People often ask what impact 4-H Youth Development has on its participants. We know from our experiences that 4-H changes lives, helping youth to become confident, mature adults ready to succeed in today’s challenging world. Studies show that youth participating in 4-H do better in school, are more motivated to help others, feel safe to try new things, and develop lasting friendships.
Each year, roughly half a million youth from urban, suburban, and rural communities across New York participate in 4-H experiences. 4-H programs are offered in a number of research-tested outreach strategies: school enrichment and after-school programs, camp settings and community clubs. Additionally, fairs and festivals offer youth an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and earn recognition for their best work.
The fundamental 4-H ideal of practical, learn-by-doing experiences encourages youth to experiment, innovate, and think independently. Youth learn leadership, citizenship, and life skills through more than 1,000 projects with topics as varied as rocketry, GPS mapping, DNA analysis, public speaking, photography, nutrition, and community service.
And finally, as the youth program of Cornell Cooperative Extension, 4-H’s connection to Cornell University and other land-grant institutions sets us apart from other youth serving organizations. Access to Cornell’s resources gives young people an opportunity to make connections for college and beyond.
Interested in learning more about the research and practice of 4-H Youth Development?
Our Why 4-H series of fact sheets may help:
Why 4-H Clubs? (.pub)
Why 4-H Camps? (.pub)
Why 4-H Afterschool? (.pub)
Why 4-H School Enrichment? (.pub)
Why 4-H STEM? (.pdf) (2014)
Why 4-H Fairs? (1/13 pdf)
Why 4-H Choose Health? (.pub)