What Is 4-H?

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4-H programs (Science, Engineering & Technology; Agriculture; Family & Consumer Sciences; Health; Communications and Expressive Arts; Leadership; and Natural Resources)

Even though it has been around for over 100 years, many people are new to 4-H and do not realize what it is, what it has to offer, or how to become involved.

Randolph County 4-H reached over 15,000  youth in 2021. 4-H provides youth with a wealth of opportunities, hands on experiences and learning how to be a well-rounded citizen. With the start of a new year, now is the perfect time to get involved with 4-H!

Q: What is 4-H?

A: 4-H is the youth development program of Cooperative Extension for youth ages 5 to 18 that helps develop leadership, citizenship, and life skills. It aims to assist youth in becoming competent, contributing citizens.

Q: I don’t live on a farm, how can I join 4-H?

A: All 4-H programs are open to any youth, regardless of membership in the 4-H program. Joining 4-H is as simple as enrolling in 4-H online by completing the online form. 4-H has deep roots in agriculture, as it began with corn and tomato clubs in the early 1900s. Today in addition to agriculture, 4-H involves Science/STEM, public speaking/communication, life skills, sewing, community service projects and much more.

Q: Isn’t 4-H just about cows and cooking?

A: While 4-H addresses these programs, the entire program is more diverse. Nationally, 4-H has three mission mandates: citizenship (civic engagement, service, civic education, and leadership); healthy living (nutrition, fitness, and social-emotional health); and science (animal science and agriculture, consumer science, engineering, environmental science and natural resources, life science, and technology).

Q: What is the cost to join 4-H?

A: There is no fee to join 4-H. Some workshops and activities will have fees associated with them to help cover the cost of materials. 4-H is also a United Way Agency which helps allow us an opportunity to provide scholarships.

Q: When does 4-H meet?

A: 4-H is active year round. Typically, 4-H clubs have monthly meetings. In addition, there are county, district, and state level 4-H events, activities and competitions throughout the year. Due to COVID-19, not all of our clubs are active. We do have several clubs that are meeting in person. We are also doing virtual programs and grab and go kits. Stay tuned for more opportunities as we return to face-to-face programming this spring!

Q: What is a 4-H club?

A: A 4-H club is an organized group of youth, supported by screened, adult volunteers. Randolph County 4-H has many different clubs that cover everything from livestock (chickens, beef cattle, goats, and dairy cattle), horses, sewing, community service, Cloverbuds (ages 5-7), shooting sports and more.

Q: What age can my child join 4-H?

A: Youth can join 4-H at age 5. A youth’s age for 4-H is determined by his or her age on Jan. 1 of the current year. You may continue to be a member of 4-H through age 18. Youth, ages 5 to 7 years old, are referred to as Cloverbuds, are non-competitive and receive participation ribbons in any activity they participate in.

Q: What does 4-H stand for?

A: Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. Originally, there were only three H’s – Head, Heart, and Hands. A fourth H, Hustle, was added in 1908. Hustle was changed to Health in 1911.

 Q: What are the 4-H delivery modes?

A: 4-H has four main delivery modes: Community Clubs, School Enrichment, Summer Programs and Special Interest Programs. We currently have nine active 4-H Clubs. School Enrichment programs can be done in any grade level. Our curriculum comes from university-based research that has been piloted and tested thoroughly and aligns with the NC Standard Course of Study.

Some examples of our school enrichment program offerings are embryology, farm to table, Junior Master Gardener, anti-bullying, bike safety, robotics, character education, public speaking and communication, and presentations.

Randolph County 4-H also offers a summer program called “Randolph County 4-H Agriventures and More.” The summer program is offered for ages 5-7 and then 8 and Up. The 5-7 year old program meets at our office while the 8 and up program includes trips to farms, local businesses and other outings.

The summer program offerings are released in May and registration is online or by stopping in our office. The last delivery mode is special interest projects which might be a Quiz Bowl or Judging team for a 4-H competition.

Q: As an adult, how can I become involved with 4-H?

A: 4-H is always looking for adult volunteers! Depending on the amount of time you would like to donate you can volunteer at a single event or teach a workshop. If you want a deeper level of involvement, you can become a 4-H club leader, which is a one year, renewable commitment.

For more information on Randolph County 4-H, contact Allison Walker at allison_walker@ncsu.edu or text/call (336) 467-2927.