What is 4-H?

What is 4-H?

4-H Youth Development is part of Kentucky Cooperative Extension.  Extension’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of Kentucky citizens through non-formal education for the entire family.  Extension agents and volunteers take the results of university research and explain it in such a way that different age groups can learn and apply the information to their own lives. Kentucky 4-H believes in providing positive youth development experiences that all youth to experience belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.  

4-H is a youth organization committed to building outstanding leaders with marketable skills to succeed in today’s global society.    4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults. The four H's represent the idea of Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.  These are the values members work on through fun and engaging programs.

Head   Managing, Thinking

Heart   Relating, Caring

Hands   Giving, Working

Health   Being, Living


How does 4-H benefit youth?

4-H’ers, regardless of their background, socio-economic status, race or gender, benefit from their participation in Kentucky 4-H. Positive youth development studies have affirmed that compared to other youth, young people involved in 4-H are:

  • Four times more likely to contribute to their communities. 
  • Two times more likely to be  civically active.
  • Two times more likely to make healthier lifestyle choices.
  • Two times more likely to participate in Science, Engineering and Computer Technology  programs during out-of-school time.
  • 4-H girls are two times more likely (Grade 10) and nearly three times more likely (Grade 12) to take part in science programs compared to girls in other out-of-school time activities. 


Where can parents find more information about 4-H?

4-H Programs exist in all 120 counties through the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Service. Contact your local County Extension Office for more information.