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About 4-H

What is 4-H?

With more than 6 million members, 4-H is the largest out-of-school youth program in the United States. Oregon State University 4-H Youth Development Program has connected thousands of local youth to engaging hands-on learning opportunities and supportive adult partnerships.

4-H empowers young people with hands-on learning experiences to help them grow and thrive. By creating a safe and welcoming environment, young people develop the skills needed to make a positive impact on the world around them. In 4-H, members:

  • Pursue college and possible career choices in the Aviation Field Day, Outreach Leadership Institute and Junior Master Naturalist programs.
  • Gain confidence and and learn to make healthy choices in iTri, Running Striders and Outdoor Cooking. 
  • Develop their leadership skills and appreciation of others with experiences in the Urban Rural Exchange, Global Citizenship, Youth Led Leadership Building and Camp Tumbleweed.
  • Think creatively and critically and work strategically as an individual and/or team through opportunities such as Robotics Competition, SPRK+ Robot, Regional Livestock Field Day and State 4-H Ranch Horse contest.

How does 4-H work?

4-H is based on a positive youth development approach that recognizes all youth have interests, abilities and strengths that can be enhanced by participation in 4-H programs. Research from Oregon State University suggests that participating in high quality 4-H programs helps youth thrive, and thriving youth achieve important developmental outcomes, like academic motivation and success, social competence and high personal standards. In 4-H, youth are able to:

  • Fuel: 4-H fuels sparks. Having a spark in life is essential for youth to thrive because it ignites actions, encourages goal setting and enhances relationships with others. 4-H provides an environment for youth to identify and explore areas that interest them, which often results in youth developing and sustaining their spark.
  • Grow: 4-H grows positive supportive relationships. A safe welcoming environment builds youth relationships with peers and adults and provides a place where youth experience respect, support and a sense of belonging.
  • Connect: 4-H connects youth to their community. 4-H offers learning opportunities at the state, national and international level where youth can apply the skills they have developed and discover how their actions can make a difference in their community and the world.
  • Thrive: 4-H helps youth thrive. High quality, engaging hands on learning opportunities are a direct result of research based 4-H program planning.

Impact of 4-H

The Oregon 4-H Program “Inspires Kids to Do” every day. Every 4-H’er has a story and every story is worth telling!

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