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About Burke County 4-H and Youth Programs

About Our 4-H Youth Programs

4-H is an informal, practical, out-of-school, ‘learning-by-doing’ educational program for youth. It is dedicated to the growth and development of boys and girls, ages 5-19, of all racial, cultural, economic and social backgrounds whether they live in the city or on the farm. The major goal of 4-H youth development programs is to assist youth in developing important life skills. A skill is a learned ability to do something well. Life skills are skills that help an individual to be successful in living a productive and satisfying life. Some important life skills include; making decisions, solving problems, relating to others, planning and organizing, learning to learn, communicating with others, leading self and others, relating to change, and applying science and technology.

4-H is the largest out-of-school youth program in North Carolina and the United States. More than 6 million young people are involved in clubs, after-school groups and other activities all over the country.

How Does 4-H Function?

4-H is a “hands-on” learning program which has exciting club and special interest activities and events. It is volunteer led and community based. 4-H helps boys and girls increase their knowledge, skills, citizenship, and leadership. The 4-H program uses a combination of club work, projects, and activities to help the youth accomplish their goals.

The 4-H program, administered by Cooperative Extension, emphasizes projects that develop the four H’s: head, heart, hands, and health. 4-H operates by involving the 4-H member, the family, volunteers, and the community in a cooperative effort. It is supported by national, state and local interests working together for the betterment of youth.

What Does It Cost?

It costs nothing to join 4-H and members are not required to purchase uniforms. Member expenses are minimal and determined by the club itself. The nominal costs of materials for club activities are usually covered by money-making projects conducted by the club.

Families of 4-H members are responsible for transporting their children to the 4-H meetings and activities, and are encouraged to stay and actively participate with their child(ren).

Project selection by the 4-H member will also affect the cost. Each member is responsible for meeting the costs of their selected projects. This cost can vary greatly. A member with a horse project is going to be spending more money than a member doing a foods project.

History of 4-H

In the early 1900’s, 4-H programs began throughout the country in response to young people and their need for a better agricultural education. Boys and girls clubs were established to meet this need. Most states organized clubs outside of schools with parents serving as volunteer leaders and Cooperative Extension Agents providing appropriate educational materials.

Since its inception, 4-H youth development programs have embraced several educational methods for serving America’s youth. While the emphasis on education, ‘learning by doing’ and the development of young people continues, the form it takes addresses the changing issues and diverse backgrounds of today’s youth. 4-H may have started out as an agricultural learning resource for farmer’s children, but it has grown into much, much more.

 Different Types Of 4-H Clubs

There are three types of 4-H clubs:  Project Clubs, Community Clubs, and After-School Clubs. Project and community clubs differ in emphasis. A project club is organized based on a common interest in a subject or topic while a community club allows members to study a variety of topics. The after-school clubs differ in location and leadership. After-school clubs are formed and meet in organized child care settings and are usually lead by paid personnel at the sites. An after-school club can be a project club or a community club.

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