What is 4-H?
About our program...
4-H is an organization for youth ages 5-19 that promotes hands-on, experiential learning. 4-H welcomes youth members and adult volunteers from all backgrounds and all locations. Members have the opportunity to participate in the 4-H program through afterschool programs, community clubs, camps, events, conferences, and military partnership programs.
4-H emphasizes enrichment education through inquiry based learning. Youth are encouraged to discover their passions, adopt a growth mindset, practice self-reflection and set goals. 4-H projects and programs are focused around the core content of citizenship, healthy living, and science, engineering, and technology.
Research shows that the 4-H Youth Development Program plays a special and vital role in the lives of America’s young people. Youth have the capacity to thrive when presented with resources for healthy development found in families, schools, and communities - regardless of their background, socioeconomic status, race, and gender. 4-H programs launch young people into healthy and productive lives.
Positive Youth Development
Positive youth development generally refers to a focus on the developmental characteristics which lead to positive behaviors and outcomes among young people. Positive youth development is a cornerstone of the 4-H program.
Positive youth development occurs through an intentional process that provides opportunities, choices, relationships, and the support necessary for youth to fully reach their potential.
4-H's unique role in youth development is based upon scientifically valid research. We analyze and document our efforts to demonstrate an impact on youth and then disseminate our findings to further the field of youth development. We use this scientific base to anticipate problems and develop practical solutions in the communities we serve.
A primary element of the 4-H mission is advancing the field of youth development. Youth development as a field of scientific inquiry is fairly new; the research is constantly and quickly growing. The program practices of 4-H are based on past and current research which includes Targeting Life Skills, Assets, Essential Elements, The Five C’s, and Community Action Framework. These frameworks of youth development are fully described in Heck & Subramaniam, “Youth Development Frameworks”