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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  • Washington County Seeks 4-H Summer Outreach Coordinator January 19, 2018
    UW-Extension Washington County is looking for a 4-H Youth Development Outreach Coordinator to implement youth outreach opportunities over the 2018 summer months.  If you know someone who would enjoy working with youth this summer, please share this opportunity! Preferred qualifications include: completion of two years of college evidence of successful leader […]
  • Upham Woods Camp Counselor Training January 19, 2018
    Upham Woods will be holding two Camp Counselor Training weekends this spring. Session 1: March 10-11, 2018  or Session 2: April 21-22, 2018. Camp Counselors must be 14-18 yrs. old and enrolled in 4-H. Camp Counselor training is an excellent opportunity for counselors, adult volunteers, and 4-H staff alike to come together in collaboration to prepare youth to […]
  • 2018 4-H ArtBEAT! Registration is OPEN! January 19, 2018
    Can you hear the BEAT? What BEAT?  ArtBEAT!  What BEAT?  ArtBEAT!  It is time to start thinking about and planning to participate in our 2018 WI 4-H ArtBEAT! 4-H ArtBEAT! was created for 4-H members in grades 3-5 and their parents and leaders and is the introductory program for Wisconsin 4-H Arts and Communication! ArtBEAT! […]
  • National 4-H Day of Service – April 28th January 19, 2018
    The 2nd annual True Leaders in Service / National 4-H Day of Service initiative was just announced.  Go to www.4-H.org/true-leaders-in-service for all the information and resources. 4-H’ers from around the national will register for and engage in service projects throughout April 2018.  The month of service will culminate with the National 4-H Day of Service […]
  • 4-H Club Officer Training January 19, 2018
    Thank you to Stephanie Jaecks, Jennifer Porath and Jeanne Schmidt for assisting with this year’s 4-H Club Officer Training held on January 18th. Congratulations to the following youth for participating: President: Randi Gruetzmacher (Pine River Pioneer Sunrise 4-H Club) and Abby Jaecks (Hi-Lo’s 4-H Club) Vice-President: Zoey Dreikosen (Corning All Stars 4-H […]
  • Grants Available to 4-H Clubs and Groups January 17, 2018
    Mutual of Wausau Insurance Corporation is now accepting applications for their 4-H Club Grant program.  The purpose of this program is to support 4-H clubs in youth development and to promote civic and leadership responsibilities.  Grants will be awarded in the amount of $400 per club.  In order to be considered for a grant, your […]
  • Taking Care of You Program January 17, 2018
    Taking Care of You Program Merrill: Mondays, March 5, 12, 19, 26, 5:30 – 7:30 pm (T.B. Scott Library) Tomahawk: Mondays, April 2, 16, 23, May 7, 5:30 – 7:30 pm (Tomahawk Public Library) *** Participants should plan on attending all 4 classes  Taking Care of You is a research based 4 week program focused […]
  • WPA offering youth pig project scholarships January 15, 2018
    The Wisconsin Pork Association Youth Committee will be offering Youth Pig Project scholarships. These scholarships are designed to assist 4-H and FFA members in establishing swine projects that can lead to development of life skills and career opportunities in the Wisconsin pork industry. 4-H and FFA youth are eligible to apply for a $50.00 scholarship […] […]
  • Community Poverty Simulation January 9, 2018
    Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families, but unless you’ve experienced poverty, it’s difficult to truly understand.  A free Community Poverty Simulation will be held on Monday, February 26th from 5:15 – 8 p.m. at the Merrill High School Commons, 1201 North Sales Street in Merrill.  The poverty simulation bridges the gap from […]
  • 2018 State 4-H Horse Handbook Now Available December 22, 2017
    The 4-H Horse Association Handbook has now been updated for 2018! The Horse Handbook is located at http://fyi.uwex.edu/wi4haganimalscience/wi-4-h-horse-assn-handbook/. This Handbook includes information about State 4-H Horse events such as the Hunter and Dressage Show, Gymkhana and Expo.  You will find instructions  with deadlines for entering these three st […]

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