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4-H in Florida, Club Show. Source: Smather's Archives.

What is 4-H?

Before 4-H, there was a need for agricultural youth programs. 4-H first began in 1902 in Clark County, Ohio. Over 100 years later, it has become the nation’s largest youth development organization. 4-H aims to help young people, as well as their families, gain the skills needed to be proactive in their communities by developing ideas for a more innovative economy. This organization opens the door for young people to develop leadership skills and utilizes practical, hands-on experiences for learning outside the classroom.

Florida’s 4-H

4-H type programs began providing Florida’s young people with educational activities as early as 1909, in cooperation with the state’s land-grant universities.

The UF/IFAS Extension 4-H Youth Development Program’s mission is to utilize a learn-by-doing approach to help young people gain the knowledge necessary to become responsible, productive citizens. This mission of the 4-H programs is accomplished by:

  • Creating safe and inclusive learning environments
  • Involving caring adults
  • Utilizing the expertise and resources of the University of Florida, as well as the nationwide land grant university system.

The 4-H motto is “To make the Best Better”. The 4-H slogan is “Learn by Doing”. Our vision aims to make Florida 4-H the leading youth development program that creates positive change in youth, families, and communities. The 4-H pledge is: “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living. For my club, my community, my country and my world.” The motto, slogan, vision, and pledge all coincide with our goal to help youth develop into productive citizens.

4-H Programs

In order to participate in 4-H, young people must be between the ages of 5 and 18. The membership age of young people is determined by their age as of September 1 of their current program year (September 1-August 31).

4-H’s three major priority programs are:


The Cloverbud program is open to children ages 5-7. This program is for children who want to have fun learning and playing together. As part of this program, children will:

  • Explore science activities
  • Strengthen motor skills through arts and crafts
  • Learn to make friends through working and learning together

4-H Club:

The 4-H club program is open to youth ages 8-18. The youth participating in 4-H learn skills that they are then able to use to give back to their communities. Members are able to choose from over 50 projects focusing on:

  • Science
  • Engineering and technology
  • Animals and agriculture
  • Food and nutrition
  • Outdoor adventures
  • Marine science
  • Public speaking
  • Art and wildlife


4-H events are hosted at the county, district, state, and national levels. These events include both Competitive and Non-Competitive events and balance cooperative learning activities in an informal education program.

All 4-H events and activities are specifically designed to provide hands-on education to the three primary 4-H programs. These events give members positively, meaningful experiences by providing physical, mental, social, and emotional growth opportunities.


There are three UF/IFAS Extension facilities open year-round that are able to be reserved by 4-H groups and other organizations:

Specialty Camps:

Specialty camps are week long (Monday-Friday), overnight camps. These camps are open to all youth, 4-H and non 4-H. There are two specialty camps: Marine Camp and Gator Adventures. Specialty Camp dates for 2018 will be announced November 1st, 2017.

County 4-H Camps:

County camp schedules for Summer 2018 will be announced November 1st, 2017.

Learn More

For more information on Florida’s 4-H programs, please visit Florida 4-H’s webpage.


This blog post was written by Natural Resources Extension Program Intern, Ms. Paxton Evans, under supervision by 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent, Ms. Shreemoyee Ghosh.

2 Comments on “What is 4-H?

  1. I am interested in signing my daughter up but I’m not sure how to do that. Her interests are art and wildlife.