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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences



What is 4-H?

4-H is a non-formal educational, youth development program offered to individuals age 5 and in kindergarten to age 19. Ohio 4-H youth development reaches more than 240,000 youth each year – helping kids “learn by doing” through hands-on activities.

All 4-H programs focus on active involvement and quality experiences which stimulate lifelong learning of values and skills. 4-H members learn valuable lessons in leadership, communication and collaboration while increasing their knowledge in math, science, technology and a variety of other topics.

4-H creates fun while learning in a variety of ways. Kids can participate in 4-H through community clubs, camps, in-school and after-school activities, and summer programs. They increase their self-confidence and personal life skills while learning about specific subjects - anything from animals or computers to public speaking, cooking, art, gardening and environmental sciences!

In Mahoning County over 1,000 youth participate in 50 clubs, which are run by 200 trained and screened volunteers. Annually, club members choose which of the many Ohio 4-H projects they'll participate in. Projects offered each year are outlined in the Ohio 4-H Family Guide, which you can link to on the left side menu. Despite what many in the public believe, you do not have to live on a farm or raise animals to be a productive 4-Her. Many of our youth do not participate in any animal projects, and many of our youth members come from Youngstown and the surrounding suburbs, where you are unlikely to see a livestock animal!

Who can join?

Ohio 4-H membership is based on a child's age and grade as of January 1 of the current project year. Eligibility for Cloverbud participation begins when a child is enrolled in Kindergarten and is five years old. Eligibility for participation in 4-H projects and competitive events begins when a child is age 8 and in the 3rd grade. Any youth age 9 or above is eligible for project membership, regardless of grade level. Membership requires enrollment in an authorized Ohio 4-H club or group under the direction of an OSU Extension professional or an approved adult volunteer. A youth’s 4-H eligibility ends December 31 the year he or she turns 19. Joining Ohio 4-H is a privilege and responsibility for individuals and is subject to the Ohio 4-H Code of Conduct and applicable policies of The Ohio State University.

Find a club in Mahoning County! 

Check out all the 4-H projects in our Family Guide