4-H is a youth development education program conducted jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington State University Extension, and King County. It is designed to help young people develop essential skills and knowledge to become competent, caring, and contributing citizens of the world. The program focuses on experiential education in four key areas: STEM, CITIZENSHIP, HEALTHY LIVING, and MENTORSHIP.
In King County, there are various ways to get involved with 4-H. Volunteer-led clubs, after-school programs, in-school programs, teen conferences, and fairs are some of the opportunities available. Here are a few examples of 4-H activities in King County:
- Cooped Up In Seattle: This is Seattle’s first urban farming-focused 4-H club, which has been featured on NPR.
- Olympic Middle School STEM Days: Students at Olympic Middle School in Auburn organize school-wide STEM days for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. These events involve hands-on engineering projects.
- Know Your Government: This is an annual four-day teen conference held in Olympia. It provides unique leadership opportunities for teenagers.
- Teen Equity and Inclusion Taskforce: Started by a King County 4-H teen, this task force aims to support youth voice and inclusion in Washington state 4-H clubs.
- King County Fair: This fair brings together youth from all over the county to compete and showcase their projects from the past year. Participants hope to qualify for the Washington State Fair.
These programs offer young people the chance to develop important life skills such as positive self-esteem, effective communication, teamwork, leadership, healthy life choices, and problem-solving. They provide valuable learning experiences regardless of the community’s location—suburban, urban, or rural.