What is 4-H?

4-H Clover

What is 4-H?

What can we do in 4-H?

Enroll Now

4-H Family Resources

Contact our office

What is 4-H?

4-H is the youth component of the Cooperative Extension System in the United States.  It serves young people in grades K-13 (one year out of high school).  These youth participate in individual and group learning opportunities in a safe environment that teach skills through an experiential process. Youth can learn important life skills like leadership, teamwork, critical thinking and communication to help prepare them for successful futures – and they do it while engaging in fun, hands-on 4-H activities!  4-H is the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization; in Wisconsin, more than 150,000 youth in urban, suburban and rural settings are involved with 4-H and other UW-Extension youth programs.Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development’s 16,000 adult volunteers serve as mentors and role models for 4-H’ers.  They help provide a safe, interactive place for youth to take risks, practice their independence and master new skills.  And adults who volunteer for 4-H take a lot away from their experiences – volunteers learn and strengthen skills that help them in the workplace and become better connected to their communities.  Learn more about Wisconsin’s 4-H program.

  • 4-H Motto
    • “To make the best better.”
  • 4-H Colors
    • Green and White are the 4-H colors.  The 4-H Flag is a green clover with a white H on each leaf and a white background.
  • What do the 4-H’s stand for?
    • Head:  4-H’ers learn about new project areas, try new skills, and gain new knowledge and experience. 
    • Heart:  4-H’ers learn about who they are and what they stand for, along with gaining many new friends. 
    • Hands:  4-H’ers learn about helping their community and are involved in a wide variety of service projects. 
    • Health:  4-H’ers learn about healthy lifestyles and to make choices that will have a positive impact in their lives.
  • 4-H Pledge 
    • I pledge: 
      • My HEAD to clearer thinking (right hand points to forehead)   
      • My HEART to greater loyalty (right hand over heart) 
      • My HANDS to larger service (arms slightly bent, palms up) 
      • And my HEALTH to better living for my club, my community, my county and my world (arms at side)
  • 4-H History 
    • Early 1900’s  Girls’ canning clubs and boys’ corn clubs began to develop
    • 1914  Smith-Lever Act was passed creating Cooperative Extension Service.
    • 1915  The first Wisconsin State Fair was organized in West Allis.
    • 1916  Wisconsin State 4-H Leader identified that green and white were the national colors
      and the four leaf clover was the emblem.
    • 1918  First State Club Week (State 4-H Congress) and the first county agent to  work with
    • 1920  The national motto was changed to “Make the Best Better.”
    • 1927  The 4-H pledge and motto were officially adopted nationally.
    • 1939  The 25th Anniversary of organized club work in Wisconsin.
    • 1941  Elizabeth Upham Davis and Caroline Upham Keene memorialized their parents by
      donating 310 acres near Wisconsin Dells to youth programs.
    • 1956  4-H bulletins now refer 4-H as a program for all youth, urban and suburban, village
      and farm.
    • 1962  Wisconsin’s 50th Anniversary of 4-H club work.
    • 1967  The 4-H program officially became known as the State 4-H Youth Development
    • 1969  Wisconsin 4-H initiated its involvement in the federally funded Expanded Food and
      Nutrition Education Program as a way to reach new groups.
    • 1983  Wisconsin 4-H reached over 100,000 young people.
    • 1991  A plan was introduced for integrating the experiential learning cycle into the 4-H
      Curriculum Handbook at a National 4-H Curriculum Conference.

What can we do in 4-H?

    • Participate in a 4-H club. 4-H clubs are open to all youth in grades 5k through one year past high school graduation. At club meetings members decide activities to do, which range from community service to fun educational experiences. 4-H clubs are run by elected youth members, offering a chance for youth to learn the important life skill of civic responsibility.
    • Bring projects to the Taylor County Fair. Participating in projects is a way for youth to master a specific subject area that they are interested in, and then have the opportunity for it to be evaluated by a judge at a county fair. Youth also gain hands-on experience and knowledge while having fun.
    • Participate in County, State or National Trips, Camps, and Conferences with other youth. Visit our 4-H Trips page to see the list of opportunities.
    • Youth Leaders Organization (YLO). Youth in grades 6 and above are invited to join the YLO, a self-governing and funded organization. In this organization youth learn responsibility, leadership and life skills by participating in community service projects, team-building group activities and more.
    • The opportunities are endless! There are many more opportunities available to 4-H members, the best way to keep up to date with them all is to read the 4-H Newsletters and 4-H Email Blasts.

Enroll in 4-H

Visit our How to Join 4-H page to learn how to enroll.

4-H Families Resources

Contact our office for more information:


Cathy Mauer, Taylor County UW-Extension Program Assistant
(715) 748-3327 ext. 3