4-H Youth Development

4-H Youth Development

4-H Youth Development

Anyone from 9 through 18 can join 4-H. When 4-H began in 1909, most members lived on a farm. That’s not true anymore. Today 4-H has programs in large cities, small towns, rural areas, on farms, and even military bases. 4-H provides youth with hands-on, real-life opportunities to develop skills, gain knowledge, have fun, and make contributions in such areas as environmental education, community service, and current youth issues.

What is 4-H?

4-H Youth Development is part of Kentucky Cooperative Extension.  Extension’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of Kentucky citizens through non-formal education for the entire family.  Extension agents and volunteers take the results of university research and explain it in such a way that different age groups can learn and apply the information to their own lives. Kentucky 4-H believes in providing positive youth development experiences that all youth to experience belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.  

4-H is a youth organization committed to building outstanding leaders with marketable skills to succeed in today’s global society. 4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults. The four H's represent the idea of HeadHeartHandsand Health. These are the values members work on through fun and engaging programs.

Head   Managing, Thinking

Heart   Relating, Caring

Hands   Giving, Working

Health   Being, Living

What Can you do in 4-H?

It’s up to you.  You can go to camp, learn to shop wisely, give a demonstration, grow vegetables, learn how to fish, make bread, shadow an adult at work, learn to make healthy food choices, give a speech, cure a ham or develop leadership skills on a challenge course.  You can perform in a skit, make a birdhouse, learn about science and technology while building a rocket or using GPS, take pictures, learn about electricity, judge livestock, or drive a tractor.  You can decorate a room, ride in a bike rodeo, be part of an international exchange, learn to sew, raise an animal, or protect the environment.  And there’s more! 

Teen members in 4-H may choose to help younger members with their projects, attend state and national conferences and events.  They can learn more about being an effective leader, improve speaking skills or demonstrate community service and citizenship through the Nelson County 4-H program.

What Can Parents/Guardians Do?

4-H is a family affair, offering many opportunities where both child and parent can participate with common interests. The success of the 4-H program experience depends greatly upon parent support and involvement. By being actively involved in 4-H, parents/guardians can ensure the best experience possible for their child.

Participation in the 4-H program allows parents to contribute to the development of not only their child, but other 4-Hers as well.  Involvement in 4-H can promote a sense of adequacy, self-worth, and self-confidence in parents. Parents gain new skills and interests as well as ideas for helping youth learn.   Through involvement in   4-H, parents can also strengthen their social networks with other parents in the community.

Research shows when parents are involved, children are more likely to progress academically, to enjoy the experience, to participate in extracurricular activities and are less likely to have discipline problems.  Working with the club, the projects or the leadership of a local school or community 4-H program shows their child that they care and are willing to give their time and energy to support their interests.

How do I volunteer?

Volunteers are important part of Nelson County 4-H.  A Kentucky 4-H volunteer is anyone who contributes time, energy or talent to the Kentucky 4-H Youth Development Program and is not paid by University of Kentucky funds.

There are a variety of ways in which people may volunteer for 4-H.  There are seven specific types of 4-H volunteer roles in Kentucky.  These include Community Club Leader, Project Club Leader, Special Emphasis Volunteer, School Enrichment Volunteer, 4-H Committee Member, 4-H Council Member and Youth Volunteer.  If you would like to be a volunteer in Nelson County, please contact our office.  An application and background check are required for all volunteers.

  • Cloverbuds
  • School Enrichment
  • Clubs
  • Teen Programs
  • Events & Activities

Cloverbuds are youth who are 5 to 8 years old or in kindergarten through the second grade.  Since early life experiences, even subtle ones, affect future development the cloverbuds program provides an excellent opportunity for children to reach their highest potential while learning more about themselves and the world around them.  Cloverbuds helps young members develop positive attitudes about learning new things through hands on involvement.  Cloverbuds can attend  meetings and participate at county level events.  

4-H sponsors several school programs throughout the year including Environmental Day Camps, Reality Stores, Chick Incubation, and many more.  The Kentucky 4-H Core Curriculum consists of programs in Animal Science, Communication and Expressive Arts, Family and Consumer Science, Health, Leadership and Natural Resources.  4-H programs are designed to support and enhance Kentucky’s learning goals and academic expectations.

Country Ham—Youth explore the process of selecting and curing a country ham.  Educational meetings include tours to local farms and businesses where youth can observe the market to market process.

Horseless Club—Members learn how to raise and show horses and participate in parades, shows, and trail rides.

Teen Council– Teens in the 8-12th grade meet monthly to focus on leadership and service oriented activities, while also supporting the larger Nelson County 4-H Program. 

Shooting Sports Education Club—Members learn about firearms and archery, shooting safety, and participate in target shooting.

Teen Council Club
Teens from each Nelson County High School participate in community service, host county, district, and state events,  represent Nelson County at local, district & state events, and promote 4-H.  This group also serves as an advisory council for the  4-H program.

Learn how to be a great public speaker in 4-H!  The ability to speak publicly, whether a committee report or a formal speech, is essential to every 4-H member’s development and future.  4-H members can participate in Speeches or the Demonstrations.  County and district winners can participate in the State Communication Contest.

4-H Camp Teen Leader
Are you ready to experience one of the most fun weeks of your life? Do you like to learn new things such as swimming, riflery, archery, canoeing, crafts, songs and dances? Do you like making new friends and having lots of fun? THEN 4-H CAMP IS FOR YOU!  How about helping youth enjoy the same camping experiences you have by becoming a 4-H Camp Junior Counselor. 

Achievement Program
4-H members (12-18) are eligible to participate in this program which highlights their 4-H achievements, community service, and leadership with the potential to win state and national recognition. Applications are available at the office.

Teen Summit
Teen Summit is held annually at the 4-H Leadership Center for youth who are currently enrolled in 6th,7th and 8th grades. This program is designed to develop leadership, citizenship and communications skills and to inspire middle school 4-H youth to remain active in the 4-H program . 

Issues Conference
A 4-day event for teens to discuss issues that affect today’s youth and learn leadership skills to develop solutions.

Teen Conference
Meet friends from all over the state!  Teens participate in a 4-day educational and leadership conference on the campus of the University of Kentucky.

National 4-H Conference
The National 4-H Conference is a working conference in which youth and adults at the invitation of the Secretary of Agriculture assist in the development of recommendations to help guide 4-H Programs nationally and in their communities.

State Teen Council and 4-H Leadership Boards
4-H State Teen Council is made up of delegates from each of the 7 districts in KY. They help plan the 4-H Teen Conference, review educational materials for teens, learn about teamwork and leadership, assist with the Kentucky Teen Summit (program for youth aged 12-13) and many other things.  The State 4-H Officers serve as leaders of this group as a result of their election to state office.   The state also offer a Shooting Sports Teen Ambassador Program, A Performing Arts Troupe, and a Fashion Board!

Project Fair—4-H members exhibit projects & show livestock during this weeklong event in July.  Ribbons, and premium money are awarded as prizes.

Kentucky State Fair—County Fair winners exhibit winning projects at one of the largest state fairs in the nation.  This 10-day event is held in Louisville and plaques, ribbons, & premium money are awarded.

Achievement Program—The 4-H Achievement Program is intended to recognize 4-H participants who have outstanding accomplishments and to provide incentive for youth to increase their knowledge, skills and abilities.

Poster Contest—Youth create posters that display what 4-H means to them and earn cash prizes.

Officer Training—After clubs are organized in the fall, club officers participate in workshops to learn the responsibilities of their office & develop effective leadership skills. 

Written Communication Contest—Does your 4-Her have a passion for writing?  4-Hers can compete in poetry, song writing, essay categories and more.  AT the county level winners will receive recognition and be eligible to move on to the state contest.

Speech & Demonstration Contest—Youth learn to write, organize, & deliver a speech or demonstrate a skill.  Winners earn the right to participate in district and state events.

Teen Summit—Youth in grades 6-8 travel to the Kentucky Leadership Center for a 3-day conference to develop leadership & life skills.

A Capitol Experience—Club members have the opportunity to travel to the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort for state government’s largest youth event.  4-H members tour the capital, meet state officials, and travel to the Kentucky History Museum.

4-H Awards Banquet—4-H members, project & club leaders, sponsors, and community leaders are honored for their contributions, achievements, & service to Nelson County 4-H at local, district, state, & national events from the previous year.