It is easy to be part of 4-H. Anyone who is in third grade to one year past high school graduation can be in 4-H. Younger children can join 4-H as Cloverbuds. Cloverbuds are in first or second grade. Some counties may offer Cloverbud membership to 5 year old Kindergartners. Your county Extension 4-H youth development staff member can answer your specific questions. They can also help you find a club in your area or help you start a new one.
How Do I Join?
4-H clubs have regular meetings and officers, but that is just the start. 4-H members get involved in their communities as volunteers and youth leaders. They learn new things by completing dozens of different kinds of projects, They go on trips, have parties, host international students, participate in local government, experiment with science, make art, go to camp, learn to canoe or take care of an animal.
The list seems almost endless. With so many choices, 4-H is what you want it to be.
What projects are available?
4-H gives you a chance to try a lot of things that might help you decide on a career or a life-long hobby. For example, you can explore
- Arts: Express yourself by drawing, painting, sculpting, shooting photos, making videos, acting, singing or writing.
- Animals: If you love animals, 4-H has projects for you, whether it’s dogs and cats or cows and horses.
- Citizenship: Plan and carry out a community service project with your 4-H friends.
- Clothing: Fashion is fun. Create your own style, while you stick to your budget.
- Computers: You can learn to use new software or design your own website.
- Environment: 4-H can take you outside to learn about wetlands and wildlife or to plant a garden.
And there’s lots more to choose from. See all the projects you could do!
4-H offers lots of encouragement and support for kids who want to organize and carry out volunteer projects. They clean up river banks, adopt a stretch of highway to keep litter-free, work with older adults, mentor younger students or get involved in other kinds of volunteer and service learning. In some communities, older 4-H youth serve as youth representatives in city or county governments or as panelists on teen courts.
Some clubs have small annual fees to cover costs of postage and some materials. It’s usually less than $5 a year. In some counties, an additional fee is charged to offset costs for things like project literature, postage and insurance. Sometime clubs will hold fund-raising events to raise this money. To find out if 4-H clubs in your counties have dues or fees, just call the UW- Extension, 4-H Youth Development Office in Ashland County and ask. Depending on the projects you choose, there could be some costs for materials. For example, if you do the photography project, you’ll need a camera and film, and you’ll have expenses for having your photos printed. If you raise an animal to show at the fair, you’ll have expenses, but you may also have some income if you sell your animal at auction.
4-H is everywhere. 4-H started out 100 years ago as an organization for kids who lived in the country, but that was a long time ago. Now 4-H is in big cities, in small towns and suburbs and in rural areas. 4-H clubs meet in community centers, members’ homes, Extension offices, after school program sites — just about anywhere.