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4-H Youth Development

Program Contact: Dorothy Elsner, 4-H Program Coordinator
360-395-2360 •

Welcome to Skagit County 4-H!

Skagit County has a long and strong 4-H tradition. Approximately 500 youth between grades K through 12 are educated by around 100 leaders throughout the county. Skagit County 4-H brings countless opportunities for leadership, citizenship, and life skills development!

A wide variety of projects are offered. From the popular horses and dogs projects to woodworking, gardening, robotics, drama and wildlife, the 4-H program has something for everyone. The program is active year-round and teaches youth responsibility, confidence, and general life skills through project participation.

The Skagit County 4-H programs are delivered by the WSU  4-H Program Coordinator. The 4-H volunteers are dedicated, caring adults who work in cooperation with the county extension office.

What is 4-H?

4-H is built upon the principles of developing belonging, mastery, generosity and independence.

Youth, ages 5 – 19, participate in Washington through community clubs, after-school / school enrichment programs, and day / overnight camps.

Kids can choose from a wide variety of subject areas—everything from computer technology to the arts, and from robotics to plant and animal sciences.

The 4-H program is a voluntary, non-formal, educational program offered to all boys and girls regardless of race, color, national origin, place of residence, or handicap.

The curriculum is science-based and developed at our nation’s land-grant universities. 4-H programs are delivered by Washington State University educators in every county alongside 10,000 caring adult volunteers. Today 4-H is everywhere–in cities, suburbs, small towns, and rural communities. In the 21st century, 4-H serves a broad clientele with expanded program using a variety of ways to “learn by doing.”

Head, Heart, Hands, Health

What do the H’s in 4-H stand for?

Head symbol4-H challenges you to think and make decisions, both for yourself and as a member of a group. You will discover new ways to do things and different ways of dealing with everyday challenges. 4-H is big on self-discipline, responsibility, initiative, and leadership. You will become a positive force in today’s world.

Heart symbol4-H members often talk to club leaders and to each other about what matters to them. 4-H gives you a chance to become friends with other young people and caring adults. It is about building character, accepting people who are different, and making your community a better place to live.

Hands symbolIn 4-H, you learn skills that you can use for the rest of your life. You won’t just talk about it, you will actually get your hands on it, learn by doing. Members choose from about 100 different skills— everything from bicycle safety to cooking to computer technology to veterinary science. 4-H often helps members discover interests that lead to rewarding careers.

Health symbolBeing healthy means feeling good; doing your best to balance school, friends, and family; and making the best choices. 4-H focuses on developing healthy lifestyles and understanding what happens when you make unhealthy choices.


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.


4-H youth development education creates supportive environments for all youth and families to reach their fullest potential.

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/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.

Who can join 4-H?

4-H is open to every youth, ages 5-19, without discrimination!

There are four age groups* in which you can do a wide variety of projects and activities:

  • Cloverbuds: ages 5-7
  • Junior: ages 8-10
  • Intermediate: ages 11-13
  • Senior: ages 14 to less than 19 

*Shooting sports and large animal projects require youth to be at least 8 years of age on October 1st to participate.

Did you know that 4-H…
  • Has more than 7 million participants between the ages of 5-19 (grades K-12)
  • Has more than 600,000 volunteers, working directly and indirectly with youth
  • Has more than 45 million 4-H alumni
  • Has been around since 1902 and going strong while adapting to the many changes within society

Skagit County extension logos

Boy with leashed goat near a garden

4-H members

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