Frequently Asked Questions

Program Contact: Dorothy Elsner, 4-H Program Coordinator
(360) 428-4270 ext. 226 • dorothy.elsner@wsu.edu

General

1. What is 4-H?

2. Isn’t 4-H just for farm kids?

3. What do the H’s stand for?

4. What are the 4-H emblem, motto, and slogan?

5. Who conducts 4-H?

6. Who funds 4-H?

7. What does it cost to join?

8. Why do young people like 4-H?

Clubs

10. What is a club?

11. How often do clubs meet?

12. Where do 4-H clubs meet?

13. When do clubs meet and how long do meetings last?

14. How big should a club be?

15. What do 4-H clubs do at meetings?

Projects

16. What are 4-H projects?

17. What does a 4-H project cost?

18. Are 4-H members expected to do their own project work?

19. Are projects done individually or as a group?

20. What is an exhibit?

 

Leaders and Parents

21. What are 4-H leaders?

22. Are there different kinds of leaders?

23. Can the same person be a project and an organizational leader?

24. How many leaders should a 4-H club have?

25. Where would one learn how to be a 4-H leader?

26. What’s expected of parents?

 

Answers

1. What is 4-H?

4-H is a voluntary, informal education program for young people ages 5 – 19.

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2. Isn’t 4-H just for farm kids?

No! 4-H is for all young people, regardless of where they live, what their backgounds are, or what interests them. Today in Washington most 4-H members are from urban areas and they participate in projects to learn many different life skills.

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3. What do the H’s stand for?

Head, Heart, Hands and Health. Members pledge:

“My head to clearer thinking
My heart to greater loyalty
My hands to larger service
My health the better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.”

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4. What are the 4-H emblem, motto, and slogan?

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.”

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5. Who conducts 4-H?

The Washington 4-H program is conducted by Washington State University Extension at the Washington State University at Pullman. County and state programs are directed by Extension staff who train and support volunteers who work with 4-H members. Offices are located in every county in Washington. 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.

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6. Who funds 4-H?

Washington State University Extension receives funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the state of Washington, and local county boards. A variety of private donors also fund Extension.

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7. What does it cost to join?

4-H has no membership registration fee or required uniform. There may be minimal costs for project manuals or some 4-H activities or events. Skagit County 4-H does ask for $10 yearly (or $30 per family) to cover the costs of state mandated insurance and county achievement night.

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8. Why do young people like 4-H?

4-H provides a chance to learn new things, develop new skills, travel to new places, experience new situations, make new friends, and most importantly have lots of fun.

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9. How do you join?

Call the Skagit County Extension office at 428-4270 or contact a local 4-H club to see if there is room in a club near you. If not, interested young people, with an adult or two to help them, may start a new club.

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10. What is a club?

A club is a group of young people ages 5 to 19, 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 chooses one or more projects. A club may explore a single subject or several subjects. 4-H members elect club officers, conduct their own business, work together on community service activities, meet new friends, and most important, have lots of fun.

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11. How often do clubs meet?

Most clubs meet once or twice a month all year long, depending on what the group wants to do. The 4-H year runs from October 1 to September 30. Members may be enrolled at any time during the year, however, in order to show at the county fair, they must be enrolled by May 1.

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12. 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 and convenient for the club members is a good choice.

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13. When do clubs meet and how long do meetings last?

This depends on the group. 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. School clubs may meet for an hour or two during the school day.

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14. 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 part of the group. The average Washington 4-H club is 10 to 20 members.

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15. What do 4-H clubs do at meetings?

4-H clubs usually participate in four general kinds of activities during the meeting. They have a business meeting, special interest programs, project work, and recreation or social activities. Clubs may have a little business to conduct, may work on their projects for a while, and then play a game or two. Sometimes the whole meeting is devoted to one topic.

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16. What are 4-H projects?

4-H projects are challenging, but practical, planned courses of study with learning experiences centered on a specific subject. Members 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 are all involved in 4-H projects. Over 175 projects are currently available in the Washington 4-H program.

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17. What does a 4-H project cost?

It varies. Members are responsible for the cost of supplies for projects. Some projects might use supplies from around the house while others might invest hundreds of dollars in their project. The cost of the project should be realistic to the family situation.

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18. Are 4-H members expected to do their own project work?

Yes, with help. Members are expected to select at least one project and complete one or more learning experiences related to the project during the year. 4-H is a “learn by doing” program. Leaders, junior leaders, and parents may tell or show members how, but members are expected to learn to do things themselves.

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19. Are projects done individually or as a group?

Both. It varies among projects and among clubs. Some projects, like breads or visual arts, are more fun done as a group. Others, like making a dress or growing a garden, will be done individually. Some clubs have several project leaders and do specific project work at club meetings while others rely on parents and others to help members individually.

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20. What is an exhibit?

An exhibit is an object or display designed to show something that the members have accomplished. Ideally it motivates members to learn and to have fun in a 4-H project. An exhibit is not an end in itself nor does it measure all the learning that takes place in a project. Self-recognition and self-satisfaction for having completed a project are important rewards. A ribbon is only one measure of success.

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21. What are 4-H leaders?

Volunteer leaders are the backbone of the 4-H program. They are adults who work voluntarily with a group of 4-H members. Volunteers go through a youth protection application and screening process before they are enrolled as leaders. Additionally, volunteers receive training in skills they will need to become successful 4-H volunteers.

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22. Are there different kinds of leaders?

There are three general categories of local 4-H volunteers: main club or organizational leaders, project leaders, and activity leaders. Organizational leaders guide the overall organization of the club, help it function smoothly, and maintain communications among the member families and between the club and the Extension unit office. Project leaders work with members enrolled in a specific project or project area, assisting them to plan and carry out experiences that will help them reach their learning goals in the project. Activity leaders work with members in planning and carrying out specific activities for the club as a whole.

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23. Can the same person be a project and an organizational leader?

Sure, if they have the time and interest. Sometimes big clubs divide these jobs and have several project leaders to meet the interests those 4-H members have.

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24. How many leaders should a 4-H club have?

That depends on the size of the club and the age of the members. At least two are recommended. The average club has 3 to 5 leaders.

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25. Where would one learn how to be a 4-H leader?

The Extension office is the first point of contact. The local staff here includes a 4-H Program Coordinator, an Extension educator and other support staff. After completing the screening process, the volunteer would be enrolled and placed on the 4-H leaders’ mailing list. Orientation would be provided. Leaders are invited to special training meetings and provided with the materials needed to conduct a 4-H club. An experienced leader nearby may also help with questions.

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26. What’s expected of parents?

Children need parental encouragement to get them started in 4-H and to keep them involved in the program in later years. Parents can help by:
Sharing – provide encouragement and take interest in 4-H projects and activities. Listen, look, and offer suggestions, but avoid the temptation to “take over” and do things. Children learn by their mistakes as well as successes.
Preparing – assist by helping children understand the value of doing projects, having duties in the club, and following through on responsibilities as expected by others.
Being there – Children gain more from 4-H by attending meetings regularly and getting involved in 4-H activities. Parents are welcome at meetings and are encouraged to stay and observe. Lend a hand whenever possible. However, remember that 4-H clubs are for kids.
Caring – arrange to participate whenever possible. Parents’ presence shows the child that what he or she is doing is very important.

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