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What is 4-H?

4-H is a volunteer-led, educational program that supplements the teaching of home, church, and school.  It is an informal educational program for all boys and girls 8 to 18 years of age whether they live in town, the country, or on a farm.  The state-wide approved ages for participation in Extension 4-H and Youth programs begin at 8 years old as of Sept 1st and in the 3rd grade and continue through the calendar year in which the individual reaches 18.  Boys and girls ages 5 to 8 that are not currently involved in 4-H have the opportunity to join the Clover Buds group.


4-H is kids having fun and learning with their friends.


  • What Is The Primary Objective of 4-H?

    The basic philosophy in 4-H is to strengthen the mental, physical, moral, and social development of boys and girls, therefore helping develop more desirable citizens and leaders. The main objective is the development of boys and girls through participation in projects, events, and various activities.

  • Is There A Cost For 4-H?

    There is a $20 membership fee for 4-H.  You are expected to pay for the cost of your projects whether it's building a lamp, baking bread or raising an animal.  Many events do not have fees; however, there are charges for camps, conferences, workshops or seminars and similar programs.  4-H members participate in fundraising activities to provide support for their projects.

  • What Is The Role of the 4-H Educator?

    The 4-H Youth Development Educator provides leadership for the 4-H youth activities on a countywide basis – conducting leader training, planning activities, and keeping everything organized.  In addition, the 4-H Educator provides leadership and support for special interest youth programs throughout the county.  The 4-H Educator is available to answer any questions you might have concerning the 4-H youth program.

  • Why Do Youth Enjoy 4-H?

    While all youth are different, they are also alike in many ways.  Five inner desires are shared by all youth:

    •     They want to belong.
    •     They want to achieve it.
    •     They want to become independent.
    •     They want experiences and adventure.
    •     They want affection.
    • The wide variety of “learning by doing” projects, activities, and events, which make up the 4-H program contribute to meeting these needs.  Decision-making, individual responsibility, achievement, and recognition further help to make 4-H satisfying.
  • Why and When Did 4-H Originate?

     4-H work, as we know it, began around 1900 as a means of reaching parents with improved farm and home practices.  It was based upon the assumption that if new ideas were installed in the minds of the youngsters they would in turn convince their parents to try these innovations.


    The second reason 4-H was developed was because the schools were not meeting the needs and interests of rural youth.  The first organized 4-H clubs were small groups covering a single topic such as beef, corn, gardening, and canning.

  • Have 4-H Objectives Changed Since Its Early Days?

    Yes!  Following the “teach improved practices to farmers and homemakers through their children” idea, came World War I and the “food for victory” theme.  Following the war, the “keep them on the farm” objective was foremost in people’s minds.  Food production was emphasized again during World War II.


    Today the objective is the development of boys and girls, providing a wide variety of learning opportunities in which all youth can participate.  4-H today is for all kids, whether they live in the city or the country.

  • Who Is Responsible For The Administration Of The 4-H Program?

    The Cooperative Extension Service is a cooperative undertaking by the United States Department of Agriculture, the land-grant colleges (Oklahoma State University), and the county commissioners.


    The extension service provides up-to-date information from the classroom and laboratory to the people of the state.  Extension brings back to the university problems, which can be solved by careful study and research.

    The purpose of the county extension service is to provide instruction and practical demonstrations in agriculture, marketing, home economics, 4-H and youth development, and community resources development to all persons in the county.  Oklahoma State University hires college-trained agents in agriculture, home economics, and 4-H and youth to plan and conduct the respective programs in the county.

  • What is a 4-H Club?

    A 4-H Club is a group of youth organized with officers appropriate to the group with one or more leaders under the sponsorship of the Cooperative Extension Service.  The club is organized within a neighborhood, a school, a church, a business or a social unit. 


    The size of the club should be suitable for the age of the members, meeting place and leadership available.  This type of club is called a  Also, youth are 4-H members by taking part in project clubs (one subject), special interest groups, school enrichment programs and afterschool 4-H programs.


    Club Planning Guide

    Secretary Book

    Treasurer Book

    Activity and Event Intent Form

    More information about clubs 

  • Projects

    Other than age, the only requirement for 4-H membership is that the 4-H’er enrolls in at least one project. There are nearly 50 project areas to choose from. Members are expected to complete the projects in which they enroll.

    4-H Projects and forms

  • Leaders

    Adults serve as two types of 4-H leaders:  project (subject matter teachers) and community (organization leaders).  Helping youth grow through their 4-H opportunities can be a very rewarding experience for adult volunteers.


Age of Membership

4-H membership is open to all youth who are 9 years of age and have not passed their 19th birthday by January 1 of the current year.



4-H is in all the states and many foreign countries.  Over 80 foreign countries have 4-H or 4-H type youth programs.


4-H Events, Activities, & Awards


4-H Volunteers

The 4-H Program, like many other youth groups, relies heavily on volunteers, who are involved in nearly every aspect of the program.


Parent Information

A parent may be asked to share subject matter knowledge with a project group. The subject matter could include a hobby or occupation. It may even include scheduling a tour or field trip. This may eventually lead to a parent serving as project and activity leaders for other 4-H members.


Parents must stay informed. Communication is vital in supporting your child's 4-H experience. It is the family's responsibility to read and respond on time, to the newsletter, yearbook and written correspondence received' from local and county programs.


Don't hesitate to ask questions of local and county volunteers and Extension Educators. Parents receive many levels of satisfaction from 4-H. They enjoy seeing their children and other children grow and develop. Parents grow personally through new experiences and challenges. Parents also have the satisfaction of serving the community through 4-H.


Volunteer Opportunities

  • National 4-H Volunteer Leaders Forum

    Several five day leadership training conferences are held throughout the nation.  They are planned by CREES-USDA and the National 4-H Council Sessions are usually scheduled from September through April and include a variety of leadership and project topics.  See the annual calendar for those being offered for the current year.

  • Objectives
    • Provide learning experience beyond the confines of the state.
    • Provide the opportunity for the volunteer and professional staff to share ideas and experiences with others from across the nation.
    • Provide the opportunity for professional and volunteer staff to learn, plan and implement plans together as coworkers.
    • Recognizes the desire and ability of staff to learn and enact new programs and approaches
  • Who Can Participate

    Participation is open to any adult leader, parent, or person interested in learning about leadership, volunteerism, or specific 4-H programs as offered.

  • Specific Requirements

    Reservations must be made at least 6 weeks in advance. See the annual calendar for appropriate deadlines.

  • Limitations

    Participation is limited by the availability of funds and state and district staff approval.

  • Southern Region 4-H Volunteer Leaders' Forum

    The Forum is held in October.  It is a week-long  leadership training program.  The trip is usually made by bus.


    • Provide learning experiences beyond the confines of the state.
    • Provide the opportunity for the volunteer and professional staff to share ideas and experiences with others from across the southern region.
    • Provides the opportunity to professional and volunteer staff to learn, plan and implement plans together as coworkers.
    • Recognizes the desire and ability to staff to learn and enact new programs and approaches.
  • District 4-H Volunteers Conference


    • Provide learning experiences beyond the boundaries of the county.
    • Provide opportunities for volunteers to learn through sharing ideas and experiences with other volunteers from throughout Oklahoma.
    • Provide volunteers and county extension staff access to resources that are not available at the county level.

 Adult Health Form

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