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Extension > Youth Development > Minnesota 4-H > About 4-H

About 4-H

Minnesota 4-H youth development offers age-appropriate, hands-on learning via short-and long-term projects and activities, including:

  • 4-H clubs
  • Special-interest groups
  • After-school programs
  • Volunteering
  • Civic engagement
  • Community service
  • Camping
  • School enrichment

4-H is delivered throughout Minnesota in urban, suburban and rural communities.

In 4-H, youth design and participate in their own programs and activities. This unique, learn-by-doing model teaches kids essential, transferrable skills that they'll use throughout their lives, such as problem solving, decision making, coping, communicating and responding to the needs of others.

Whether youth are building rockets, raising dairy cows, or writing musical plays, 4-H gives them the skills they need to succeed in life.

What can I do in 4-H?

4-H has something for everyone! Youth in kindergarten through one year past high school can participate in short-term activities or longer-term clubs, where groups meet regularly to work on projects, perform community service and develop leadership skills.

4-H offers activities in:

  • Science, engineering and technology
  • Citizenship and leadership
  • Healthy living
  • Animal science

No matter which project they choose, through 4-H youth will learn public speaking skills, how to collaborate, understand government and community, and how to develop and reach life and career goals.

Browse the 4-H project selection guide. If you can't find a project that interests you, we'll help you develop one. Contact a 4-H representative in your area to find out how you can get involved.

How do youth benefit from 4-H?

A recent national study by Tufts University found that youth who participate in 4-H:

  • Have better grades and are more emotionally engaged with school.
  • Are more than twice as likely to be civically active and contribute to their communities.
  • Are 47% less likely to have risky or problem behaviors.

How do we get involved in 4-H?

For more information about Minnesota 4-H, contact your local county Extension office or call the Extension Center for Youth Development office at 1-800-444-4238.

How can I become a 4-H club leader or volunteer?

Contact your local 4-H office to get involved.

4-H statistics

View the latest research

Who participates in Minnesota 4-H?

In 2013, over 65,000 Minnesota youth participated in an Extension Youth Development program, representing all areas of the state:

  • 25% Farm
  • 36% Rural/Town (under 10,000)
  • 33% Town/Cities (10,000-50,000)
  • 4% Suburb
  • 2% Cities over 50,000

How do youth benefit from 4-H?

According to a 2009 report from the Tufts University National 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development, compared to youth in other out-of-school activities, 4-H youth:

  • Are more than twice as likely to be civically active and make contributions to their communities.
  • Are 47% less likely to have risky or problem behaviors.
  • Are less likely to experience depression.
  • Have better grades and are more emotionally engaged with school.
  • Are more likely to see themselves going to college.
  • Are more likely to have features of positive youth development: competence, confidence, connection, character and caring.

According to the 2005 University of Minnesota Extension study of youth programs in Minnesota, parents reported that youth who participate in 4-H:

  • Have significantly better grades than other youth.
  • Are more active and involved in organized activities than non 4-H youth.
  • Have a higher level of volunteering compared to the national average.
  • Are more eager to participate in out-of-school activities.
  • Have higher levels of participation in a wide variety of activities than non-4-H youth, including:
    • School-based extra-curricular activities
    • Arts programs
    • Science and technology activities
    • Volunteer work

One of the hallmarks of 4-H is its strong volunteer base. In 2013, nearly 11,000 adult volunteers contributed more than 1 million hours of service (a value of $23 million!) to support the positive development of Minnesota's youth. In addition, these volunteers stay with the program for years - from one to 54 years. Most of them commit several years of hard work and fun to 4-H.

State Wide Total Volunteers

Detailed 4-H statistics (ES-237 report)
2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003

4-H Project participation
2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000


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