All 4-H projects and activities should be designed to advance citizenship, leadership, or life skills. At least one of these skill areas can be incorporated into any project, regardless of the subject.
In the California 4-H Youth Development Program, "citizenship" is defined in broad terms. It is more than voting and understanding how government works. Citizenship incorporates concepts of "youth in governance," and "civic engagement," and uses strategies such as service to foster young people's sense of connection to communities. 4-H citizenship activities can and should develop important life skills; inspire an appreciation for the history and heritage of one's family, community, state, and nation; help develop knowledge of the principles, processes, and structures of government; develop awareness and understanding of environmental, social, or other issues; and encourage understanding of how societal issues impact oneself and others. Learn more about 4-H citizenship
Leadership can be defined as, "the ability to influence and support others in a positive manner for a common goal." The California 4-H Youth Development Program believes that all youth have the potential to become leaders and that there are multiple ways to be an effective leader. It is critical that youth hold primary leadership roles throughout the 4-H program. 4-H creates opportunities for youth to not just learn about leadership, but to practice it as well. Participating members should have opportunities for goal-setting, program-planning, problem-solving, team-building, and decision-making.
Leadership opportunities for youth exist at the local, county, state and national levels, and provide increasingly challenging and responsible roles for young leaders. Youth should be adequately prepared for those roles. Leadership development can begin as soon as a club or other group forms, so that youth can:
- learn how to become effective officers
- develop skills that prepare them for future roles
- make decisions at the local, county, state, and national levels
The California 4-H Youth Development Program believes that youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow; they are also the leaders of today! Learn more about 4-H leadership.
The University of California 4-H Youth Development Program fosters young people in their life skills development. Life skills enable individuals to live a successful, productive, and satisfying life. 4-H provides challenging opportunities for them to practice those skills and to achieve a sense of mastery.