A 4-H club is an organized group of at least five youth from three different families with two 4-H appointed adult volunteers. Members and leaders meet regularly and have a planned program that is carried out through all or most of the year. The purpose of a 4-H club is to provide positive youth development opportunities that enable youth to reach their full potential as competent, confident, leaders of character who contribute and are connected to their communities.
4-H clubs usually meet in the evenings or on weekends and offer self-chosen multiple learning experiences and activities. The youth officers run the meetings, typically using parliamentary procedure.
All 4-H clubs must be chartered, which includes having an approved constitution and bylaws. The 4-H charter allows clubs to use the 4-H name and emblem, raise funds in the name of 4-H, and carry out the 4-H educational program.
Individual youth and adult volunteers must complete the required 4-H enrollment process and pay the annual 4-H program fee which includes accident and sickness insurance coverage.
Each year, a 4-H club member enrolls in at least one project. Members enrolling for the first time may be encouraged to take on only one or two projects. As members gain experience, the size of the project may be increased or additional projects may be selected. Some project groups meet once a week, while others might meet once or twice a month. The purpose of these meetings is to guide the members in gaining knowledge, attitudes, skills, and habits needed to complete their work successfully.
A 4-H project is:
- Planned work in an area of interest to the 4-H member.
- Guided by a 4-H adult volunteer who is the project leader.
- Aimed at planned objectives that can be attained and measured.
- Summarized by some form of record keeping.
- A minimum of six hours of project instruction.