About 4-H

4-H is the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization. In Wisconsin, more than 150,000 young people in urban, suburban and rural settings are involved with 4-H and other UW-Madison Division of Extension youth programs. Youth ages 5-19 can learn important life skills like leadership, teamwork, critical thinking and communication to help prepare them for successful futures – and they do it while engaging in fun, hands-on 4-H activities!

Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development’s nearly 13,000 adult volunteers serve as mentors and role models for 4-H’ers. They help provide a safe, interactive place for youth to take risks, practice their independence and master new skills. And adults who volunteer for 4-H take a lot away from their experiences – volunteers learn and strengthen skills that help them in the workplace and become better connected to their communities.

The Positive Youth Development Difference:

Research shows that 4-H helps young people excel beyond their peers. The structured learning, encouragement and adult mentoring that young people receive through their participation in 4-H plays a vital role in helping them achieve success in life. National researchers have found that 4-H youth are approximately:

  • Four times more likely to make contributions to their communities (Grades 7-12);
  • Two times more likely to be civically active (Grades 8-12);
  • Two times more likely to make healthier choices (Grade 7);
  • Two times more likely to participate in Science, Engineering and Computer Technology programs during out-of-school time (Grades 10 – 12); and
  • 4-H girls are two times  more likely (Grade 10) and nearly three times more likely (Grade 12) to take part in science programs compared to girls in other out-of-school time activities.