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Melissa Irwin
Program Coordinator, 4-H and Youth Development
University of Illinois Extension
205 Cadillac Court
Unit 3
Belvidere, IL 61008-1733
Phone: 815-544-3710
FAX: 815-544-4606

Johnna B. Jennings
Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development
University of Illinois Extension
1350 West Prairie Drive
Sycamore, IL 60178-3166
Phone: 815-758-8194
FAX: 815-758-8199

Boone County 4-H

Boone County 4-H

What is 4-H?

4-H is a youth organization that belongs to the members, their families, and other interested adults who serve as volunteer leaders. Professional leadership is provided by University of Illinois Extension staff. Support for 4-H programs is a joint effort of local organizations, county government, the University of Illinois, and the United States Dept. of Agriculture.

In 4-H, young people share, grow, and learn together from various projects, events, and activities in informal situations under the guidance of their families and other volunteer adult leaders. Members can choose projects that fit them and the places where they live. Group activities and events such as trips, camps, fairs, shows, and workshops provide additional learning experiences and opportunities.

4-H is open to all youth and adults regardless of their ethnic background, race, creed, or disability. Most 4-H clubs have meetings for the entire membership once a month. During these meetings, decisions are made about group sponsored activities such as community service efforts, project opportunities, and fund-raising efforts.

Regardless of the structure, a 4-H group may involve families, neighbors, relatives, and others. Participants have fun learning, working, and succeeding together in the home, community, and beyond.

Purpose of 4-H

The purpose of 4-H is two-fold:

  • To provide an opportunity for parents and other interested adults to work with youth in their development.
  • To help youth learn skills for living through a fun, action-oriented, and practical program.

The major focus of 4-H is on the activities of the local 4-H club. Volunteers serve as 4-H leaders who plan and carry out organized learning experiences with youth. The many county and state activities are considered secondary. Their purpose is one of supplementing and supporting local club programs. The 4-H Youth Development Educators & staff are resources for parents and other adults in the 4-H program.