Purpose of 4-H

 4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.  4-H is a formal component of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension youth education effort.  Extension will provide support to 4-H clubs, members and volunteers to help them provide positive educational experiences.  In return, 4-H clubs, members and volunteers are accountable to Extension for their activities and finances.


4-H Parent & Guardian Roles

First and foremost, 4-H is a family program – a place where parents and their children can learn and grow together.  In 4-H, you, as the parent or guardian, are very important.  You are always invited and encouraged to participate in all 4-H club activities.  We recognize every family’s schedule is different and you may not be able to attend every club function, but there are many different ways that you can contribute to your child’s 4-H group.

 Your 4-H club leader will want to know about your interests and talents, and how you would like to support your child’s 4-H group.  Because 4-H has so many diverse experiences, we have discovered that every adult can find a parent volunteer role that matches their interests and the club’s needs.  Some possible helping roles include providing refreshments, supplies, or other resources for a club meeting, helping members with their projects, chaperoning a club field trip, organize the club’s service project, or coordinating the club’s end of the year recognition program.  Your club leader may have other suggestions.


As a parent or guardian, these are the following roles you need to fulfill:
  • Provide transportation for your child to and from 4-H events.
  • Help your child learn to recite the 4-H Pledge.
  • Attend 4-H club functions with your child whenever possible.  Children 5-7 (Clover Kids) should always have a parent or guardian attending meetings with them.
  • Guide your child as they select a 4-H project and help them develop goals that are challenging, but also realistic.  Encourage their project work by making it a family learning experience.
  • If your child serves in a leadership role within the club, help him/her fulfill the duties of the office.
  • Read the Johnson County 4-H Newsletter so you will know the details of upcoming special events, dates and deadlines.
  • If you have only access, visit the county 4-H website for updates and resources.
  • The 4-H staff will provide countywide training on portfolios, presentations, project workshops and other core 4-H learning experiences.  Try to participate in these classes and workshops.  By understanding more about our various 4-H programs, you can help your child excel and take advantage of all that 4-H has to offer.
  • Attend your club’s end of the year celebration with your child and attend the county wide 4-H Achievement celebration as a family.  Recognition always more to children when their family is there to share it with them.


 4-H Frequently Asked Questions


What do the four “H’s” stand for on the 4-H clover emblem?

The “H’s” stand for: head, heart, hands, and health. Club members pledge their Head, Heart, Hands, and Health (the four H’s) as they recite the 4-H pledge at meetings.


What is the 4-H pledge?

I pledge,

my head to clearer thinking

my heart to greater loyalty

my hands to larger service, and

my health to better living, for

my club, my community,

my country, and my world


What is the 4-H motto?

“To Make the Best Better”


What are the 4-H colors?

The 4-H colors are green and white.


How did 4-H begin?

4-H began in the early 1900’s as Corn Clubs for boys and Canning Clubs for girls. Although the program has changed a lot through the years, it has always been a program designed to help children become productive members of their communities. The national 4-H program celebrated its 100th birthday in 2002.


Do I have to live on a farm to join 4-H?

No, although 4-H began as a program for rural children, today 4-H is available for ALL CHILDREN whether they live on a farm, or in the city.


Do boys and girls attend different clubs?

No, all 4-H clubs are open to both boys and girls.


How old do you have to be to join a 4-H club?

Children can join a 4-H club as soon as they are five by January 1of the current year and they can stay involved until their final year of eligibility – the year they are 18 on January 1. In addition, many colleges offer collegiate 4-H clubs, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln!


Can we join 4-H at any time during the year?

Yes, each club will establish their own “cut off” date for accepting new members for the year. However, all youth must be enrolled with the UNL Extension 4-H Office by June 15 to be eligible to exhibit in the Johnson County Fair or any competitive 4-H events.


Are clubs organized by age divisions?

4-H clubs operate best when the members are in a similar age group, preferably within a couple of years of each other. However, some clubs operate with children from a wide variety of ages. It is a little more challenging to keep everyone’s interest when there is a wide age span, but there are also the benefits of younger youth learning from the knowledge and example of older youth, and the leadership opportunities for older youth.


What are the age divisions for competitive events?

A child must be at least eight years old as of December 31st to compete in any 4-H event. Most competition is held in the following age divisions: Juniors (8-11), Intermediate (12-14) and Seniors (15-18). However, age divisions do vary from program to program. Always carefully review the registration information for 4-H events.


What is a Clover Kid?

Children ages five to eight are known in 4-H as “Clover Kids”. These children are full 4-H members and can participate in a wide range of programs and activities, including the fair. However, because research has shown that competition at this age is detrimental, Clover Kid members are not allowed to participate in competitive events. These Members do participate in many contest and receive participation ribbons. Their work just isn’t “judged” and compared to other children’s work.


What does it cost to join a 4-H club?

Some clubs will assess “dues” for each member to cover the cost of the project supplies. Dues vary from club to club depending on the projects selected. Each 4-Her is also required to pay for their own 4-H manuals at the Nebraska Extension office, cost varies however, the average is approximately $5.00 per manual. If you are planning to exhibit livestock there is an additional fee for ear tags and DNA samples ($6.00 a piece). Depending on your 4-H project, the cost will vary according to your supply needs.


How do I stay informed about 4-H opportunities?

Read the Johnson County 4-H Newsletter and be sure to let the Extension office know of any email addresses.  This way you are added to their listserv and will receive up to date information. These resources will give you all the details about upcoming programs.