may assist them in becoming responsible adults. 4-H is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension. Projects are based on research and knowledge from Cornell University, other land-grant universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The four Hs (head, heart, hands, and health) represent four basic human needs: independence, belonging, generosity, and mastery through the 4-H mandates of Healthy Living, STEM( Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and Citizenship. Research shows that youth whose basic needs are met in positive ways are likely to grow into active citizens and contributing members of their families and communities.
A 4-H club must have 5 or more members from at least three different families. It must meet at least six times during the club year (October 1 through September 30). 4-H clubs may meet at any convenient location. Some 4-H clubs meet in the leader’s or members’ homes, others meet in a central place such as a school, church or community room. 4-H clubs usually do the following: project work, business meetings, recreation or social activities and community service. Countywide activities and events supplement the 4-H club program. These include: animal quiz bowls and clinics, clothing revue, public presentations, contests, achievement nights, the county fair, leadership opportunities, career exploration trips and citizenship trips.
A 4-H club is an informal, educational youth opportunity, which serves as a “hands-on” laboratory for helping youth grow in any or all of the following ways:
How Does One Join 4-H?
Youth must be 5 to 19 years old in the current calendar year. There is a nominal fee of $20 per family (regardless of number of children) to join 4-H; in addition some local 4-H clubs have dues. 4-H is open to any person in a legally-protected class, including but not limited to, race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, or disability. Contact us to see if there is room in a club near you!
Who Can Be a 4-H Leader?
Parents and other interested adults who are willing to volunteer a part of their time and skills by sharing their abilities with youth are invited to be 4-H leaders. Once you contact us, you will be sent a volunteer application packet to be completed and returned to the CCE office. A 4-H Program Educator will contact you and help you start your club. You will be expected to attend new leader orientation and will be invited to subject matter trainings. 4-H Educators are also available to assist you with any of your questions or needs. The 4-H Youth Connection newsletter and 4-H Club Update meetings keep leaders, parents and members informed.
"How many leaders should a 4-H Club have?" is a question that has been asked frequently. That depends on the size of the club and how old members are. At least two are recommended. A club may have "project leaders". They usually have a special interest or skill such as photography, clothing, gardening, etc. that is taught to the club members. Organizational leaders coordinate meetings & paper work.
What are 4-H Projects?
A 4-H project is a planned series of learning experiences through which youth develop knowledge, skills and/or attitudes. 4-H projects always teach the "whys" as well as the "hows". 4-H projects can be done individually or as a group.
What is Expected of a 4-H Parent?
Since a 4-H leader is a volunteer who is there because of their interest and love for youth, your support for your child and the club's activities is very helpful. Basic support can come in the form of seeing that your child is properly prepared for each meeting, has transportation to and from the meeting place, and completes any activities that are to be done at home.
What other ways can a 4-H parent help?
Volunteer to hold meetings or parties at your house. Offer to provide transportation to an event for a group of members. Send refreshments if they are a part of the meeting plan. Help 4-H members organize their community service project or social activity. Lead a 4-H project – many resource curricula are available from our CCE office. Let the leader know that you are willing to help in any capacity. Then, be sure to be available.
For information about joining a 4-H Club or starting your own, please get in touch with the contact person listed below! We're looking forward to hearing from you!
Neighborhood 4-H Clubs are groups of youth that are usually led by parents/guardians. They meet in schools, churches, community centers, or homes to complete a variety of 4-H projects throughout the year. With the exception of a few countywide clubs, members are usually from the same community.
4-H School Clubs and After-School 4-H Clubs - When 4-H curricula are utilized within the classroom during regular school hours or in an after-school program outside of regular school hours, the group of children who participate on a regular basis are considered to be a 4-H club. The classroom teacher and/or other resource people who teach the subject matter serve as club leaders.
Sponsored 4-H Clubs – A government agency, religious group or other youth serving organization may sponsor a 4-H club. Sponsored clubs usually meet at the agency’s facilities and are led by agency staff (paid and/or volunteer).
By combining project activities with opportunities to go to camp, publicly show their work, travel, host international youth, and attend meetings and events at Cornell University, 4-H provides a framework on which young people can build self-confidence, responsibility, and generosity.
Last updated June 11, 2021