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4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization. We reach out to kids and their families to build skills for real life. WSU 4-H Youth Development is committed to providing safe and inclusive environments for all youth and adults regardless of race; sex; gender; sexual orientation; gender identity; gender expression; religion; age; color; creed; national or ethnic origin; citizenship; physical, mental, or sensory ability; genetic information; and/or status as an honorably discharged veteran or member of the military.

Dear 4-H Youth Development Family,

Our hearts are hurting, and the continued heaviness and grief cannot be ignored. It is important to acknowledge the recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. The systemic and continual racism in our country have led to justifiable anger, sadness, and worry both individually and collectively. It is time to listen; it is time to change.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are foundational to the
4-H Youth Development Program. We do not condone racism, bigotry, violence, or hatred. We focus on positive youth development and the 4-H essential elements of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. We want to make sure that ALL youth have the opportunity to thrive and not live in fear.

As a youth development organization, and specifically, as an organization within Washington State University, we have a unique opportunity to address systemic and societal problems that plague the people across our nation. Now more than ever, we need to focus on the social and emotional development of our youth and commit to doing the work of listening, learning and growing together.

What is critical at this time is believing in equality and showing respect, caring, and kindness. Many of us are struggling on how best to respond to these tragic events, but it is necessary. We all need to educate ourselves and be able to have conversations with our youth, so they understand why this change needs to happen.

Here are a few resources to help you get started on your journey of equity and racial justice.

Making progress and achieving equity and racial justice requires all of us, listening, working and standing together.




Nancy C. Deringer, PhD

4-H Youth Development State Program Leader


As the Washington State University 4-H Youth Development organization, here are some of the steps we are taking:

  • National 4-H Council has created an Equity Toolkit to share resources on topics related to diversity, inclusion, and equity. These tools will provide you with an opportunity to foster greater discussion and learning around cultural competences.
  • Washington State University Extension 4-H Youth Development will provide professional development opportunities from speakers and educators who are as diverse and inclusive as the communities that we serve.
  • Beginning in July, WSU Extension will host a number of reading and discussion groups to help volunteers, staff and faculty come to a deeper understanding of what equity is and how racism continues to exist. These reading groups will be hosted regionally and will include people who live and work close to you. As a general rule, the reading series will last one month, and meet once a week by zoom to review and discuss seminal readings concerned with equity.

An Important Message from Nancy Deringer, State Program Leader for 4-H Youth Development regarding COVID-19

Updated June 3, 2020

Dear 4-H Community,

We hope you are continuing to stay safe and healthy during this uncharted time. We are as anxious as you are to once again meet face-to-face, but we also know that ensuring everyone’s good health and safety is critical and our first focus. Of special concern is making sure our high-risk populations remain protected and safe.

Thank you for sharing many of your heartwarming stories and creative ways about how 4-H clubs are connecting with each other online, by phone, and by mail. It continues to be extremely important for our 4-H youth to find virtual ways to connect with their 4-H leaders and 4-H clubs to maintain their sense of belonging, so thank you all for your extra efforts during this time.

We know how difficult it is to hear about fairs being canceled or postponed. For an alternative, we have a team of 4-H faculty, staff, volunteers and youth creating guidelines so counties can host a Virtual 4-H Showcase Event. It is important to give our 4-H youth the opportunity to highlight mastery in their project area(s), demonstration speeches and other creative displays online. If you have any questions regarding what this may look like in your county, please reach out to your county 4-H staff through their website, email or phone.

For our 4-H Youth Development re-opening plan, originally we were following Governor Inslee’s plan for the K-12 community, and June 19th was the last day of school. Now the mandated guidance states all government entities must follow Governor Inslee’s Safe-Start four phased plan. This plan allows for rural counties to move through the phases at different times based on population of county (those under 75,000 approved to move first), while making sure that during each phase no one tests positive for COVID-19 for three consecutive weeks.

At this time, the guideline for the 4-H Youth Development Program to meet face-to-face will be for that to occur when your county reaches Phase Four. For the five counties that were allowed to move to Phase Two on May 6, the earliest they could potentially begin Phase Four is June 19 if they do not have any positive COVID-19 cases before that time and meet the other published requirements. Please consult with your local health department and County Extension Office for when your county may be allowed to move to Phase Four.

We are developing a sequenced re-opening plan for the 4-H Youth Development program intended to help mitigate possible spread of the virus for use when your county has reached Phase Four.  Please know that we appreciate your continued patience and your focus on health and safety of our entire 4-H family.

Please take care, and stay healthy.

Thank you,


There are over a hundred different hands-on projects offered. Contact your county extension office to learn how you can become a part of 4-H!

The 4-Hs

Head, Heart, Hands, and Health are the four H’s in 4-H, and they are the four values members work on through fun and engaging programs.

Managing, Thinking
Relating, Caring
Giving, Working
Being, Living
4-H Mission

4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults.

Washington State 4-H Youth Development education creates supportive environments for all youth and families to reach their fullest potential. This will be accomplished through a systemic approach of foundation and mission driven science to meet our goals to:

  • provide formal and non-formal experiential learning,
  • develop skills that benefit youth throughout life,
  • foster leadership and volunteerism in youth and adults,
  • build internal and external partnerships for programming and funding,
  • strengthen families and communities,
  • employ research based knowledge and the land grant university system, and
  • embrace and expand the traditions of the 4-H Youth Program.
4-H Vision

A world in which youth and adults learn, grow and work together as catalysts for positive change.

Washington State University 4-H Youth Development is developing young people to become productive citizens who are engaged in positive change, meeting the needs of a diverse and changing society.

Watch this video to learn more about 4-H:

Join 4-H

COVID-19 Resources

Virtual Showcase Resources

Home Education Learning Links

Zoom: Getting Started

Give to 4-H

Shop 4-H!

Work for 4-H!

Want to show support for 4-H wherever you go? You can purchase a 4-H license plate for your car! $28 of each license fee goes to support 4-H in Washington. Click here for more information: WA DOL

4-H license plate

Plates can be made with a custom message for a personal touch!

Learn more about the History of
4-H through a Historical Timeline.

Washington State University Extension