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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  • Strengthening Wisconsin Families with Mindfulness September 23, 2020
    Statewide UW-Madison Division of Extension Live-Online Program All Families with youth ages 10-14 Invited to Participate Who: Youth Ages 10-14 and their Parents/Caregivers What: No Cost 7-Week Program When: Thursdays: October 8 – November 19th Where: Live-Online with Zoom Schedule: 4:00 – 5:15 pm Youth Session 5:15 – 6:00 pm Family Dinner (offline) 6:00 – [… […]
  • Make a 4-H Poster for the 2020 Poster Contest for National 4-H Week September 11, 2020
    2020 Poster Contest Information Rules and Restrictions Open to ALL Lincoln County 4-H Members Must be done by the individual Limit: 2 Entries (one per theme) Correct use of the 4-H Clover NO copyrighted materials The following information must be added to the top right corner on the BACK of the poster Name Address Club […]
  • Celebrate Lincoln County 4-H’s Centennial: 100 for 4-H! September 10, 2020
    A century is 100 years — so why not celebrate the Lincoln County centennial by doing 100 of  ANYTHING? Choose something you love to do and do it 100 times to celebrate the Lincoln County 4-H Centennial! Do 100 jumping jacks or sit-ups Walk 100 steps or yards or miles Do 100 acts of kindness […]
  • “We are 4-H” Posters September 10, 2020
    Display a “We are 4-H” Centennial Sign! Extension Lincoln County has these beautiful signs waiting for people to pick them up and display them! Stop by and pick one (or two) up! Put it in your window, hang it on your desk, or put one on your camper or boat! Fill the world with 4-H!
  • Discover 4-H: Spa & Relaxation for Older Youth September 8, 2020
    Discover 4-H: Spa & Relaxation A workshop for all youth in 7th grade and older. This is open to all community youth. In this workshop, we will make homemade products and practice different relaxation & mindfulness techniques to help you get the most out of life! Where: At your local 4-H/Extension Office When: Antigo: Mondays […]
  • Looking for Aluminium Cans! The Second Cans For Kids Fundraiser! September 3, 2020
    Support Lincoln County 4-H! Save the Environment! Lincoln County 4-H is doing a can drive!  Bring all your empty aluminum cans to the 4-H Cans for Kids fundraiser! When:  Saturday, September 26th, 8 am-Noon Where: Parking lot next to Merrill Enrichment Center, Festival Grounds This fundraiser will help support the many good works done by […]
  • 2020 Older Youth – Trip, Ambassador, & Awards Selection Information August 18, 2020
    You are invited to participate in the 2020 Application & Interview process.  There are many opportunities for youth in 6th grade and older. This process not only could provide you with a trip scholarship or another award, but it includes Ambassador selection also. We hope that this resume process provides you with an experience that […]
  • Lincoln County 4-H Express – August/September 2020 August 18, 2020
    The August/September Lincoln County 4-H Express is now out!  Look for it in the mail. If you don’t get a hard copy or would rather read it online, you can do so:  Lincoln County 4-H Express Aug/Sept 2020 (PDF, 12 pages).
  • Monarchs Matter – A Family Activity August 12, 2020
    Are you looking for one last family day trip before school starts? Join us at Copper Culture State Park in Oconto as we explore the world of Monarch butterflies through hands on learning. (A State Park sticker is not required to enter the park.) See flyer for more information including a registration. Use this link […]
  • Go on a Treasure Hunt August 7, 2020
    The August Project packs are now available! Be sure to pick up a FREE August “Summer Fun Project Pack” for your family. The packs are filled with youth-family educational activities including mental health, nutrition, STEM, craft, and reading activities along with supplies to complete the activities. This “treasure” pack is full of great ways to […]

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@wisc.edu 



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