How to get started in a 4-H club:
Sometimes you can join an existing 4-H club. You talk to people who belong to a club that interests you. See if the leader is willing to let you join. Don’t feel bad if they say no, usually it has more to do with the available space and the leader’s time. Try another club or better yet, start your own.
Starting a 4-H club is as easy as 1..2..3..4..
First, you put together a group of youth. Then you find an adult who is willing to be the leader. Sometimes it takes more than one adult: one to keep it all organized and one with expertise in the project area. Third, contact your County Extension Office for instructions on how to register online and get your club started. Finally, have fun while you learn and work together!
What if I'm not interested in any of the topics that the clubs in my area are working on?
If you have a special interest that you want to pursue, but don't find it available through an existing 4-H club, you have the opportunity to be an independent 4-H'er. You can work on your project, at your own pace, with the help and guidance of an adult, who could be your parent or friend, or someone from your local Extension office. You are still eligible to participate in county, state, regional and national 4-H events.
Do I have to be in a club to be in 4-H?
You don't have to join a club to be in 4-H, but it is the most popular way to participate. Clubs meet at least once/month on a regular schedule, which is determined by the members of the club. During meetings you learn how to accomplish the goals of your projects, how to run a business meeting, and how to share what you've learned with others by doing demonstrations, public speaking and helping younger age 4-H'ers with their projects. Clubs may decide to do some fun recreational activities, community service projects, fundraisers and field trips.
As a 4-H club member, you have the opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, learn about projects, participate in trips and activities, and more. A 4-H Club is YOUR club. Club members and volunteers decide the focus of the club and the activities they would enjoy to learn more about the project area.
Do I have to be enrolled as a 4-H member to participate in 4-H events?
No. You do not have to be enrolled in 4-H in order to participate in the many events offered. As you register for an event, you will be given the opportunity to join and once you have completed at least 6 hours of 4-H fun, you automatically become a member! Being a member does mean you have to join a club. You are free to participate in whatever 4-H events interest you. There are some events that require advanced registration, so check with your local county Extension office for information on a specific event in which you are interested.
4-H may also be available during and after school. Many child care centers and after school programs offer 4-H clubs as part of their program. 4-H Afterschool provides opportunities to participate in 4-H projects and clubs during an afterschool program at your school or local community center. Many schools offer 4-H clubs and project activities in a safe afterschool environment through their existing afterschool program. For schools that do not have an existing afterschool program, they may offer school space for a 4-H club meeting either once/week or once/month. Talk to the teachers and principal at your school to see what is available.
Is there a cost to join 4-H?
There are no state or national dues to join 4-H. Individual groups and clubs may charge a fee to cover project expenses, and depending on which projects interest you, some may require an investment in supplies, equipment or travel.