What is 4-H?

4-H Today

4-H has grown into a community of 6 million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. 4-H can be found in every county in every state, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and over 80 countries around the world. 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 three areas called Mission Mandates.

  • Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Healthy Living
  • Citizenship

The 106 land-grant universities across the country deliver research driven programs through Extension agents in each of the 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.

Enrollment cost for the Niagara County 4-H Program is $10.00 per program year. Adult volunteers are free.
Every member and adult must re-enroll in Sept./Oct. every year.
Make checks payable to CCE of Niagara County.

Would you like to join 4-H?

Anyone can enroll in 4-H at any time.

In order to exhibit in the County Fair, re-enrollment (for previous members) must be completed by May 31, 2014. New members who wish to exhibit in the County Fair must enroll by May 31, 2014. Click here for more information on how to enroll.

The 4-H Story

4-H didn’t really start in one time or place. It began around the start of the 20th century in the work of several people in different parts of the United States who were concerned about young people.

The seed of the 4-H idea of practical and “hands-on” learning came from the desire to make public school education more connected to country life. Early programs tied both public and private resources together for the purpose of helping rural youth.

During this time, researchers at experiment stations of the land-grant college system and USDA saw that adults in the farming community did not readily accept new agricultural discoveries. But, educators found that youth would “experiment” with these new ideas and then share their experiences and successes with the adults.

So rural youth programs became a way to introduce new agriculture technology to the adults. A.B. Graham started one such youth program in Ohio in 1902. It is considered the birth of the 4-H program in the U.S. When Congress created the Cooperative Extension Service at USDA in 1914, it included boys’ and girls’ club work. This soon became known as 4-H clubs – Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.

Nearing its 50th anniversary, 4-H began to undergo several changes. In 1948, a group of American young people went to Europe, and a group of Europeans came to the United States on the first International Farm Youth Exchange. Since then, thousands of young people have participated in 4-H out-of-state trips and international exchanges. 4-H began to extend into urban areas in the 1950′s.

Later, the basic 4-H focus became the personal growth of the member. Life skills development was built into 4-H projects, activities and events to help youth become contributing, productive, self-directed members of society. The organization changed in the 1960′s, combining 4-H groups divided by gender or race into a single integrated program.