About 4-H

What is 4-H?

For youth members, 4-H is about fun! For adult volunteers, 4-H is about the excitement of seeing a young person’s world expand. The philosophy behind 4-H is that informal education (education outside of school) enhances and expands a young person’s learning. 4-H programs are cooperatively developed with input from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)Rutgers Cooperative Extension and local communities.

4-H is a leader in helping youth develop and become productive citizens able to meet the needs of a diverse and changing society. It is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.

The 4-H’s stand for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. 4-H provides instruction in various subject areas as it teaches youth life skills. The program helps young people learn how to present themselves, feel comfortable with others, and make sound decisions.

Life skills taught through 4-H relate to the 4-H’s

Head

"I pledge my head to clearer thinking...."

heart

"I pledge my heart to greater loyalty...."

hands

"I pledge my hands to larger service...."

Health

"I pledge my health to better living...."

Who Can Join?

The New Jersey 4-H program is open to youth 1st through 13th grade (one year out of high school). Cloverbud clubs are available for young 4-H members (grades 1-3) with regular clubs open to 4-13 grade members.

Adults working with kids

Who Leads 4-H Activities?

Adult volunteer leaders are the key to 4-H. Volunteers may take on a variety of leadership opportunities. Primarily, adults serve as volunteer leaders for local clubs, but may also share their skills, knowledge and experience.

In addition to leading clubs, volunteers may choose to serve with a 4-H affiliate program such as the Sussex County 4-H Advisory Council. The Council meets quarterly and helps shape the direction of the 4-H program in Sussex County through its efforts to:

  • Oversee awards and recognition for volunteers and members
  • Develop and initiate activities and events to enhance the Sussex County 4-H program

What Do 4-H Members Do?

When youth join a 4-H club they are involved in the learning activities of one or more interesting 4-H projects from a variety of subjects. Regular 4-H meetings are held to conduct club business, project learning, community service and recreational activities. This setting, where leaders and members work together over a period of time, is the strength of a successful 4-H program and provides the best opportunity for positive youth development.
kids making crafts
father son_solar car race

What About Parents?

4-H clubs are designed to be youth-adult partnerships where adult volunteers provide a structure for youth to learn and grow. We look to parents to be positive contributors to the club and its success.

For more information on the role of parents in 4-H, download,  What parents need to know about 4-H

As members age in their 4-H clubs, they have opportunities to develop leadership working with adult volunteers.

What Is A 4-H Project?

A 4-H project is the thought, work, and action involved in learning a specific subject. Activities such as field trips, shows, conferences, and workshops enhance the learning.

At the beginning of the project year (September), each member chooses a project that fits his/her interest, home situation and ability. Projects vary in difficulty according to the age and experience of the member.

Contact the Sussex County 4-H Office for a list of active 4-H clubs and projects.

Use this link to learn more  About 4-H and download contact information for the Sussex County 4-H Office.

Three girls with alpacas
clover and NJAES logos

New Jersey 4-H

4-H Youth Development is a program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The Cooperative Extension program is part of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. The New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station is the research and outreach arm of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Rutgers Cooperative Extension agents and specialists deliver wide-ranging educational programs in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, urban and community outreach, youth development, food, nutrition and health, and related areas of economic and workforce development across New Jersey.

The 4-H Youth Development Program uses a learn-by-doing approach to enable youth to develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to become competent, caring and contributing citizens of the world. This is accomplished by using the knowledge and resources of caring adults.

The goals of the 4-H Youth Development Program are to:
• Provide informal, educational programs for youth in grades K–13 (one year out of high school)
• Encourage responsibility, community awareness and character development in youth
• Strengthen skills for adults working with youth through publications and training
• Improve community partnerships and collaborations

For more information on New Jersey 4-H, please visit, nj4h.rutgers.edu/

Sussex County 4-H Foundation

The Sussex County 4-H Foundation Fund, Inc. is incorporated under the State of NJ and serves to support the 4-H program in Sussex County.

The Foundation’s largest program is its scholarship fund which serves as a source for 4-H youth to receive financial aid to pursue learning beyond high school.

Additionally, the Foundation assists 4-H members who qualify to participate in regional, state and national 4-H events. This support helps to offset some of the associated travel costs.

The Foundation sponsors an annual holiday wreath sale in November. The sale is made possible through the sale of wreaths by local 4-H clubs. Proceeds from the sale support the scholarship fund.

The Sussex County 4-H Foundation receives financial support through:
• Sussex County 4-H Teen Council;
• 4-H clubs county-wide; and,
many generous individuals and organizations throughout Sussex County.

Sussex County 4-H Advisory Council

The Sussex County 4-H Advisory Council is an organization of adult 4-H volunteers working together to develop and provide leadership for the Sussex 4-H Program and its members. Among its goals are:

• identify the needs of adult volunteers
• help in orienting and training volunteer leaders
• share ideas and experiences
• plan and conduct county-wide programs and activities
• promote 4-H programs
• cooperate with other 4-H and other youth-related organizations
• raise funds to support the Sussex 4-H program
• advise the county 4-H staff on program policies and implementation

4-H volunteers are invited to participate in the Council’s meetings (scheduled quarterly). Meetings are held at the Sussex County 4-H Offices.

Contact the Sussex County 4-H Office for more information.

4-H Staff

Dave Foord

4-H Senior Program Coordinator

Dave came to Sussex County 4-H in 2006. He holds a BA in English Literature from Middlebury College.  He has worked with youth and fostered environmental education in a variety of settings. This has included work with the New Jersey School of Conservation (Montclair State University, Stokes State Forest), the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) in Dingmans Ferry, PA and the Brandwein Institute (Greenville, NY).

He is a director with the Brandwein Institute and volunteers in supporting environmental science programming through its 70-acre preserve (Brandwein Nature Learning Preserve).

foord@njaes.rutgers.edu

Tanya Patrie
Tanya Patrie

4-H Program Assistant

Tanya started as the Sussex County 4-H program assistant in 2016. Prior to joining Sussex County 4-H, she worked at the Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp. She is an alumnus of Sussex County 4-H, as well as, a current leader for the Sussex County 4-H Teen Council and Jr Council. She and her husband, Shawn, have two children who are current 4-H members as well. 

In addition to 4-H, she volunteers her time with the High Point United Soccer Club and the Garden State German Shepard Rescue.

patrie@njaes.rutgers.edu

Rutgers Cooperative Extension Sussex County

1 Spring Street*

Newton, NJ   07860

973-948-3040

973-948-5582 fax

*Our physical address is 130 Morris Turnpike

Office Hours: M-F, 8:30-4:30; closed 1-2 pm

Frequently Asked Questions About 4-H

FAQ

What is 4-H?

For 4-H members, 4-H is about fun! For adult volunteers, 4-H is about the excitement of seeing a young person’s world expand. The basic philosophy behind 4-H is that informal education (outside of school) can be a valued addition to a young person’s learning. 4-H programs are cooperatively developed with input from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)Rutgers Cooperative Extension and local communities.

4-H is a leader in helping youth develop and become productive citizens capable of meeting the needs of a diverse and changing society. It is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.

The 4-H’s stand for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. 4-H provides instruction in various subject areas as it teaches its members life skills. Among these is helping young people learn how to present themselves, feel comfortable with others, and make sound decisions. Life skills taught through the program relate back to the 4-H’s:

  • Head—managing and thinking. Life skills include resiliency, keeping records, using resources wisely, planning and organizing, goal setting, critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision making.
  • Heart—relating and caring. Life skills include communication, cooperation, social skills, conflict resolution, accepting differences, and sharing.
  • Hands—working and giving. Life skills: here include leadership, responsible citizenship, teamwork, and self-motivation.
  • Health —living and being. Life skills: here include personal safety, stress management, healthy lifestyle choices, managing feelings, and self-esteem.

4-H began nationally in 1902 and pioneered a learn by doing approach (what many refer to as experiential learning). This successful approach is widely used by many educational programs and organizations.

Dairy club members showing at Fair
girl sharing pet duck at fair
Girl showing pig at the fair

What do Kids do in 4-H?

When kids join a 4-H club they are involved in the learning activities related to the club’s project area. This provides an area of shared interest for the members. The group learns collectively during the year, as well as from each other.

Regular 4-H meetings (usually monthly) are held to conduct club business and learn about a topic related to the club’s focus. Topics for club meetings may also include community service projects, field trips and fundraising in support of goals established by the club.

This setting, where adults and youth partner and work together, is the strength of a successful 4-H program and provides a rich environment for positive youth development.

What is the mission of 4-H?

The Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development program uses a learn-by-doing approach to enable youth to develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to become competent, caring and contributing citizens of the world. This mission is accomplished by using the knowledge and resources of the land-grant university system, along with the involvement of caring adults.

Isn't 4-H just for kids who live on farms?

No! 4-H is for all youth, wherever they live – on farms, in suburbs, in cities. 4-H serves youth from all backgrounds and interests. It reaches both boys and girls through 4-H clubs, special-interest groups, and short-term projects, school-age child care, camping, and school enrichment. Most 4-H members are from towns and cities and they participate in contemporary projects such as robotics, arts and crafts, model rocketry, culinary arts, and animal sciences. 4-H offers membership without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, and any other category protected by law.

What is a 4-H Club?

Clubs are the foundation of the 4-H program. A 4-H club is a group of five or more youngsters guided by two or more adult volunteer leaders. A club can be any size from a small group of kids from one neighborhood to a larger club consisting of youth from all over the county.

What happens in a 4-H club?

A 4-H club usually concentrates on one or more projects such as gardening, archery, small animals, photography, etc. 4-H members build leadership by electing officers and conducting their own business meetings; work together on community service activities; meet new friends; and most importantly, have lots of fun!

What age must you be to join 4-H?

Youth, grades 4-13 (one year out of high school), can be regular 4-H club members and enroll in many different 4-H projects. Members of this age may exhibit their completed work to be judged for awards. Youth, Kindergarten-3rd grade can be 4-H Cloverbud members. The 4-H Cloverbud program is a non-competitive learning experience. Usually, Cloverbud members are in separate clubs where they sample a variety of 4-H projects. Older 4-H members also have special opportunities, such as participating in a county-wide 4-H teen council.

Does It cost money to join 4-H?

4-H has no membership registration fee. Uniforms are not required. Most 4-H project information, activities, and events are free-of-charge or available at cost, which is usually minimal. Each club chooses whether to charge dues.

How did 4-H originate?

4-H clubs were preceded by corn clubs for boys and canning clubs for girls, organized in the early 1900’s by public school educators who wanted to broaden the knowledge and experience of their students. 4-H became an official part of the Cooperative Extension Service, along with agriculture and home economics, at about the time Cooperative Extension was officially established by the U.S. Congress in 1914. The term 4-H Club first appeared in a federal document in 1918, and by the mid-1920s, 4-H was well on its way to becoming a significant national program for youth. 4-H is an American idea that has spread around the world. Throughout its long history, 4-H has constantly adapted to the ever-changing needs and interests of youth.

Where does 4-H get its funding?

Rutgers Cooperative Extension, of which 4-H is a part, receives funds from a cooperative partnership of three levels of government: federal (the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture), state (via the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey), and county (through the county Board of Chosen Freeholders). 4-H also receives support from private sources.

Who runs the 4-H program?

Volunteers are the key to providing 4-H programs for youth. Capable, interested adult volunteers are always needed to lead clubs and to assist with 4-H activities. Orientation is provided, so no previous experience is necessary. 4-H volunteers are supported by a professional staff, including a county 4-H agent who is a faculty member of Rutgers University. The county 4-H staff is responsible for the county-wide 4-H program and also has state and national responsibilities. There are various county 4-H support and advisory groups made up of interested adult volunteers. State and national 4-H personnel assist county 4-H professionals.

What do the four H’s on the 4-H emblem stand for?

The 4-H emblem is a green four-leaf clover with a white ‘H’ on each leaflet, symbolizing Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. The 4-H emblem was patented in 1924.

Where are 4-H programs found?

4-H programs are conducted in 3,150 counties of the United States, and also in the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. In addition, more than 80 countries around the world have youth programs similar to 4-H, with an overall enrollment of about 10 million young people.

What is the 4-H pledge?

At 4-H club meetings and other 4-H events, 4-H members recite the Pledge of Allegiance and this 4-H pledge:
I pledge my Head to clearer thinking,
my Heart to greater loyalty,
my Hands to larger service,
and my Health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

What Is the 4-H motto?

To Make the Best Better.

What is the 4-H slogan?

Learn by Doing.





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