4-H Name, Emblem & Records

UW-Madison Division of Extension logo and 4-H logo

The 4-H Emblem is the national symbol of Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This program is defined as the youth education and outreach component of Cooperative Extension Services (CES) at land-grant institutions, and is implemented by CES as a means for land-grant institutions to carry out responsibilities funded under the Smith-Lever Act, 7 United States Code 341.

All usage of the 4-H Name and Emblem must be for educational or character building purposes, uphold the dignity of the 4-H Name, and provide a benefit to the 4-H Program.  Local county-based 4-H programs must be authorized and overseen by a UW-Madison Division of Extension 4-H Program Educator.

National 4-H Logo Guidance

The 4-H Name and Emblem is a federal mark, protected by Public Law 18 U.S.C. 707, and is entrusted by Congress to the Secretary of Agriculture, with authorized use by 4–H clubs across the nation, the representatives of USDA, land-grant institutions, and persons authorized by the Secretary of Agriculture. Within the 4-H Name and Emblem rules and regulations, its use also extends to the National 4-H Council, which supports national and state 4-H programs through cause-marketing, fundraising, brand management, communications, and legal and fiduciary services.

To learn more, visit the 4-H Name and Emblem Use Guide.

Wisconsin 4-H Logo Guidance

The logo for Wisconsin 4-H joins the UW-Madison logo to represent our connection to Campus. Further, it adds “Extension” to represent the Division of Extension’s management of statewide 4-H functions. Extension is the sole coordinator of 4-H activities and, as such, its name should be in all uses of the logo. To learn more, visit the Using the 4-H Name and Emblem Quick Guide. To download the official Wisconsin 4-H Logos visit: Wisconsin’s 4-H Logo Webpage.

Wisconsin 4-H Organizational Chart

The County-Based 4-H Program Organizational Chart is a visual representation of the county-based 4-H program and the relationship to USDA, UW-Madison and County government.

Wisconsin 4-H Charter Applications

The 4-H Charter indicates that a 4-H Club or Group is organized in accordance with the objectives of the Wisconsin 4-H program. The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension grants 4-H Charters which formally authorizes a Wisconsin 4-H Club or Group to use the 4-H Name and Emblem for educational purposes in accordance with laws and regulations established by Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, the 4-H Charter Application provides:

  • Documentation of educational activities of the 4-H Club or Group/Committee needed for liability coverage for 4-H volunteers and members
  • Program impact evaluation and educational planning
  • Documentation of compliance by 4-H Clubs and Groups with EEO, ADA guidelines and Civil Rights laws.

The Wisconsin 4-H Charter Application and Annual Financial Report are located on the Charters page of the Wisconsin 4-H Volunteer website. The 4-H Charter Renewal Year is November 1 through October 31.

Wisconsin 4-H Club and Group Requirements

The Wisconsin 4-H Charter Application and Annual Financial Report are located on the Charters page of the Wisconsin 4-H Volunteer website. The 4-H Charter Renewal Year is November 1 through October 31.

The University of Wisconsin – Madison Division of Extension grants 4-H Club and Group Charters, which formally recognize a Club or Group’s affiliation with 4-H, and grant that Club or Group the permission to use the 4-H Name and Emblem. 4-H Charter and Charter renewals provide documentation that a 4-H Club or Group complies with state and federal laws and federal, university and state 4-H policies and guidelines.

4-H Charters must be renewed annually.

All 4-H Clubs and Groups must be chartered.

To be a 4-H Club or Group in Wisconsin, the following requirements must be met and maintained:

  • Club name
  • Five or more youth from at least three families
  • Adult leadership that has been approved through the Youth Protection process*
  • Youth involvement in leadership and decision-making**
  • Meet on a continuing basis***
  • Educational plan which meets the purposes of the 4-H program
  • Have written operating guidelines, bylaws or constitution approved by the members to govern the club****
  • Open to any youth eligible for 4-H membership, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital or parental status.

*4-H Club Leaders are appointed by the 4-H Program Educator. 4-H Group Leaders are elected following the process outlined in their bylaws or appointed by the 4-H Program Educator.   

**Youth involvement in leadership and decision making emphasizes that 4-H Clubs or Groups belong to the membership and the youth members should make the decisions. Adult leaders should not be making the decisions for the members. Many Clubs operate with officers, however they are not required.

***Continuing basis means that a 4-H Club or Group intends to carry on as a functioning unit indefinitely. The Club or Group may determine for itself the frequency and timing of its meetings. Clubs or Groups that don’t meet in the summer, or November – February are acceptable if they continue as a 4-H Club or Group the next year. They don’t completely disband at the beginning of the summer. Rather they continue to exist with leadership and an identity and program again in the fall. Likewise, a school 4-H Club that meets every school year as the 5th grade class Club would also be acceptable, even though all the members change each year.

****Only 4-H members (clubs) & 4-H members and approved 4-H volunteers (groups) are eligible to vote. The 4-H Program Educator has the authority to approve, deny, or request modifications to 4-H Club and Group operating guidelines, policies, bylaws, and/or constitutions to ensure that the language aligns with Wisconsin 4-H Policies, Mission, and Values.

Failure of a 4-H Club or Group to meet these requirements may result in the loss of the 4-H Charter and the use of the 4-H Name and Emblem.

Annual 4-H Charter renewal applications are due to the local Extension Office no later than November 1. Individual Counties may have an earlier deadline.

Leadership for 4-H Clubs or Groups is provided by volunteers or staff.

4-H Clubs and Groups must have an educational mission. Evidence can be provided in different ways. The preferred method is for 4-H Clubs and Groups to develop a program plan and provide a written copy of that plan to the members and the local Extension office through the annual 4-H Charter renewal process.

4-H Club or Group written operating guidelines or by-laws need to include at minimum the following: the group’s purpose/mission; a statement of compliance with state and national 4-H policies and laws; the approved civil rights statements; information on how the group is organized and makes decisions; the required dissolution clause; and procedures of how finances are handled and audited.

All 4-H Clubs and Groups must comply with federal and state nondiscrimination laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Records Retention

Find current Records Retention schedules and guidance on the Records Retention Page.

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