Living the Mission

4-H Mission

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

The mission of 4-H is to provide meaningful opportunities for all youth and adults to work together to create sustainable community change. This is accomplished within three primary content areas, or mission areas – civic engagement and leadership, healthy living, and science. These mission areas reiterate the founding purposes of Extension through agriculture (e.g., community leadership, quality of life, and technology transfer) in the context of 21st century challenges and opportunities.

In Wisconsin we have four areas of focus:

Developmental Relationships

Youth in 4-H are considered members.  They are connected locally through clubs that meet, in a variety of settings, and learn and share together.  4-H youth belong to a network of more than 900 clubs across the state of Wisconsin, and to clubs around the United States and Members around the world.  4-H fosters a sense of community through relationships with peers and caring adults.  Relationships are the most important factor in youth feeling safe and becoming successful.

Life and Leadership Skills

Youth in 4-H from Cloverbuds through High School have opportunities to develop as leaders.  Youth, even young children, have a voice in how their clubs  are run, and, in some clubs youth hold the leadership roles.  Youth work in partnership with adult volunteers to plan activities, events and develop projects.    Youth are often prepared and encouraged to engage locally with boards or other governance structures in their communities. Youth may become engaged in state or national leadership opportunities.  Preparing youth as leaders is also associated with positive lifelong outcomes.

College and/or Career Ready

Youth in 4-H learn by doing.  Throughout ones time in 4-H youth are supported in identifying their sparks and developing competence and confidence in their area of interest. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) is a focus area.  For some youth that focus is closely tied to natural resources and agri-sciences and for others robotics and dance.  Drawing on the rich knowledge base of the University of Wisconsin youth are provided with information, curriculum, project leaders with lived-expertise, and so on, to help them build the skills needed to move forward in their college and career.


Youth in 4-H make a commitment to their clubs, communities and the World.  As a nationally supported and recognized program, 4-H is truly a program for all.  Unlike many others, 4-H has always been open to all genders and works with young people across all the ages and stages of development. 4-H grows leaders and closes the opportunity gap. This is important for everyone. Our goal is that “by 2025, 4-H will reflect the population demographics, vulnerable populations, diverse needs and social conditions of the country”.

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