What is 4-H?
About 4-H Clubs
* The network of families that grows great kids! *
Raising great kids is a challenging task, but it's easier when you have a team of people behind you. 4-H clubs are groups of families that do just that. Through working together, families share knowledge and interests to help kids learn practical skills and important values.
How does 4-H work?
Join a club!
4-H clubs generally meet monthly, and nearly every community in Kansas has at least one. These meetings give youth opportunities to share their project work (speak), plan community service activities, and practice running meetings. They have many "sub-clubs" for individual projects, led by adults or teens within the club. For specialized projects like shooting sports, many counties have county-wide project clubs that operate in a similar fashion.
Members choose from a wide range of individual projects, based on their interests and the availability of a knowledgeable adult in the community to serve as a mentor/leader (matching facilitated through clubs). Through these projects, members set goals, learn the skills needed to achieve goals, and exhibit/demonstrate their skills at events like county fairs, speaking contests and other competitions.
Who runs the 4-H program?
Ultimately 4-H is run by the land grant university in each state, which is why the state 4-H office lives at Kansas State University in a department called K-State Research and Extension.
Though the state office guides the overall program, 4-H is largely administered at the county level. Each county in the state has a K-State Research and Extension Office (or a district office if multiple counties have joined together), staffed by Extension Agents who oversee their county or district's clubs, membership, activities, fairs and so on.
4-H activities are great fun, but their purpose is not just entertainment. It's teaching skills and values through putting them into practice.
The core 4-H activities revolve around projects. 4-H has both individual and group projects.
Club members choose from a wide range of individual projects, based on their interests and the availability of a knowledgeable adult in the community to serve as a mentor/leader (matching facilitated through clubs). Through these projects, members set goals, learn the skills needed to achieve goals, and exhibit/demonstrate their skills at events like county fairs, speaking contests and other competitions.
Exploring 4-H (a project sampling for ages 7-9) Forestry Poultry
Arts & Crafts Geology Rabbits
Clothing, Textiles & Fashion Health & Wellness Reading
Communications Home Environment Self Determined
Dog Care & Training Horse Shooting Sports
Electric Leadership Small Engines
Entomology (Bugs) Livestock (Beef, Dairy, Sheep, Goats, Pigs) SpaceTech
Family Studies Pets Wildlife
Fiber Arts (Knitting, Crochet, Weaving) Photography Woodworking
Foods & Nutrition Plant Science
Members are also involved in group projects in their clubs, which usually revolve around community service or learning how to lead/run groups or meetings.
Fairs, Shows and Contests
The county fair is usually the biggest 4-H event of the year, and this is where 4-H'ers bring samples of their projects to be evaluated by a "judge," who visits with each 4-H'er about what they did well and how they can improve. Top projects at the county fairs are eligible to be entered at the Kansas State Fair.
Other contests are held throughout the year, like speaking contests, pet/livestock shows, or skill contests for things ranging from identifying plants to marksmanship to horse anatomy. At the end of the year, 4-H'ers complete short reports/stories about their projects and can submit them in achievement contests that start at the county level and progress through regional and state competitions until a state project winner is named.
Kansas 4-H has its own camp at Rock Springs State 4-H Center,south of Junction City, where groups of counties bring 4-H'ers for several days each summer. 4-H'ers stay in cabins, ride horses, sing around the campfire, explore nature and make memories to last the whole year.