This nonprofit, youth development organization has flourished over the years. 4-H leads in life skills development, child protection policies and research-based education for leaders and youth.
Every county in the United States that works with their state land-grant university may establish an Extension office. The Cooperative Extension System provides counties with research-based education in four common areas: agriculture, food consumer sciences, master gardening and youth development.
The passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 created the Cooperative Extension System at USDA and nationalized 4-H.
4-H reaches every corner of our nation. It is part of America’s 109 land-grant universities and its Cooperative Extension System. It extends from urban neighborhoods to suburban schoolyards to rural farming communities. 4-H helps shape youths to move our country and the world forward in ways that no other youth organization can with more than:
- 6 million youths
- 540,000 volunteers
- 3,500 professionals
- 60 million alumni
Benefits of 4-H
Youth benefit from education outside a traditional classroom.
Hands-on life skills provide youth an opportunity to explore and understand by practice and interactive participation.
Youth succeed and strive for success in a project area of their choosing. In turn, their practice educates other youth and adults by demonstrating both their attempts at success and their successes.
The 4 H’s of 4-H
The H’s in 4-H youth development organization stand for health, hands, heart and head.
“I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to better loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”
This philosophy and the support of the thousands of volunteers, coordinators and educators make 4-H possible. 4-H offers hundreds of projects and research-based opportunities for youth.
4-H program coordinators, educators, adult volunteer leaders and youth volunteer leaders use individual state and national 4-H project goals and curriculum to measure and ensure consistent youth development.
Participants learn hands-on life skills that can promote quality of life while also preparing them to engage an ever changing world and its communities.
Member and Volunteers
Members work in clubs with their volunteer organizational leaders and project leaders. These adult leaders help participants better understand and learn more about their project.
Participants learn to record their projects in a portfolio, set goals, show knowledge of their project and reflect on how their project goals were met or why they need revisions. Completed projects are shown to the public and shared with other 4-H clubs and the community.
4-H’s project subject matter is related to STEAM learning goals. Projects include aero science, entomology, livestock production, LEGO® robotics, small engines, wood working, creative arts, clothing, textiles, citizenship and leadership development. 4-H provides opportunities for students to gain skills in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.