4-H Provides Life Changing Experiences
4-H brings youth and adults together to learn everyday skills with hands-on learning. Activities from animal and plant sciences to robotics, teach 4-H’ers problem-solving skills that make a positive impact upon their community. 4-H helps youth meet the diverse challenges of today’s world, build self-confidence, learn responsibility, and make positive decisions.
Who We Are
4-H’ers across the nation are responding to challenges every day in their communities and their world.
As the youth development program of the Cooperative Extension System of land-grant universities, 4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, empowering six million young people throughout the United States. Cooperative Extension of 1862 and 1890 land-grant universities provide the leadership to engage young people in 4-H in all 3,007 counties of the United States. The impact of the Cooperative Extension partnership is profound, bringing together National Institute of Food and Agriculture of USDA, land grant universities and county government to resource learning opportunities for youth.
Through America’s 110 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 youth, 540,000 volunteers, 3,500 professionals, and more than 60 million alumni, 4-H helps shape youth to move our country and the world forward in ways that no other youth organization can.
The Positive Development of Youth: Comprehensive Findings from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development is the first-ever research project of its kind. The decade-long study, completed by a team of researchers at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University, Medford, MA, is influencing research and practice around the world.
The report shows that 4-H youth excel beyond their peers. 4-H’ers are about:
- Four times more likely to make contributions to their communities (Grades 7-12);
- Two times more likely to be civically active (Grades 8-12);
- Two times more likely to make healthier choices (Grade 7);
- Two times more likely to participate in Science, Engineering and Computer Technology programs during out-of-school time (Grades 10 – 12); and
- 4-H girls are two times more likely (Grade 10) and nearly three times more likely (Grade 12) to take part in science programs compared to girls in other out-of-school time activities.
Unparalleled Reach and Scope
With 540,000 volunteers, 3,500 professionals, and more than 60 million alumni, the 4-H movement supports young people from elementary school through high school with programs designed to shape future leaders and innovators. Fueled by research-driven programming, 4-H’ers engage in hands-on learning activities in the areas of science, citizenship and healthy living.
Leading by Example
The caring support of adult volunteers and mentors inspires young people in 4-H to work collaboratively, take the lead on their own projects and set and achieve goals with confidence. 4-H’ers chart their own course, explore important issues and define their place in the world. 4-H’ers stand up for themselves and their communities.
These pivotal experiences build a foundation of leadership and skills for success in their future careers.