So you want to join 4-H
Video Credit: Michaela Parker
Ready “to make the best better”? October 1 is the official start of the 4-H year!*
*If you don’t know what 4-H is, start here, with 4-H Wants You!
Sometimes it can be hard to figure out if a new activity is the right fit for you and your family, and 4-H can be a little overwhelming! So many options! So many opportunities! So many people who seem to have been in 4-H since before they were born!
Here are a few facts to help you get started:
- To be a member of 4-H, you must be officially 5 years old. Kids ages 5-7 are called Cloverbuds, and they focus on exploring all that 4-H has to offer. Typically their activities are restricted to the county, and they do not compete in any contests. You can be in 4-H until you’re 18/19. (Learn more about “aging out” from your county agent!)
- You can be a member in only one county and one state at a time. You are welcome to travel to other places to participate in activities with other clubs, but your membership must stay in one county/state.
- What exactly is a project? The 4-H slogan is “Learn by doing,” and 4-H itself is an informal educational organization. So while 4-H is a lot of fun, a “4-H project” has a specific meaning: work done with animals, crops/plants, articles made, or some other definite enterprise undertaken by the member. Your local agent can tell you more about the types of projects going on by 4-H’ers in your area. But you can expect enthusiasm, goal-setting, hands-on activities, record-keeping, field trips and guest speakers!
- What is a 4-H club, and why do they all seem different? Typically, you will find general interest clubs and special interest clubs. A general interest club may meet together, take field trips together, and have a club project, but the members are all pursuing different individual projects. For example, in one general interest club, after their general meeting, they break up into smaller groups for robotics, wildlife habitat judging, sewing, and Cloverbuds. A special interest club is one in which all of the members in the club are interested in the same project, such as horses, livestock, or shooting sports. All of their activities revolve around that primary topic of interest.
- 4-H does not charge membership dues, does not require members to wear uniforms, and relies on volunteers to make the clubs successful.
Still want to know more? This publication for volunteers has loads of great info. about 4-H, even if you aren’t a volunteer (but we really hope you will become one!).
Or, call your county MSU Extension office. You can find the number here.
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Tyler Wilson, right, shadowed Dr. Steven Brandon during the 2016 Rural Medical and Science Scholars program. Participants in the program also receive college credit for two pre-med courses, visit various medical facilities, participate in lab-based hands-on learning activities and take part in a communications and study skills workshop. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)