4-H Clubs

The 4-H Club – What is it?

The four Hs (head, heart, hands, and health) represent four basic human needs: independence, belonging, generosity, and mastery. Research shows that youth whose basic needs are met in positive ways are likely to grow into active citizens and contributing members of their families and communities.

A 4-H Club is an organized group of at least five youth from three different families who meet regularly with adult volunteers or staff for a long-term, progressive series of educational experiences.

A 4-H club is an informal, educational youth opportunity, which serves as a “hands-on” laboratory for helping youth grow in any or all of the following ways:

  • Learning how to make thoughtful decisions
  • Developing a zest and skill for lifelong learning
  • Learning positive socialization skills by working in a group and as part of a team
  • Improving their communication skills
  • Learning and using practical technical skills
  • Acquiring confidence and a positive attitude toward self
  • Enhancing citizenship skills by developing an awareness and involvement in their community
  • Developing leadership and teamwork skills
  • Exploring possible vocations and careers
  • Learning to manage time wisely and set priorities
  • Interacting with adults who act as role models and have a positive influence on their lives
  • Spending quality time with their parents in a mutually rewarding setting

Types of Clubs


Neighborhood 4-H Clubs are groups of youth that are usually led by parents/guardians. They meet in schools, churches, community centers, or homes to complete a variety of 4-H projects throughout the year. With the exception of a few countywide clubs, members are usually from the same community.

4-H School Clubs and After-School 4-H Clubs - When 4-H curricula are utilized within the classroom during regular school hours or in an after-school program outside of regular school hours the group of children who participate on a regular basis is considered to be a 4-H club. The classroom teacher and/or other resource people who teach the subject matter serve as club leaders.

Sponsored 4-H Clubs – A government agency, religious group or other youth serving organization may sponsor a 4-H club. Sponsored clubs usually meet at the agency’s facilities and are led by agency staff (paid and/or volunteer).

4-H helps children fulfill these needs. By combining project activities with opportunities to go to camp, publicly show their work, travel, host international youth, and attend meetings and events at Cornell University, 4-H provides a framework on which young people can build self-confidence, responsibility, and generosity.

Last updated April 6, 2016