The purpose of 4-H is twofold:
- To provide real life experiences for youth through a fun and practical, learn-by-doing educational program.
- To provide opportunities for parents and other interested adults to work with youth in their development.
4-H is a volunteer-led organization that reaches boys and girls through small groups called clubs. UW-Cooperative Extension staff provides professional leadership for the 4-H program.
4-H is an informal educational program through which parents, other interested adults and youth themselves can help young people develop the confidence, social skills, decision-making abilities and subject matter knowledge that they need to lead a richer, fuller life and to be responsible citizens.
4-H is a family affair where youth and adults get together to learn new things, meet new friends and have fun.
4-H members decide for themselves which projects they want to learn more about. Most projects use hands-on learning experiences to teach subject matter and life skills.
4-H is for all boys and girls in grades K – 13 (one year out of high school). There are special projects for the youngest members:
- Kindergarten and 1st graders are enrolled in the Cloverbud project.
- Youth in 2nd and 3rd grade are enrolled in the beginning 4-H project called Exploring. (Third graders also have the option of becoming junior 4-H members rather than enrolling in the Exploring project.
- All other youth are enrolled as regular 4-H members.
The 4-H program is open to any youth and adults regardless of their background, race, creed, or disability.