What Is 4H

4-H is a national organization which helps young people develop knowledge and skills to become productive citizens. 4-H also brings together youth and adults to design programs that will teach skills for living. 4-H also helps provide a stronger bond between family members.

The 4-H program is a voluntary, non-formal, educational program offered to all boys and girls regardless of race, color, national origin, place of residence, or handicap. The Illinois 4-H program is conducted by University of Illinois Extension, which is a part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Young people in 4-H learn about citizenship, leadership, cooking, arts and crafts, mechanics and technology, horticulture, agriculture, and other subjects. To teach young people about these subjects, the 4-H program uses the learn-by-doing method of instruction. The 4-H project that each member selects according to interest and ability is the program’s cornerstone. A 4-H project is a practical, but challenging, planned course of activity on a specific subject. Projects involve setting goals and evaluating progress. The skills and knowledge learned in 4-H project work help members become more productive individuals and citizens.

4-H members participate in regular meetings with their local clubs. Most 4-H clubs take part in county fairs each year. 4-H program has thrived for more than 100 years and continues to grow in Illinois. The Illinois 4-H program reaches hundreds of thousands of youth supported by adult volunteers helping in thousands of clubs and groups across the state.

U of I Extension Unit serving Calhoun, Cass, Greene, Morgan and Scott Counties has over 600 youth enrolled in traditional 4-H community clubs.  Another 2,000 have participated in school based 4-H programing.

Special Interest (SPIN) Clubs

SPIN clubs allow kids ages 8 to 18 with common interests or hobbies to meet as a club and share their special interest. Whether their passion is sailing, robotics, community theater, or just about any other topic, kids can gain knowledge and enhance their skills through a positive group experience. A SPIN club can be started with as few as one adult volunteer leader and five young people with an interest in a particular topic. While an adult leader provides expertise and guidance, club members take an active role in planning and running their own activities. 

4-H SPIN clubs in the areas of shooting sports, weather observation, cake decorating, robotics, rocketry, youth entrepreneurship, and geospatial-GPS have reached over 160 youth this school year.

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