4-H Youth Development

Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development is a program of the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension in partnership with local, state and federal government in each Wisconsin county.

4-H youth development programs have been and continue to be delivered in a variety of ways. From neighborhood and community 4-H clubs to after school programs, 4-H youth development provides young people a chance to learn new skills, gain self-confidence and contribute to their communities. Opportunities are created to provide youth real world experiences that teach leadership and citizenship skills.

4-H youth development programs provide 4 essential elements for young people:

  • Belonging (Heart of 4-H) – Youth need to know they are cared about by others and feel a sense of connection to others in the group.  This is done through 4-H by the development of a Positive relationship with a caring adult, providing an inclusive and safe environment.
  • Mastery (Hands of 4-H) – Youth need to feel and believe they are capable and experience success at solving problems and meeting challenges to develop their self-confidence.  By exploring 4-H projects and activities, youth master skills to make positive career and life choices.
  • Independence (Head of 4-H) – Youth need to know that they are able to influence people and events through decision-making and actions.  By exercising independence through 4-H leadership opportunities, youth mature in self-discipline and responsibility and learn to better understand themselves.
  • Generosity (Health of 4-H) – Youth need to feel their lives have meaning and purpose.  By exploring 4-H community service and citizenship activities, youth can connect to communities and learn to give back to others.

Research Shows 4-H Helps Young People Excel beyond Their Peers

For a decade, preeminent youth development scholar, Dr. Richard Lerner, and the team at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University have been working with faculty at land-grant universities to conduct “The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development”.  This is a longitudinal study that began in 2002, surveying more than 7,000 adolescents from diverse backgrounds across 44 U.S. States.

This in-depth, longitudinal study has discovered that the structured learning, encouragement and adult mentoring that young people receive through their participation in 4-H plays a vital role in helping them achieve future life successes.  Highlights of the results include:

4-H youth make more healthy choices.  Young people in 4-H are:

  • 3.4 times more likely to delay sexual intercourse by Grade 12;
  • Shown to have had significantly lower drug, alcohol and cigarette use than their peers; and
  • 2.3 times more likely to exercise and be physically active.

4-H’ers excel in school and the sciencesYoung people in 4-H:

  • Report better grades, higher levels of academic competence, and an elevated level of engagement at school;
  • Are nearly two times more likely to plan to go to college; and
  • Are more likely to pursue future courses or a career in science, engineering, or computer technology.

This study also finds that girls in 4-H are more than twice as likely to participate in science, engineering, or computer technology programs than their peers.

Young people in 4-H are committed to improving their communities.  A notable trend of the study indicates that 4-H youth are 3.4 times more likely to actively contribute to their communities when compared with youth who do not participate in 4-H.

To learn more about “The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development”, visit www.4-H.org/about/youth-development-research

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  • Adult Advisers Needed for State Educational Experiences September 14, 2017
    Preparations for next year’s Educational Experiences are well under way at the State 4-H office.  We are seeking Adult Advisers for 2018, and the application is now available online here. This application covers Adult Advisor Positions for Space Camp, Citizenship Washington Focus, and National Congress.   Information on each of these programs is available on […]
  • Registration is now open for Wisconsin Fall Forum September 14, 2017
    Don’t miss out on a great statewide workshop for youth and adult leaders!!! “4-H Grows True Leaders!” • “Belonging Starts With YOU!” • “Belonging Grows With YOU!” • “Belonging….YOU Make a Difference” What: Fall Forum and Hall of Fame Celebration When: November 3-5, 2017 (starting with registration at 6:00 p.m. Friday, November 3 and ending […]
  • 2017-18 After the Bell Program August 29, 2017
    For the 2017-18 school year, the “After the Bell” program will begin on Monday, September 11, 2017.  This free program is available for all middle school students whether they attend public or parochial school from 3:05 – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday in Room 118 (enter the school through Door 14) at the Prairie River […]
  • Market Animal Show and Sale (MASS) Information for 2016-2017 August 22, 2017
    The purpose of the Lincoln County Market Animal Show and Sale Project, Inc. (MASS)  is: To provide 4-H, FFA, and other county youth group members an opportunity to have market livestock projects evaluated. To provide incentive and to encourage greater participation in livestock feeding project. To recognize members who do quality work in selecting, feeding, […]
  • 2017 4-H Raffle August 22, 2017
    Thank you to Everyone who donated, those who purchased tickets and Dawn Smith and the Merrill Busy Bees for coordinating this year’s raffle! 2017 Raffle Prize Winners Page 1 2017 Raffle Prize Winners – Page 2
  • Suggestions for Lincoln County Fair Exhibitor Handbook August 22, 2017
    Do you have suggestions for changes, corrections and additions for the 2018 Fair Exhibitor Handbook??  If you do, please write them on a sheet of paper and submit them to the UW-Extension Office while they are still fresh in your mind.  These suggestions will then be passed on for consideration to the department committee.
  • Thank You’s August 22, 2017
    Reminder… It is important to remember those people who sponsor events or activities at the fair.  If you receive a trophy for an award, it is important to show them that 4-H appreciates their support. Show them how much their support is appreciated by sending them a thank-you note. This practice is not only good […]
  • Trips and Awards, Ambassadors, Scholarship and Camp Counselor Applications… August 22, 2017
    The Older Youth Resumes will be due November 1.  We chose to reduce the number of applications youth must prepare and submit throughout the year in hopes that we will get higher quality applications and more young people will apply!  We went to a resume (with cover letter) process to provide our 4-Hers with this […]
  • 2018 COORDINATORS NEEDED!! August 22, 2017
    The arrival of the new 4-H year means that we are in need of volunteers to coordinate county events/activities for the upcoming 2017-2018 year. Communications Contest – Usually held on a Saturday in mid-February. This includes the Speaking, Demonstrations, Illustrated Talks and Puppetry Contests. Drama, Music and Lip Sync Festival – Usually held on a […] […]
  • HAVE A PROJECT WORKSHOP! August 22, 2017
    Plan a project workshop during your regular club meeting (or at a different date).  Plan it far enough ahead that we can advertise it to other clubs.  We would be happy to include it in the 4-H Newsletter.  Most clubs don’t have leaders for every project in which their members are enrolled.  A countywide workshop […]

If you have any questions regarding 4-H Youth Development in Lincoln County, please contact:

Deborah (Debbie) Moellendorf, Educator
U.W. Extension Lincoln County
801 N. Sales Street, Suite 101
Merrill, WI 54452
Phone – 715-539-1072
FAX – 715-539-8323
Email: deborah.moellendorf@ces.uwex.edu