FAQs about Michigan 4-H

December 8, 2015

What are the four H's?

Head, Heart, Hands and Health

  • Head – 4-H lets kids take the lead—with the help of adult partners—in thinking, learning and problem-solving.
  • Heart – 4-H helps kids build strong relationships with peers and adults based on caring and respect.
  • Hands – 4-H lets kids learn by doing and then use their talents and skills to make their communities better places in which to live and grow.
  • Health – 4-H helps kids make healthy choices to keep them physically and mentally able to do what they need to at school, at home and in their communities.


What is the 4-H pledge?

I pledge…

My head to clearer thinking,

My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to better service,
My health to better living,

For my club, my community, my country and my world.

Who is involved in 4-H?

4-H Youth Development is located in every corner of Michigan. Each year, more than 200,000 youth and 17,000 adult and older teen volunteers from major cities, suburbs, towns and rural communities participate in 4-H. Nationally, 4-H youth programs involve more than five million young people from all 50 states and many U.S. territories.

Who operates 4-H?

4-H Youth Development is delivered locally and operated at the state and national levels through a partnership between county governments, Michigan State University Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This partnership ensures that what 4-H promises in outcomes for young people is backed by the research and knowledge base of the nation’s premier land-grant university and the support of county, state and federal governments.

How old do you have to be to join?

4-H Pledge

4-H programs are open to youth aged 5 to 19. Adults age 19 and older are encouraged to join 4-H as volunteers.

How do you join 4-H and how much does it cost?

Call the closest MSU Extension office by dialing toll-free 1-888-MSUE-4MI (1-888-678-3464) and entering the first five letters of your county's office. Ask to speak with someone about joining 4-H.

There is no cost to enroll in 4-H. However, some types of projects have additional costs for supplies, equipment, travel, etc.

What do 4-H volunteers do?

Adult and teen volunteers work at the local and state level to support experiential learning activities for youth. 4-H volunteers are club, group or resource leaders, middle management leaders, advisory council members and Michigan 4-H Foundation trustees.

How do you become a 4-H volunteer?

Information on becoming a volunteer is available in the Become a Volunteer area of this site.

What do 4-H state and county staff members do?

4-H staff members lead and support the work of 4-H volunteers and members in each county. They cooperate with other MSU Extension campus and county staff members, with local, regional and state partners, and are oriented toward a multidisciplinary approach to program design, implementation and evaluation.

4-H Motto: To make the best better

Who are state 4-H specialists?

State 4-H specialists have part- or full-time appointments within MSU academic departments including Animal Science, Crop and Soil Science, Family and Child Ecology, Fisheries and Wildlife, Forestry, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Horticulture, Human Environment and Design, Veterinary Medicine and the MSU Museum. Specialists provide links between academic departments, content area expertise and research opportunities.

What is the 4-H mission?

Our mission is to create non-formal, experiential, educational opportunities designed to connect in-school learning with out-of-school time activities that help youth thrive in a complex and changing world. 

Our promise is that young people involved in Michigan 4-H are uniquely prepared to step up to the challenges of a complex and changing world. Young people develop the skills and assets needed to be successful today and in the future through experiences that are:

  • youth directed and adult supported,
  • connected to the cutting-edge research of the land grant universities, and
  • supported by volunteers grounded in principles of positive youth development.

What is our programming philosophy?

  • Provide age-appropriate life skill development
  • Emphasize research-based experiential learning
  • Involve volunteers
  • Engage a variety of partners
  • Include families
  • Reach both diverse and underserved audiences
  • Be accessible
  • Promote a multicultural perspective and appreciation
  • Have fun!

Learning Materials

More information on learning materials available to support 4-H activities can be found in resource section of any 4-H topic or program or through the MSU Extension Bookstore

Training & Events

For upcoming 4-H training and events, check the "Events" area of this site.

Accessibility Questions:

For questions about accessibility and/or if you need additional accommodations for a specific document, please send an email to ANR Communications & Marketing at anrcommunications@anr.msu.edu.