4-H empowers youth to reach their potential

The 4-H mission is to empower youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults. See how young people benefit from the 4-H program.

4-H is the largest youth development organization in the United States, empowering six million young people. Its mission, “Empowering youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults,” creates an opportunity for youth to use their voice in making their community a better place and make learning a life-long pursuit. Nearly 612,000 adult volunteers help young people reach for their best through experiential learning; the hands-on, learn by doing approach.

One notable study on 4-H done by Tufts University, “The Positive Development of Youth: Comprehensive Findings from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development,” found that young people in 4-H are:

  • Four times more likely to make contributions to their communities (grades 7-12).
  • Two times more likely to be civically active (grades 8-12).
  • Two times more likely to make healthier choices (grade 7).
  • Two times more likely to participate in science, engineering and computer technology programs during out-of-school time (grades 10 – 12).
  • Two times more likely (4-H girls grade 10) and nearly three times more likely (4-H girls grade 12) to take part in science programs compared to girls in other out-of-school time activities.

In Michigan 4-H, over 200,000 young people participate in 4-H programs. In rural Branch County, which sits on the Michigan-Indiana border, there are over 825 young people in 4-H clubs. Perhaps one Branch County 4-H member summed up 4-H best in these words, “I have enjoyed a special journey, one that has been full of great things. As a senior member in my club with so many 4-H experiences, I have been reflecting on things that have helped shape me into the person I am becoming. 4-H has given me more than I ever could re-pay.

“The 4-H community has been supportive and taught me lessons aimed at positive reinforcement, not just singling out the best kids. I gained leadership and career guidance, learned to set goals and enjoyed giving back to the program. Participating in projects has helped me to build a foundation using traits like honesty, forward thinking, experience, inspiration and education. Using these has not only built confidence in myself, but helped others to believe in me. And I know because of 4-H I will always say join 4-H, embrace all it has to offer. 4-H is a very important part of my life. I know because of 4-H I would like to become a respected teacher in my community.”

4-H is organized through the 110 land grant universities in the every state in the country. For more information about joining 4-H in your area, visit the National 4-H website, the Michigan 4-H website or Michigan State University Extension’s 4-H webpage.

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