Join 4-H Youth Development
4-Hers learn to do interesting things with projects like taking care of animals and plants, redecorating their rooms, fixing their bikes, taking pictures, practicing cooking, and so much more. They have fun with friends at meetings, social activities, tours, camps and fairs.
4-H is open to all children between the ages of 5 to 19 and offers many options for club membership and participation.
The 4-H program year runs from September 1 to August 31 annually. Youth may enroll in county 4-H programs at any time during the program year. There may be some state or local deadlines for participation in certain activities or programs.
To become a 4-Her, call your county extension office to find just the right fit for you. Join an existing club or start a new club with interested young people and an adult or two to help. Check with the Extension office to find out what projects and activities are available.
You may participate in Delaware 4-H even if you live in another state such as Maryland or Pennsylvania. Many Delaware 4-H members do live in other states besides Delaware. However, you can only participate in competitive 4-H activities such as horse shows, livestock shows or other events in the state in which you are a member.
- New Castle County: (302) 831-8965
- Kent County: (302) 730-4000
- Sussex County: (302) 856-7303
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4-H Community Clubs
This is the gold standard of 4-H participation in Delaware, with the most benefits, fun and learning. Youth enroll in projects and participate in group activities and meetings. The club elects officers and plans an educational program of business, community service and learning together. Children must be age 8 to 19 on January 1 of the program year.
A single project club is similar to a community club; the difference is that a single project is the focus. Examples might be livestock or robotics clubs. Children must be age 8 to19 on January 1 of the program year.
4-H family clubs
A family may form a 4-H club in cases where a local 4-H club is not accessible or convenient, or where there is a special topic of interest to the family. Children must be age 8 to 19 on January 1 of the program year.
The 4-H Cloverbud program is designed to introduce 5- to 7-year-olds to a variety of 4-H experiences.
Afterschool clubs meet during or after school and often focus on a single subject such as computers or arts. Each afterschool program has its own age ranges and enrollment. Click here for more information about 4-H Afterschool in Delaware.
4-H school enrichment groups
Meeting during school time and using curricula supplied through 4-H, these groups are coordinated by partnerships of 4-H, Extension and school personnel. Children must be in grades K-12 or equivalent.
How can I get a 4-H group organized?
Have a meeting with the young people who are interested and the adults who are willing to help. Publicize it through the school or any place young people and their parents can be reached.
What about officers?
4-H clubs may have officers and whatever committees they need to run their own business. 4-H has materials available for presidents, vice-presidents, secretaries, treasurers, news reporters, recreation leaders, health and safety chair people and song leaders. The club may have more or fewer, depending on its needs. It is a good idea to wait until the second or third meeting to elect officers so members know each other.
Who names a club?
The members of the club do, with their leader’s guidance.
What does it cost to be in 4-H?
There are no statewide dues or membership fees for 4-H, but there are some out of pocket expenses for participating in 4-H. Dues cannot be used to keep someone out of 4-H.
Expenses might include:
- Project materials and other resources needed to complete a 4-H project
- Club dues/fees: Per member fees are charged by some clubs. These fees fund refreshments, project books, fair passes, club t-shirts, supplemental insurance, etc. Please ask your club 4-H leader about their fee structure.
- 4-H events and opportunities: Fees are charged for participation in some events and opportunities including camps, workshops, conferences, trips, etc. Some scholarship money is available to offset these costs. Contact your local county 4-H agent for more information.
How big should a club be?
This depends on the age of members, the places they have to meet, and the leadership available. The ideal club is big enough to have fun together, but small enough for everybody to feel a part of the group. The average club in Delaware is typically 10 to 20 members, with two or three leaders.
What do we do at the club’s first meeting?
Get acquainted and have fun with a group mixer and refreshments. Talk about and demonstrate projects the group might like. Give this part some thought beforehand, and talk with the 4-H agent or an experienced 4-H leader. Also discuss when, where, and how often the group meets.
What do 4-H clubs do at regular meetings?
At club meetings, 4-H’ers usually do four kinds of things: project work, business meetings, recreation or social activities, and special-interest programs. If there is no business to conduct, members work on projects for awhile and play a game or two. Sometimes the whole meeting is devoted to one thing. For example, everyone brings her/his dog and practices obedience training; the club elects officers and plans the program; members have a roller skating party or tour a local bakery.
Who plans the program for the club?
Members of the club. If the club is small, the whole group may make the plans. If the club is large, ideas come from everyone and a committee puts a program together.
How often do 4-H clubs meet?
Some clubs meet every week for a month or two and some meet once or twice a month all year long. This depends on the group and what it wants to do. 4-H clubs may organize any time of the year. Sometimes members have to be enrolled in a project by a certain time to be eligible for a specific activity. Check this with your county 4-H agent.
When and where do clubs meet, and how long do meetings last?
This depends on the group. Many clubs meet for an hour or two after school, in the evening or on Saturdays. The most important thing is to have a regular meeting time, one that members and their families can remember. Clubs meet in any place large enough that is convenient for the members of the group. Some clubs meet in leaders’ or members’ homes or garages. Some meet in a central place such as a school, church, or community room.