4-H Youth Development
4-H is the comprehensive youth development program of Virginia Cooperative Extension. Youth between the ages of 5 and 18 engage in hands-on learning experiences under the guidance of adult or teen 4-H volunteers trained by 4-H agents. 4-H programs use experiential learning opportunities to teach the latest research-based subject matter knowledge and to foster skill development in effective citizenship, leadership, and other life skills. The 10 areas of 4-H curriculum focus are: Animal Sciences; Communications and Expressive Arts; Environmental Education and Natural Resources; Jobs, Careers and Economics; Plant and Soil Sciences; Citizenship; Family and Consumer Sciences; Health, Nutrition and Wellness; Leadership and Personal Development; and Science and Technology.
Youth also participate in educational experiences at six 4-H educational centers. 4-H has both a school-based and a community-based delivery model, so maximum access to Virginia's youth is provided. The specific learning experiences a 4-H member participates in are shaped locally and supported at the state and national levels. 4-H members learn how to: make decisions, manage resources, work with others, and utilize effective communication skills. 4-H serves as an effective prevention educational program. Involvement in 4-H reduces the potential for dysfunctional involvement in the community by youth. The mission of 4-H is to develop youth and adults working with those youth to realize their full potential--becoming effective, contributing citizens through participation in research-based, informal, hands-on educational experiences.