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.
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 $15 per child (maximum $30 per family) to join 4-H; in addition some local 4-H clubs have dues. 4-H is open to everyone regardless of race, religion, color, gender or place of residence. Contact us to see if there is room in a club near you!
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 night, county fair, leadership opportunities, career exploration trips and citizenship trips.
Independent 4-H Member – The 4-H Independent Member Program is an individual study 4-H delivery mode which involves youth participation in a planned 4-H program as 4-H members without 4-H club affiliation. It is a self directed, planned learning experience in a specific subject matter area with limited adult direction.
In an independent program, a 4-H member works directly in an informal setting, but not in the traditional group setting. This adult may be a parent, mentor, project or club leader, camp counselor, teacher, or paid 4-H staff who has agreed to serve as a leader for the project. The independent program leader must be approved through the 4-H Staff and registered with the county 4-H office. An independent 4-H program allows a young person to be a 4-H member and carry a project of his/her choice, even if it is not available in a local 4-H club. It gives the 4-H member an opportunity to study a non-traditional subject matter area, take a different direction in activities, or expand on an already existing project. It also gives the member the freedom to determine and complete his/her own project without being a member of an organized 4-H club.
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 curriculum 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!
Last updated April 20, 2022