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To find out more about joining 4-H, call 1-888-77YOUTH or visit http://www.areyouintoit.com/

Just what is 4-H, anyway?

The following comes from an Extension pamphlet entitled, "What About 4-H? Answers to questions frequently asked by parents about 4-H and 4-H clubs."

4-H

What is 4-H?
4-H is a voluntary, informal education program for boys and girls who are ages 8-18 by January 1 of the current year. 4-H is open to everyone regardless of race, religion, color, gender, marital status, familial status, national origin, disability, or political belief. Additionally, 4-H Cloverbuds is program for youth ages 5-7 by January 1 of the current year.

Isn't 4-H just for farm kids?
No! 4-H is for all youth, regardless of where they live. 4-H serves youth from all backgrounds and interests. Today in Illinois, most 4-H members are from towns and cities and they participate in projects addressing life skills and other important issues.

What do the H's stand for?
Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. 4-H members pledge:

"My head to clearing thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
My health to better living,
For my club, my community, my country, and my world."

What is the 4-H emblem and other symbols?
A green four-leaf clover with a white "H" on each clover leaf is the 4-H emblem. Green and white are the colors. The 4-H motto is "To Make the Best Better." The 4-H slogan is "Learn By Doing."

Who conducts 4-H?
The Illinois 4-H program is conducted by the Illinois Cooperative Extension Service (ICES), which is a part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Chamaign. County and state programs are directed by Extension staff who train and support volunteers who work with 4-H members.

Who funds 4-H?
ICES receives funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the state of Illinois, and local county boards. Unit offices are located in nearly every county in Illinois. An Extension Council comprised of local residents serves in an advisory capacity to the Extension staff to coordinate, organize, and plan programming in the unit.

What does it cost to join?
4-H has no membership registration fee. Uniforms are not required. There may be minimal costs for project manuals or some 4-H activities or events.

4-H Members

Why do young people join 4-H?
4-H gives kids a chance to learn new things, develop new skills, travel to new places, experience new situations, make new friends, and most importantly have lost of fun.

How do you join?
Call the Extension Unit Office in your county or contact a local 4-H club leader to see if there is room in a club near you. If not, five interested young people with an adult or two to help them may start a new club.

4-H Clubs

What is a club?
A club is a group of five or more young people ages 8 to 18 guided by an adult leader. Clubs meet for at least six sessions during the year and have a planned program. Members elect officers and each member takes one or more projects. Each club has a constitution. A club may explore a single subject or several subjects. 4-H members build leadership by electing officers and conducting their own business; work together on community service activities; meet new friends; and most important, have lots of fun.

How often do clubs meet?
Most clubs meet once or twice a month all year long. This depends on the group and what they want to do. The 4-H year runs from September 1 to August 31. However, sometimes members may have to be enrolled in a project by a certain time to be eligible for a certain activity such as the 4-H fair.

Where do 4-H clubs meet?
A 4-H club may be organized on a community or neighborhood basis and use local facilities or members' homes. Also, it can be organized within a school using the school's facilities, time, and staff. Any place large enough that is convenient for the members of the group is a good choice.

When do clubs meet and how long do meetings last?
This depends on the club. Many community clubs meet for an hour or two after school, in the evening, or on Saturday. The most important thing is to have a regular time to get together, one that members and their families can remember. School clubs may meet for an hour or two during the school day.

How big should a club be?
This depends on the age of the 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 everyone to feel a part of the group. The average Illinois 4-H club is 10 to 20 members.

Should 4-H clubs have dues?
This depends on their need for money. If a club wants money for some activities, it usually charges dues or conducts money-making activities.

4-H Projects

What are 4-H projects?
4-H projects are challenging but practical planned courses of study with learning experiences centered around a specific subject. 4-H members will usually work on a project (subject area) for a year. Hands-on, learn-by-doing involvement is the most important aspect of a project. Making, growing, caring for, observing, and participating--all of these active learning processes are involved in 4-H projects. Over 175 projects are currently available in the Illinois 4-H program. The Illinois Clover lists projects available to members.

more info still to come!

Questions? Email us at luckybirds4H@hotmail.com