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Self-Determined Expressive Arts

Want to learn more about a subject, but can’t find a project to go with it? Self-Determined Projects might be for you!

With the guidance of your 4-H leader, create your own project around something you’re interested in. A few ways you can participate in a self-determined project:

  • Take a different direction on an already existing project
  • Set up your own plan or continue to expand on an already existing project
  • Develop a plan for a project that is not currently available through 4-H

As a member participating in a self-determined project, you should:

  • Search out people who are able and willing to provide guidance and information in the area being investigated
  • Research and secure information from a variety of sources
  • Search out other youth participating in projects that are similar
  • Write materials for future use

The following guides will help you while creating and participating in your self-determined project:


In self-determined projects (created by the youth), earning goals are determined by the member, parent, and leader.;

Youth will decide:

  • What they want to learn
  • How they want to learn it
  • How they want to share what they’ve learned with an audience

If you don’t see your interest area on the 4-H Projects & Programs list, then a self-determined project may be right for you!

Check out Iowa 4-H’s guide to self-determined projects for helpful tips!

Member  & Leader Publications

EM2956E – Make Up Your Own Mind
EM2957E – Self-Determined Projects–4-H Leader Guide

National 4-H Resources
State 4-H Resources


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