K-9 Kids at the Grange Fair.

K-9 kids 4-H Club at the Grange Fair.

Hudson Valley FIRST Tech 4-H Teams.

Hudson Valley FIRST Tech 4-H Teams.

Achievement Book.

What is 4-H Youth Development

4-H is a worldwide youth development program available in every state and over eighty countries. It is open to all youth aged 5-to-19, who want to have fun, learn new skills, and explore the world. In return, youth who participate in 4-H find a supportive environment and opportunities for hands-on or "experiential" learning about things that interest them. They also get what all young people need to succeed in life--the confidence, compassion and connections with caring adults to make contributions to their communities. The mission of Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development is to unleash the power of youth and adults through diverse opportunities that meet community needs.

Mission: 4-H connects youth to hands-on learning opportunities that help them grow into competent, caring, contributing members of society. 

Vision: A world in which youth and adults learn, grow and work together as catalysts for positive change

Nationally 4-H is a community of 6 million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. The 4-H community also includes 3,500 staff, 518,000 volunteers and 60 million alumni. 4-H'ers participate in fun, hands-on learning activities, supported by the latest research of land-grant universities, that are focused on four areas:

Four Pillars of 4-H

Civic Engagement - Civic engagement is the broadest mission mandate; it incorporates youth voice, leadership, respect, history, community youth development, SET, and Healthy Lifestyles.

Healthy Living- "Choose Health" is an initiative of the Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Program intended to help all of us confront and take action to change the statistics of childhood obesity. This link includes project resources, promotional materials, and more!

STEM - Kids who participate in science activities outside of the classroom are more likely to be comfortable with science. This link takes you to numerous 4-H Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) projects that give families science enrichment opportunities and connect kids to Cornell’s science outreach programs.

Agriculture & Sustainable Food Systems - Youth can be powerful members and shapers of food systems. By developing agricultural literacy in youth today we are preparing them for bright futures and career opportunities in the future. Whether living in the city or in the country, there are important and interesting topics to learn about including the environment & sustainability, animal science, horticulture, and soil science!

Our Foundation

The foundation of the 4-H community lies within the 106 land-grant universities across the country that deliver research driven programs through Extension agents in each of more than 3,000 counties. The 4-H leadership builds on the strength of our state and local professionals in partnership with the National 4-H Headquarters.

4-H Youth Development Research

Tufts 4-H study of positive youth development
Iowa State 4-H Life Skills Model


Stephen Soltish
4-H Community Educator

Last updated March 31, 2022