4-H FAQs


  •  An international program and the largest youth development organization in the United States with more than six million youth members
  • In New York State 4-H is the youth development system of Cornell University Cooperative Extension, which implements 4-H in the counties of the state
  • 4-H looks different in every county, but the mission mandate is the same – to promote positive adult & youth partnerships, youth development and youth leadership in the areas of:
    • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education: Providing experiences and project materials designed to inspire young scientists
    • Citizenship: Helping youth to make a difference in their local community
    • Healthy Lifestyles: Offering resources to help families and youth to make good choices for health and well-being


Cornell University Cooperative Extension – New York City 4-H operates through partnerships with schools, after-school programs, faith-based communities, military and other youth-serving and community-based organizations.


With support from CUCE-NYC 4-H, organizations form and run their 4-H clubs and special interest programs.



The four H’s (Head, Heart, Hands and Health) represent four basic human needs: Independence, Belonging, Generosity and Mastery. Research shows that youth whose basic needs are met in positive ways are likely to grow into active citizens and contributing members of their families and communities.

WHAT DO 4-Hers DO?

4-Hers get involved in projects, service learning opportunities, 4-H events and trips. Youth learn by doing, participating in hands-on activities and projects in nutrition & health, robotics, geospatial science, visual arts and environmental education. They engage in service projects such as Million Trees, Citizen Science and Adopt-a-Pixel Project.

IMG_1388They also participate in events and trips such as 4-H Public Presentations, National 4-H Youth Science Day and State Teen Action Representatives Retreat (STARR) that serve to both hone and showcase their skills and introduce New York City youth to a wide audience across New York State.


4-H serves youth in grades K-12 from all backgrounds and interests. 4-H offers membership without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, gender or disability. Youth grades K-3 may participate through Cloverbud 4-H clubs.

Collaboration with volunteers, partners & agency staff are integral to 4-H operations. These are the people that organize and run the 4-H clubs, 4-H special interest groups, activities and events. Adult volunteers must be at least 21 years of age. Teen volunteers must be at least 16 years old  and enrolled in the 4-H Youth Leaders Academy Programs.


Currently, there is no student registration fee for 4-H. There is a nominal fee for trainings and materials for club work. Fees are charged for trips and statewide excursions. Where possible, CUCE-NYC collaborates with sites on joint proposals to leverage funds in support of 4-H programming. Individual clubs may charge dues or hold fundraisers for club materials, supplies and trips.


For information & orientation sessions on “How to start a 4-H club”; “Become a 4-H volunteer”, “Register for trainings” or information about other CUCE-NYC Family & Youth Development programs, please contact us. Applications to start a 4-H club and/or to become a 4-H volunteer are available here.


Parents are encouraged to share information about 4-H with their child’s school, aftercare/ daycare program, faith-based or other youth organization to start a 4-H group at their location. It is the policy of Cornell University Cooperative Extension New York City 4-H not to place youth into existing clubs. New York City 4-H clubs are organization-based and therefore (unless otherwise stated) participation in clubs is limited to the students that are already enrolled at site locations.

The Teen Leadership Programs are the only open enrollment club that serves youth citywide. Teens in grades 9-12 are invited to register during the months of September-October. Applications to register can be found here.



4-H clubs consist of a group of 15 or more youth (grades 4-12) who work with adult volunteer leaders, (which include teachers, youth workers, staff and volunteers) on an ongoing basis to conduct projects and participate in 4-H activities.

Members of the clubs organize, elect youth officers and plan programs that are based on the needs and interests of the group. The youth club officers conduct business meetings once per month. 4-H volunteers, teachers and agency staff run all clubs. All clubs work on 4-H projects in nutrition & health, science & tech, environmental education, community development and citizenship.

IMG_8997Clubs have the opportunity to participate in local, state, and national 4-H events and activities such as trips, camp, conferences, and recognition ceremonies. Cloverbud Clubs are for youth grades K-3.

These groups do age-appropriate modified activities that reflect 4-H subject matter activities.

Clubs must fulfill the following requirements during the club year October – June:

  • Enroll as a 4-H club: Complete volunteer application, Memorandum of  Understanding and group enrollment forms
  • Adults participate in volunteer trainings including Club Start Up
  • Elect club officers
  • Complete at least one 4-H project in science, health, civic education, etc.
  • Conduct a minimum of one community service project of your choice; and
  • Participate in two 4-H special events i.e. Public Presentation, National Science Day etc.


4-H is global program and works with military bases around the world. 4-H Clubs offer opportunities for Army youth to explore new interests and gain skills in leadership, decision making, technology, science, math, environmental stewardship, and community service. In addition to learning by doing in their club, Army youth participate with other 4-H youth beyond the garrison gates in county, state and national programs. No matter where they move with their parents, youth can find 4-H Clubs in any county in the U.S. and on overseas installations

New York City 4-H Military Clubs

All Army, Air Force, and Navy installations are required by the U.S. Department of Defense to host at least one 4-H project club on installation in order to meet the needs of military youth when they move from installation to installation.

CUCE-NYC 4-H Youth Development provides support to  4-H club programming at Fort Hamilton Military Garrison in Brooklyn, NY. There are currently two military clubs at the base (elementary & teen). These clubs accept enrollment from military families citywide. We accept all branches including National Guard families on and off base.

If you are interested in learning more about the 4-H Military Club program contact us.


Schools, agencies, or informal groups may wish to conduct a specific 4-H project without forming a club. These youth groups, ages 8 – 19, take part in 4-H project training and receive materials for a nominal fee. Youth may later join the 4-H Teen Leadership Programs or other 4-H activities. This option is particularly good for agencies that are looking for resources to enrich their existing programs.


The 4-H Teen Leadership Programs provide teens (grades 9-12) with a set of marketable skills that position them to take the lead in life. Youth are engaged in activities that teach leadership principles, establish a sense of personal identity and respect for differences and work on service learning projects to address community issues and prepare for their futures.

IMG_1449Youth participate in local, state and national 4-H activities and events i.e. Career Exploration (Cornell University), Citizen Washington Focus (Washington DC) and State Fair (Syracuse, NY). 4-H Teen Leaders connect to a greater network of 4-H youth as well as create opportunities to showcase talents, skills and have youth voice.

The Teen Leadership Programs are the only open enrollment club that serves youth citywide. Teens in grades 9-12 are invited to register during the months of September-October. Applications to register can be found here.


4-H builds on the strength of youth and adult partnerships. A 4-H volunteer is anyone who contributes their time, energy or talent to 4-H and is not paid by Cornell University Cooperative Extension – New York City (CUCE-NYC) for his or her contributions. All volunteers are screened and go through background checks.

Volunteers are crucial to program delivery and help to keep the 4-H program alive. Please click here to learn more about our 4-H volunteer opportunities.