About Indiana 4-H
Indiana 4-H Youth Development is a community of young people learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. The 4-H program is Indiana’s largest youth development organization and is offered in each of Indiana’s 92 counties. As the largest youth development organization in the state, Indiana 4-H includes more than 210,000 youth and involves nearly 15,000 adult volunteers in over 5,600 clubs, camps and school enrichment units.
Indiana 4-H has been empowering youth to reach their full potential since 1904 – that’s more than 100 years! Children and youth who are involved in 4-H are better equipped to become contributing, caring and capable members of society.
Youth participating in 4-H programs
- gain valuable leadership skills,
- develop their decision-making capabilities,
- increase their appreciation for community service, and
- learn to set goals, plan projects, and solve problems.
Indiana 4-H provides a service-learning environment where youth members learn to communicate more effectively and are motivated to make a difference now and for the rest of their lives.
Even though 4-H has its roots in agricultural education and agricultural programs are still a vibrant and central part of the Indiana 4-H program, Indiana 4-H is active in urban areas as well. In fact, as the chart below shows, in 2010 there were slightly more 4-H members in urban areas in Indiana than in farming areas.
It is the goal of Indiana 4-H Youth Development to foster life skills by teaching youth to
- acquire knowledge,
- use science and technology,
- make decisions,
- solve problems,
- work productively,
- meet deadlines, and
- develop leadership ability.
In Indiana 4-H, youth will grow to appreciate self and others by learning to
- recognize self-worth
- relate to others,
- communicate well
- develop work ethic,
- accept responsibility,
- deal with change, and
- expand horizons.
Essential Elements of 4-H Youth Development 4-H offers opportunities for BELONGING.
Young people don’t just join 4-H – they belong. Youth need to experience a sense of physical and emotional safety and know that they are cared about and accepted by others. Research suggests that a sense of belonging may be the single most powerful positive ingredient we can add into the lives of children and youth. We believe in cultivating positive relationships that help to foster that sense of belonging.
4-H offers opportunities to achieve MASTERY.
Mastery involves the development of skills, knowledge, and attitudes in addition to solving problems and meeting meaningful challenges. 4-H encourages youth to take risks, seek out challenges, and focus on self-improvement rather than comparing themselves to their peers.
4-H offers opportunities to extend GENEROSITY.
Young people need to feel that their lives have meaning and purpose beyond themselves. 4-H provides opportunities to connect youth to their communities and allow them to experience what it’s like to give back to others.
4-H offers opportunities to experience INDEPENDENCE.
In 4-H, young people learn how to make good choices and then are given opportunities to actually make good choices. Youth need to know that they are able to influence people and events through decision-making and action. 4-H programs aid youth in gaining a sense of independence, contributing to the development of their sense of personal responsibility and discipline.
Statewide Programs, Events, and Activities
- 4-H Volunteer Development and Recognition
- 4-H Science Workshops at Purdue University
- State 4-H Junior Leader Conference
- Indiana 4-H Congress (Scholarship and Leadership development and recognition)
- Indiana State Fair Youth Leadership Conference
- State 4-H Electric Workshops
- Demonstration and Public Speaking Events
- 4-H/FFA Career Development Events
- 4-H Round-Up at Purdue University
You can learn more about the Indiana 4-H Youth Development Program by visiting www.four-h.purdue.edu. There, you can also find your county Extension Educator. He or she can answer specific program questions about what’s available in your area.