4-H and Youth

Wisconsin 4-H and Community Youth Development programs are part of the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension in partnership with local, state and federal government in each Wisconsin county.

4-H and Community Youth Development programs have been and continue to be delivered in a variety of ways. From neighborhood and community 4-H clubs to after school programs, they provide young people a chance to learn new skills, gain self-confidence and contribute to their communities. Opportunities are created to provide youth real world experiences that teach leadership and citizenship skills.

4-H provides 4 essential elements for young people:

  • Belonging (Heart of 4-H) – Youth need to know they are cared about by others and feel a sense of connection to others in the group.  This is done through 4-H by the development of a Positive relationship with a caring adult, providing an inclusive and safe environment.
  • Mastery (Hands of 4-H) – Youth need to feel and believe they are capable and experience success at solving problems and meeting challenges to develop their self-confidence.  By exploring 4-H projects and activities, youth master skills to make positive career and life choices.
  • Independence (Head of 4-H) – Youth need to know that they are able to influence people and events through decision-making and actions.  By exercising independence through 4-H leadership opportunities, youth mature in self-discipline and responsibility and learn to better understand themselves.
  • Generosity (Health of 4-H) – Youth need to feel their lives have meaning and purpose.  By exploring 4-H community service and citizenship activities, youth can connect to communities and learn to give back to others.

Research Shows 4-H Helps Young People Excel beyond Their Peers

For a decade, preeminent youth development scholar, Dr. Richard Lerner, and the team at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University have been working with faculty at land-grant universities to conduct “The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development”.  This is a longitudinal study that began in 2002, surveying more than 7,000 adolescents from diverse backgrounds across 44 U.S. States.

This in-depth, longitudinal study has discovered that the structured learning, encouragement and adult mentoring that young people receive through their participation in 4-H plays a vital role in helping them achieve future life successes.  Highlights of the results include:

4-H youth make more healthy choices.  Young people in 4-H are:

  • 3.4 times more likely to delay sexual intercourse by Grade 12;
  • Shown to have had significantly lower drug, alcohol and cigarette use than their peers; and
  • 2.3 times more likely to exercise and be physically active.

4-H’ers excel in school and the sciencesYoung people in 4-H:

  • Report better grades, higher levels of academic competence, and an elevated level of engagement at school;
  • Are nearly two times more likely to plan to go to college; and
  • Are more likely to pursue future courses or a career in science, engineering, or computer technology.

This study also finds that girls in 4-H are more than twice as likely to participate in science, engineering, or computer technology programs than their peers.

Young people in 4-H are committed to improving their communities.  A notable trend of the study indicates that 4-H youth are 3.4 times more likely to actively contribute to their communities when compared with youth who do not participate in 4-H.

To learn more about “The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development”, visit www.4-H.org/about/youth-development-research

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  • 4-H Club Officer Training November 19, 2019
    Calling all 2019/20 4-H Club or committee youth officers and all older youth interested in learning more about club officer positions. Are you a new club officer?  Maybe you are in a new officer position?  Or maybe you just want to learn more about what a club officer really does so you can be one […]
  • Fire & Ice: 4-H Winter Camp November 19, 2019
    Calling all older youth: 7th grade and above! Fire & Ice will be held Friday, January 31 – Sunday February 2, 2020 at the Wisconsin Lions Camp in Rosholt.  Our 2020 Educational Focus will be centered on youth opportunities we can KINDLE in your community! There will be opportunists for great outdoor winter activities such […]
  • VIP Training for New 4-H Leaders November 14, 2019
    Are you a new 4-H Volunteer Leader?  Don’t forget to attend a VIP training.  It is one of the 4 steps to becoming a certified 4-H Volunteer Leader. See flyer for more details.  
  • 2019 Horse Leadership Conference – Oshkosh, WI October 8, 2019
    It’s time to start thinking about attending the 2019 Horse Leadership Conference.  THEME:  RESPECT FEATURED SPEAKER: SARA NOVOTNY Sara Novotny is a multi-carded judge who spends her spare time training and exhibiting horses and working with clientele of all ages. Her day job is instructing students at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Animal Science and [ […]
  • Join Us for the 4-H Recognition Banquet! September 26, 2019
    We have had a great year here in Lincoln County 4-H and it’s time to celebrate that!  Please join us for our annual Recognition and Awards banquet on Saturday, October 26th at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church (1708 E 10th Street in Merrill). Lincoln County 4-H provides opportunities for members and volunteers to be recognized […]
  • Find the 4H Express online! September 20, 2019
    Did you know that you can always find a copy of the 4-H Newsletter — The 4-H Express! — online? Well, you can! Just go to http://bit.ly/LC4HExpress  and you can get your own copy instantly!
  • 4-H Enrollment – Begins September 10th September 5, 2019
    Inspire Kids To Do!  Are you ready to join 4-H? Do you have questions? Need Assistance?  Contact us, we can help.
  • 2019-20 After the Bell Program August 22, 2019
    For the 2019-20 school year, the “After the Bell” program will begin on Monday, September 9, 2019.  This free program is available for all middle school students whether they attend public or parochial school from 3:05 – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday in Room 118 (enter the school through Door 14) at the Prairie River […]
  • 2019 Fall Forum Information Has Arrived!  August 21, 2019
    2019 Fall Forum Information Has Arrived!  More information can be found at: https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/wi4hvolunteers/2019-fall-forum/
  • 4-H Older Youth Trip Scholarships, Trips, Awards, and Ambassadors August 21, 2019
    Hey 4-H Youth in 6th-13th Grade, Have you heard about the amazing 4-H Trips, Awards, and Scholarships? If not, check this out!  Opportunities abound! It’s time to start thinking about the opportunities that are for you in 4-H.  This is a “one stop does all” process, as it also includes the 4-H Ambassador selection process. […]

If you have any questions regarding 4-H Youth Development in Lincoln County, please contact:

Holly Luerssen, 4-H Program Coordinator for Lincoln and Langlade Counties.
U.W. Extension Lincoln County
801 N. Sales Street, Suite 101
Merrill, WI 54452
Phone – 715-539-1072
FAX – 715-539-8323
Email: holly.luerssen@ces.uwex.edu