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Kids & Teens Taking Action: Benefits of the 4-H Youth Program

4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership skills, citizenship, and daily living skills. 4-H is found in counties across the United States where it provides research-based programs, informal learning, and experiential learning programs for children and teens. Children with adult mentors learn hands on, real world skills. Last year alone, more than 100,000 children and 6,000 adult volunteers were involved in 4-H activities. Young people from any ethnic or cultural background are eligible for this program. Children involved with 4-H are more likely to get good grades in school and move on to a college education. This information about the 4-H program is provided as a community service by one of the nation’s premier car, boat, yacht, truck and auto donation processing companies, Action Donation Service®. Action Donation works with many of the nation’s finest youth-serving charities and non-profits, such as Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Special Olympics.

  • About 4-H: An in depth look at the mission and vision of the 4-H Program.
  • 4-H Q&A: A question and answer style informational website about 4-H programs.
  • What is 4-H?: A description of what 4-H is.
  • 4-H Youth Program Highlights: The basic highlights and advantages of the 4-H program.
  • Facts & Figures – 4-H: Facts and figures about the influence the youth development has had on members.

Appreciation for Learning

The foundation for 4-H is a hands on “learn by doing” approach. Much of the drive for 4-H has come from the human response to keep doing what we’ve always done. The USDA saw that adult farmers were less likely to try new ideas in farming, but the youth would experiment with the new techniques and technologies and then introduce them to the family once they were shown to be successful. This organization has made success out of basic human nature – young people are curious and experimental. By providing a safe outlet for that curiosity and centering the focus around the community, there was parent buy in.


Members work under the guidance of extension staff or volunteers who have received training.

The minimum criterion for being a member is to participate in six or more educational activities from 20 to 60 minutes each one. The duration of the learning activity should follow the appropriate attention span at the age of young people in the group. The learning projects can be carried out once a week or when deemed appropriate. The participation of young people is vital for programs of 4-H. The educational model of learning through work is best when young people participate actively. The more involved, the better the educational benefits.


The main goals of 4-H youth development is to focus on leadership, science, engineering, technology, natural resources, health, expressive arts, culture, sports, college readiness, and preparation skills for the workforce; in addition, the 4-H staff will extend beyond the normal to support families that are not self-sufficient. The 4-H programs are carried out in 4-H clubs, and activities like “International Summer Camp” and other activities at the state level and through enrichment programs in schools.

  • 4-H Programs in Schools: The impact 4-H programs in schools can make.
  • 4-H Military Programming: Programs incorporated within 4-H groups to prepare adolescents for military careers.
  • Base Programming in 4-H: The basic communication and programs offered in 4-H.


4-H clubs generally hold meetings that are run by the members themselves. Clubs elect officers including president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Holding these positions give children an opportunity to practice leadership skills. Older 4-H members have an opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience as teen leaders for specific projects and activities. Teen leaders often run programs and activities for fellow 4-H members, providing valuable leadership experience.

  • Leadership in 4-H: How the program is teaching members to prepare for roles of leadership.
  • 4-H Program- Leadership: A newsletter covering the program leadership.
  • 4-H Hall of Fame- Leadership: Honors bestowed upon the best 4-H leaders and members.

Social Skills

4-H exposes youth to different environments, introduce new information, provide opportunities to learn about postsecondary education and ways to find these opportunities, and engage in fun and educationally challenging activities. Together, members and leaders of 4-H clubs provide a variety of educational workshops and physical activities that motivate children to succeed. Some main focuses include science-related activities, engineering, technology, natural resources, education, expressive arts, culture, and sports. Other activities focus on general skills such as math and science, history, healthy lifestyle, and preparing for college.

  • 4-H Pledge: The pledge taken by 4-H members to encourage an instill values and appropriate social skills.
  • Character Counts: How 4-H teaches strong character and moral obligations.
  • 4-H Youth Camps: Camps that 4-H members participate in to assist with skill building.

Volunteerism & Global/Community Awareness

The 4-H community also provides opportunities for students, for participating in physical activities, including swimming, swings, rowing, volleyball, hiking, soccer, and archery shooting. The 4-H program for youth development focuses on the needs, concerns, and interests of young people. Its goal is to help young people develop a positive self, to know how to behave in society, and gain knowledge and skills to solve problems. Through individual projects, meetings, group activities and participation in various events planned, the members develop new skills, learn to cooperate, develop leadership skills, improve their patriotism/citizenship, and have fun.

  • 4-H Volunteering: Information about volunteering and club leading in the 4-H program.
  • 4-H Activities and Events: Events and activities 4-H program members participate in.
  • A Million Trees (4-H): Environmental 4-H programs to teach children the importance of caring for the environment.

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