A 4-H Club is an organized group that meets regularly with adult volunteers or 4-H staff throughout the year to focus on a series of educational experiences. The purpose of a 4-H club is to provide positive youth development and foster educational opportunities to meet the needs of young people.
Club membership is open to all youth between the ages of 8 and 18 as of January 1 of the current year. Youth ages 5 to 7 may participate as Clover Kids. The following types of 4-H Clubs are available:
- Community Club
- Project Club
- Special Interest Club
4-H Clubs conduct regular meetings, either virtually or face-to-face, in various locations, including a member's or leader's home, community centers, libraries, public housing sites, or schools. Members participate in service learning projects, give presentations, serve as club officers, and complete educational projects.
The purpose of a 4-H club is to provide positive youth development opportunities to meet the needs of young people to experience belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity–the Essential Elements–and to foster educational opportunities tied to the Land Grant University knowledge base.
4-H Club membership is open to all youth beginning at age 8 (as of January 1) and open to all young people but not to exceed beyond the age of 19 (as of January 1). 4-H Club membership is open to all youth without regard to race, ethnicity, color, national origin, gender-identity, sex, pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran's status, marital status, religion, political affiliation or socioeconomic backgrounds. All 4-H club members must be enrolled in a 4-H club each year.
Youth ages 5 to 7 are eligible as Clover Kids. Clover Kids may participate in regular 4-H Clubs or special 4-H Clover Kid Clubs.
- Community Clubs typically meet in the evenings or on weekends and offer self-chosen multiple learning experiences and activities. Example: Traditional 4-H Club.
- In-school Clubs meet during school hours, but have officers and planned activities beyond school enrichment. Example: 4-H clubs established in the club period available in some schools.
- 4-H Afterschool Clubs are hosted in afterschool settings designated by a formal afterschool program. They have officers and planned activities. Example: Groups with officers at Community Learning Centers
- Military 4-H Clubs are organized by the Armed Forces, often on military installations, and principally for military dependents.
A high quality 4-H club:
- Meets interests and needs of youth in same-age or cross-age groupings and using single project or multiple project formats.
- Helps youth and parents/guardians adapt in cases of mobility – linking them to 4-H programs in other counties and states when needed.
- Selects its own club name. As shared in the Naming 4-H Clubs/Units Fact Sheet from 4-H National Headquarters, 4-H Club names must: Be specific to the 4-H club or organization either through a unique name or by identifying the county or location.
- Not be overtly religious or represent the beliefs of one religion or denomination over another.
- Not imply that membership is limited or exclusive (for example the 4-H Country Girls would imply that only girls can join the club).
- Not be offensive or generally seen as demeaning to any group protected by equal opportunity regulations. Develops a set of by-laws or rules approved by the members to govern the club.
- Develops an annual educational plan.
- Keeps records of their meetings and finances.
- Complies with applicable state, Land Grant University and 4-H National Headquarters' policies.
- Uses experiential learning (learning by doing) as a primary teaching approach.
- Shows evidence of fostering the Essential Elements of 4-H Youth Development.
- Includes planned opportunities to learn and apply life skills such as leadership, citizenship, community service and public speaking.
- Provides experiences to develop in-depth knowledge about one or more of the seven Nebraska 4-H content priorities.
- Provides programs, curricula, and procedures that are based in research and are developmentally appropriate.
- Provides participants and volunteers access to resources of land-grant universities and to county, state, and national 4-H opportunities.
- Fosters youth-adult partnerships that encourage active involvement and participation by youth and adults.
- Provides safe and healthy physical and emotional environments.