Who We Are
4-H prepares young people to step up to the challenges in their community and the world. Using research-based programming around positive youth development, 4-H youths get the hands-on, real world experience they need to become leaders. Through America’s 109 land-grant universities and its Cooperative Extension System, 4-H reaches every corner of our nation—from urban neighborhoods to suburban schoolyards to rural farming communities. With a network of more than 6 million youths, 540,000 volunteers, 3,500 professionals, and more than 60 million alumni, 4-H helps shape youths to move our country and the world forward in ways that no other youth organization can.
4-H is open year-round to youths ages 5-18 without regard to race, creed, gender, marital status, handicaps or disadvantages, economic or ethnic backgrounds.
The 4-H movement began more than 100 years ago and revolutionized how science was taught outside the classroom through practical, hands-on programs and experiences. 4-H was also one of the first organizations in America that taught young people leadership skills and how to positively impact their communities. Idaho 4-H started in 1912, and has served tens of thousands of Idaho youths throughout the state through traditional community clubs, afterschool programs, day camps, summer camps, statewide and national conferences, and international exchange programs.
The Study of 4-H Positive Youth Development
shows that 4-H youths achieve higher marks in school and are more likely to attend college and contribute to their communities at higher rates than their peers. Research specific to Idaho youths shows that 4-H members are far less likely to engage in risky negative behaviors such as alcohol, drug, or tobacco use. Idaho 4-H members are more likely to be involved in service projects that help others and in school and community leadership roles, and express a willingness to speak with parents or guardians about important issues such as drugs, alcohol, or sex.
4-H builds on the strength of state and local youth development professionals from our nation’s land-grant universities and its Cooperative Extension System in partnership with 4-H National Headquarters at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. County, state, and federal funds are combined in a unique partnership to support 4-H. Research-based curriculum is provided through the University of Idaho, and funding from individuals, businesses and organizations enhances the 4-H program by providing support for special events, awards, and recognition, educational materials and program enhancement.
To Join 4-H
Contact your County Extension office
to learn about 4-H programs, how to enroll your child, or how to volunteer as a teen or adult mentor. For more specific information on 4-H, download our Policies & Procedures