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4-H youth enjoy s'mores at a campfire with an adult leader.

Why Affirmative Action in 4-H?

“Affirmative Action” evokes varying opinions and emotions for many people. In the world of 4-H, the principles of Affirmative Action are implemented for the purposes of including and welcoming all youth, no matter their backgrounds, within county and statewide 4-H programming.

Polk County 4-H does not use quotas or limit participation of kids based on race, ethnicity, skin color, nationality, or gender (or any other factor). 4-H agents and volunteers monitor the participation of youth to ascertain whether club membership and participation reflects the diversity of Polk’s communities. When there isn’t a balance between the two, staff and volunteers reach out to communities to encourage participation of diverse youth.

The Essential Elements of 4-H ( include Belonging, which is the most essential in a child’s or parent’s decision to participate in 4-H. Everyone wants to feel welcome and accepted into a group, and the 4-H club setting is a prime place to create an atmosphere of acceptance. And with the unparalleled opportunities and choices available for youth in the 4-H program, kids from every demographic and neighborhood can benefit in life-changing ways.

Even tech giant Google has recognized that 4-H has the potential to reach diverse youth in unique ways. In August 2017, National 4-H Council and Google announced a new partnership to support youth in learning computer science in preparation for the world of work:

4-H has the capacity to serve every community, every youth. To learn more, visit