Lee County 4-H: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is 4-H?
A: 4-H is a non-formal, practical educational program for youth. It is the youth development program of UF/IFAS Extension. 4-H is where there’s fun in learning and learning in fun!
Q: Isn’t 4-H just for kids who live on farms?
A: No! 4-H is for all youth, whether they live on farms, in suburbs, or in cities. 4-H serves youth from all backgrounds and interests. It reaches both boys and girls through 4-H clubs, special-interest (SPIN) clubs and short-term projects, individual and family learning and mentoring, camping, and school-based programs. Most 4-H members are from towns and cities and participate in contemporary projects such as bicycle care and safety, consumer education, aerospace and model rocketry, public speaking, and animal sciences. 4-H offers membership without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability, or handicap.
Q: What is the mission of 4-H?
A: The UF/IFAS Extension 4-H Youth Development program uses a learn-by-doing approach to enable youth to develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to become competent, caring, and contributing citizens of the world. This mission is accomplished by using the knowledge and resources of the land-grant university system, along with the involvement of caring adults.
Q: What age must you be to join 4-H?
A: Youth ages 5–18 or in grades K–12 can be 4-H club members and enroll in many different 4-H projects. Youth grades K–2, ages 5–7, can be 4-H Cloverbud members. The 4-H Cloverbud program is a noncompetitive learning experience. Usually, Cloverbud members meet separate from older youth and sample a variety of 4-H projects. Older 4-H members also have special opportunities, such as serving on a countywide 4-H teen council or competing in competitive events.
Q: How much does 4-H cost?
A: In Lee County, 4-H Costs $25 for the whole 4-H year, which runs September 1st to August 31st. This covers both the state level membership fees and county level fees and allows for youth to participate as an active member. Some club’s do have additional dues to help facilitate activities on the club level.
Q: How do I join 4-H?
You’ll first find a club with openings in which you are interested in joining. When you have contacted the club leader and have confirmed attending your first meeting, then you will fill out your enrollment through the 4-H Online program. Please note that you are not an active member until your enrollment has been approved and your payment has been received. To receive a list of all clubs with openings, please contact the 4-H Office or visit the website.
Q: How do I enroll in 4-H Online?
A: Families may enroll their youth in the 4-HOnline system, which is the only way to be an active, eligible 4-Her in Lee County at V2.4Honline.com. Youth/families should only select the club(s) and project(s) in which they are completing for the year. All youth must be enrolled and approved in the 4-HOnline system 30 Days before an event to participate. Should a Lee County family need a computer or internet access to register, please reach out to the Lee County 4-H Office for assistance.
Q: How do I pay membership fees? Can I pay by check?
A: Before becoming eligible, families are required to pay all county and state membership fees. Youth should already be in communication with a 4-H Club and be prepared to attend a 4-H meeting before enrolling and paying dues.
When enrolling online through the 4-HOnline system, families will have the option to pay via credit card. Should a family want to pay by check, they should select “payment for this invoice will be collected by 4-H Institution” when registering on 4-H Online. Please make checks payable to “University of Florida” and mail to:
UF/IFAS Extension 4-H Youth Development Program
Attn: Membership Fees
PO Box 110225
Gainesville, FL 32611-0225
*Please put youths full name, county, and birthday in the memo line*
Q: What is the time commitment for 4-H?
A: Families should be prepared to commit time to both their youths club meetings and their 4-H projects. Typically, community clubs meet for a couple of hours each month during a monthly meeting. Families should be prepared to put in additional hours for club projects and community service. Hours needed for club projects vary, please check before committing if time allowance is a worry!
Q: What is expected of parents?
A: Children need parental encouragement to start their 4-H experience and sometimes to keep them motivated along the way. We encourage youth to grow and step up into leadership roles, but it is also important for parents to attend 4-H meetings and pay attention as well to make sure no opportunities or deadlines are missed.
Parents are also encouraged to get involved and support their child but remember to not take over and do their projects. Youth learn through doing in 4-H, and often learn from their mistakes as well as their successes!
Q: How do I stay a Member in Good Standing in Lee County?
A: To be a Member in Good Standing, a 4-Her must attend 2/3rd of all club meetings for the year and complete one full project book. In addition to this, they must comply with their club’s by-law requirements, if there are additional requirements on top of it. Please be sure to research this before joining a club, as it is a commitment made by the family joining.
All members should submit a Member in Good Standing form to their club leader at the end of the year. The leader will then sign off on it based on met requirements, then it will be turned into the County 4-H office. Extreme cases may result in finding a new club or taking a break from the 4-H program.
Q: What is a 4-H club?
A: Clubs are the foundation of the 4-H program. A 4-H club is a group of five or more youth guided by one or more adult volunteer leaders. A club can be any size—from a small group of kids from one neighborhood to a larger club consisting of youth from all over the county. Clubs can be community based with a focus on general projects or specific to one project area. Community clubs may meet in a variety of ways, such as during an after-school assembly at a community center. Clubs also may meet for shorter period of times to focus on one project (six sessions in a SPIN club) or for the entire year
4-H Clubs are ran by screened and trained volunteers who invest their time and leadership to better our local youth in their 4-H experiences.
Q: What happens in a 4-H club?
A: 4-H clubs focus on a variety of projects and activities of interest to the members. 4-H members have many opportunities: building leadership by electing officers; conducting their own business meetings; working together on community service activities; meeting new friends; and most importantly, having lots of fun.
Q: What are projects and what is available?
A; 4-H “projects” are a series of learning experiences of six hours or more within an area of interest. A list of the various projects and project handouts can be found on the Florida 4-H Project Page, along with a list of state supported curricula. Youth involved in projects are encouraged to gain knowledge and skills in that project area, as well as gain skills in communications, leadership, citizenship, and science.
4-H Has three major project areas: Healthy Living, Citizenship & Leadership, and S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
Q: What does a 4-H Project cost?
Project costs vary. Members are responsible for the cost of supplies for projects. Some projects might use supplies from around the house and only cost a couple of dollars, while others might be a significant financial investment. Club projects should be reasonable for all club members and individual projects can be based off of a family’s own financial evaluation.
Q: I want to show animals, how do I do this?
A: In order to show animals, a family needs to register and become an active member in 4-H and register as an exhibitor through the Southwest Florida Lee County Fair. Lee County 4-H are invited guests of the SWF Lee County fair, and it is the family’s responsibility to make sure they register in both the 4-H program and to show at fair, and be familiar with rules on both sides. Should you have any questions, your club leader or 4-H Agent can help if you cannot find them in the Livestock rule book.
You should always consult your code or code office to ensure you are within the bounds of your areas code requirements when selecting a species project. Cloverbud youth ages 5-7 may not show large animals under 4-H.
Q: Are there Age Divisions in 4-H? What do they mean?
A: Yes, 4-H does utilize age divisions as a way to insure they are in a developmentally appropriate group. Age divisions are determined based on the child’s age at or on the beginning of the current 4-H Year (September 1).
Cloverbud: Ages 5-7
Junior: Ages 8-10
Intermediate: Ages 11-13
Senior: Ages 14-18
Youth age divisions above are used for county officer eligibility, competitive events, and many county/district/state events. During competitive events, youth will be judged within their age division.
Cloverbuds are welcome to participate in most 4-H activities, with the exception of shooting sports, large-animal projects, motor vehicle projects, and overnight/camping events. Should they choose to participate in certain competitive events, they will receive a participation ribbon and feedback from judges, however, they are not eligible to advance to district competitive events
Q: Where does 4-H get its funding?
A: UF/IFAS Extension, of which 4-H is a part, receives funds from a cooperative partnership of three levels of government: federal (via the US Department of Agriculture), state (via the University of Florida), and county (through the county Board of Commissioners). 4-H also receives support from private sources.
Q: Who “runs” the 4-H program?
A: Professional staff includes at least one county 4-H agent who is a faculty member of the University of Florida and in some counties as program assistant. The county 4-H agent(s) is responsible for the countywide 4-H program and may also have state and national responsibilities. There are various county 4-H support and advisory groups made up of interested adult volunteers. State and national 4-H personnel also support local county 4-H professionals and volunteers.
Q: What do the four “H”s on the 4-H emblem stand for?
A: The 4-H emblem is a green four-leaf clover with a white “H” on each leaflet, symbolizing Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. The 4-H emblem was protected by an Act of Congress in 1924.
Q: What is the 4-H Pledge?
A: At 4-H club meetings and other 4-H events, 4-H members recite the Pledge of Allegiance and the 4-H Pledge:
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.
Q: What is the 4-H motto?
A: “To Make the Best Better.”
Q: What is the 4-H slogan?
A: “Learn by Doing.”
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