What Does Florida 4-H Mean Today?

[Tweet “Over the decades, @Florida4H has been growing #TrueLeaders. Find out what that means in 2016! #ItBeganWithAg http://bit.ly/1UQvS8W”]4-H has been around for over 100 years1—but what does 4-H mean today?

Maybe you’ve seen the four-leaf clover patch on a child’s backpack or you’ve heard of 4-H clubs. However, 4-H is more than just a logo or an activity. 4-H is and always has been about “learning by doing”—learning initiative, responsibility, life skills, and the importance of making an active difference in one’s community.2

What’s in a Name?

The name 4-H comes from the 4-H pledge to commit one’s “head, heart, hands, and health” to improving your community and yourself.2

A 4-h'er and his hog at a 4-H swine competition

A 4-h’er and his hog at a 4-H swine competition. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

Beginnings in Agriculture

4-H began as a way to involve youth in agriculture and agricultural education.3 4-H continues to be supported by land grant university extension programs, including UF/IFAS Extension. Florida 4-H programs are made possible by the work of volunteers and Extension staff.4

Who Are Florida 4-H’ers?

  • Over 204,000 youth across the state between the ages of 5 and 185
  • From urban, suburban, and rural communities5
  • Nearly equally split between boys and girls5

What Do 4-H’ers Do?

  • Participate in clubs, camps, special programs, school enrichment, and more6

    4-H'ers getting hands-on experience in a laboratory

    4-H’ers getting hands-on experience in a laboratory. UF/IFAS Photo

  • Get hands on experience in areas such as agricultural and environmental sciences, engineering, health and nutrition, public speaking, leadership, and the arts6
  • Do better in school, learn healthy habits, give back to their communities, and confront the challenges of the future6

How Can 4-H Help Kids Succeed?

Samantha Dailey, a long-time 4-H’er, and now Florida 4-H intern and University of Florida student, is a great example of how 4-H can help kids succeed by finding their passions.

Samantha grew up in Ocala, Florida, and got involved in 4-H when she was very young. She’s done everything from showing animals at the county fair to attending 4-H Legislature in Tallahassee. Her experiences in 4-H inspired her passion for animal science, which she is now studying at UF. 4-H also gave her the confidence and leadership skills she hopes to use in a career in the beef industry. “4-H has molded me into the person that I am today,” she says.

How to Get Involved

For more information and to get involved in Florida 4-H, contact your UF/IFAS Extension county office or go to florida4h.org.

Already know a great 4-H’er who’s making a difference? Give him or her a shout-out on social media with the #TrueLeaders and #4HGrowsHere hashtags.7

Remember to let the child’s parent or guardian know that you would like to honor his or her child online. If the child is under thirteen, tag the child’s parent, guardian, club leader, extension agent, or teacher instead of the child. And only use first names!7


  1. “History,” florida4h.org, 2013, http://florida4h.org/about/history/
  2. “Mission, Vision, Slogan, Motto and Pledge,” florida4h.org, 2015, http://florida4h.org/about/mission/
  3. “4-H Youth Development & Mentoring Programs,” 4-h.org, n.d., http://www.4-h.org/about/
  4. Florida 4-H, Experience Florida 4-H Youth Development Program, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2009, http://florida4h.org/getinvolved1/Experience4H.pdf
  5. Florida 4-H, Florida 4-H: Facts & Impacts, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2015, http://florida4h.org/about1/impact/4-H_Facts_and_Impacts.pdf
  6. Florida 4-H, 2014-15 Florida 4-H Annual Statistical Snapshot, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2015, http://florida4h.org/about1/impact/Statistical_Snapshot.pdf
  7. National 4-H Council, Grow True Leaders, n.d., http://www.4-h.org/resource-library/4H-marketing-online-resource-center/4H-promotional-toolkits/

UF/IFAS Featured Photo by Tyler Jones