University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
University of California
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program


The Cloverpedia is a resource designed to be a living document for individuals to learn more about common California State 4-H terms, events and programs. Along with an explanation of which each item is, there are also hyperlinks to online resources that will provide more detail. Please select one of the links below to download the document for the program of your choice:

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4-H Club: A 4-H club is a group of 5 or more 4-H members (ages 5 through 19) from 3 different families who meet regularly to conduct business, learn in projects, conduct community service projects, and develop a sense of belonging through social activities. Most 4-H clubs meet monthly from September through May. 4-H Clubs promote positive youth development through offering educational activities for youth to develop the 6 C’s (competence, confidence, character, caring, connection, and contribution). 4-H Clubs structure an environment that emphasizes the four essential elements include belonging (caring relationships), mastery (constructive learning experiences), independence (leadership opportunities), and generosity (service to communities).­­­­­

4-H Camp: Most counties have a weeklong 4-H summer camp. 4-H Camp is an opportunity for fun and environmental education. Teen and adult camp counselors and staff plan daily activities including hikes, campfires, and mini-sessions.

4-H Creed: Note: The author and date of the creed are unknown.

  • I believe in 4-H Club work for the opportunity it will give me to become a useful citizen.
  • I believe in the training of my HEAD for the power it will give me to think, plan and to reason.
  • I believe in the training of my HEART for the nobleness it will give me to be kind, sympathetic and true.
  • I believe in the training of my HANDS for the ability it will give me to be helpful, skillful and useful.
  • I believe in the training of my HEALTH for the strength it will give me to enjoy life, resist disease and to work efficiently.
  • I believe in my country, my state and my community and in my responsibility for their development.
  • In all these things I believe, and am willing to dedicate my efforts to their fulfillment.

4-H Hat: The 4-H hat is a way for members to display their achievements and accomplishments. Pins are displayed in a standardized fashion and the hat is worn during any event that utilizes the white uniform. A 4-H hat is NOT required for membership in the California 4-H Youth Development Program (YDP) or for participation in any 4-H activity, event, or meeting. 

4-H Accident and Sickness Insurance: All 4-H members and leaders are provided limited accident/sickness insurance. The insurance policy covers accidents and/or sicknesses that occur during 4-H work or while traveling to and from official meetings and events. Please refer to the Hartford 4-H Insurance Brochure for detailed information concerning coverage or the manual at

4-H Member: Any person who is at least 5 years of age or in Kindergarten by December 31st of the program year and who has completed the enrollment process. A member may remain active in 4-H until the end of the calendar year in which he or she becomes 19 years old with annual reenrollment. County 4-H YDP staff may limit the program's availability to certain age/grade levels.

4-H Military Partnership: Formal partnerships with Army Child, Youth and School Services, Air Force Airman and Family Services and Navy Family Readiness to support positive youth development education for youth whose parents are serving in the military.

4-H Motto: “To make the best better.”

4-H Pledge: “As a true 4-H member, I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”

4-H Staff: 4-H YDP staff provide trainings, resources, and support to the county’s club leaders, project leaders and members. Staff are responsible for ensuring the educational quality of the 4-H YDPand making certain that county, state and national policies and procedures are followed. 4-H Youth Development Advisors develop applied research and education programs in response to the needs of California’s youth, families and the communities. 4-H Program Representatives plan, implement and deliver educational programs for the 4-H YDP at the county level.

4-H Uniform: The 4-H uniform may not be required to be worn for membership or participation in the 4-H YDP. When a uniform is worn, it consists of white or black pants, with a belt, white button up shirt with collar, a 4-H tie (males) or scarf (females) and a 4-H hat.

Achievement Pins and Stripes: Each member that completes a club year in good standing receives a pin and stripe to wear on his/her 4-H cap, plus any other awards that the member may have received that result in a pin.

Activity: A planned piece of work, undertaken by an individual member or a group of members, in an area not taken as a 4-H project, such as demonstrations, judging, or camping.

Adult Volunteer: See “Certified 4-H Adult Volunteer”. 

Adult Volunteer Appointment Card: Adult volunteer leaders are considered agents of the University of California. Appointment cards, issued by the University, officially recognize one as a 4-H leader. Appointment cards are not valid until the volunteer leader has completed the appropriate steps.

All Star: The highest star rank available at the county level. The award is given on a competitive basis and requirements vary by county. Members that have achieved the rank of All Star are typically the youth leadership resource for the county.

Annual Project Report (APR): Members should record project work throughout the club year on a project report form for each project that they participate in. The annual project report form then becomes part of the 4-H Record Book. Project leaders should evaluate the project report form at the end of the club year. Please see Record Book.

Awards Presentation: An event held to present awards and honors to members and leaders for their achievements of the previous year and contributions to the 4-H YDP.

California 4-H Foundation: Founded in 1971, the foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, operating as a part of the State 4-H Office in Davis, CA and is supported in part by the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Foundation’s purpose is three-fold: 1) to develop funding partnerships with individuals, foundations and corporations to support the 4-H in California; 2) to increase public awareness of the California 4-H Youth Development Program as a valuable investment; and 3) to provide training and support to 4-H county offices and clubs to maximize their local fundraising efforts.

Certified 4-H Adult Volunteer: A person 18 years of age or older, requirements depending on the county in which the member is enrolled in.

  1. Completes online enrollment application and submits completed required paper forms to the club leader.
  2. Completes 4-H Orientation training.
  3. Submits fingerprints via Live Scan and receives clearance from the Dept. of Justice.
  4. Receives final approval from the County Director.

A person 18-20 years old that has also completed the above steps can also be an adult volunteer, but is unable to be a chaperone.

The initial leader appointment is for one year or less. Volunteers must re-enroll for renewal on an annual basis. Volunteers with a break/lapse in service must be re-fingerprinted. 

Charter Seal: Award given to a club that has attained the goals it had outlined for itself at the beginning of the club year. (Club goals worksheet/application is available at

Citizenship - California Focus: Citizenship educational experience that combines hands-on participation in workshops, debates and simulations with speakers, tours, activities and new friends from across California.

Citizenship - Washington Focus: Educational conference offered at the National 4-H Center near Washington, D.C giving youth the opportunity to explore, develop and refine the civic engagement skills they need in order to become better leaders.

Club Charter: Granted to a club when the requirements are met to start a 4-H club. Please see 4-H Club.

Club Event: Events and activities planned and conducted within a 4-H club.

Club Leader: Person responsible for the overall organization and coordination of a community club (also known as an organizational unit volunteer).

Club Meeting: Club meetings are held throughout the program year to share information, learn valuable leadership skills and to have fun. Meetings are planned and conducted by the club officers, with direction from the club leader. Club business is conducted at the meetings and members vote on club issues. All members are encouraged to participate in the meetings by giving reports, demonstrations and other prepared talks.

Club Officer Training: May be held to provide training to club officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, Sergeant at Arms, Treasurer) for their respective roles.

Club Year: Please see “Program Year”.

Code of Conduct: Signed agreementthat all participants, members, adult volunteers and 4-H YDP staff, shall adhere to the core values of the University of California 4-H YDP: respect the individual rights, safety, and property of others. Members are expected to demonstrate the character traits of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Member Code of Conduct - English , 4-H Adult Volunteer Code of Conduct - English , Parent-Guardian-Adult Participant Code of Conduct - English .

Collegiate 4-H: Continuation of the 4-H YDP in college designed to bridge the gap between youth membership and adult leadership. The Collegiate 4-H also helps with community service within the college community and provides leadership to other 4-H members

Community Service Activity: Task undertaken by a club, project group or individual 4-H member to help improve the community.

Cooperative Extension Service: Cooperative effort between the US government (USDA), the state of California (University of California), and a county. The goal is to bring the benefits of University research to the community, and 4-H work is one part of this effort. In the county, a County Director works with staff from Farm, Nutrition, Family, and Consumer Science and 4-H Youth Development Advisors.

County 4-H Office: The main county-wide resource for the club and volunteers who are enrolled within that county. Also acts as the liaison to the state 4-H office and helps to implement program changes.

County Council/VMO: A board of elected volunteers that oversees the county’s budget, events, committees and clubs. This volunteer administrative board may be titled according to the county in which is governs.

County Event: Event to help develop and sharpen skills in particular areas of youth development.

County Fair: One or more counties will come together once a year to hold a fair showing the different elements that represent the area. Generally, 4-H will use this event to hold their livestock judging and auctions. Members involved in other aspects within 4-H can also show their work to be judged such as textiles, food products, arts & crafts, woodworking and photography.

County 4-H Presentation Day: Consists of demonstration and public speaking competitions, song leading, share-the-fun and cultural arts. Gold awarded winners in all divisions advance to a Sectional 4-H Presentation Day. This event is usually held in February or March and may be a component of a larger county event.

Club Seal:An award earned by a club that meets the goals outlined at the beginning of the year. Minimum requirements must be met. Gold, blue or green seals are displayed on the charter.

Delivery Modes: The 4-H YDP is open to all youth ages 5 to 19 and adults 18 and older. Youth and adults can participate in the program through a variety of delivery modes including: Organized 4-H Clubs (e.g., Community, Military), School Enrichment, School-Age Child Care or Afterschool Education Programs, Special Interest Programs, Short-Term Programs, Overnight Camping Programs, Individual Study/Mentoring/Family Learning Programs, Instructional TV/Video/Webcast Programs.

Demonstration: The member shows how to do something. Showing of a skill or process or an illustrated talk to explain new or important facts. May be given by one or more members. May be done competitively or just for fun. A demonstration is a formal prepared public presentation that has a title, introduction, body and summary. Appropriate “props” are used as well as posters or other visual aids. A member’s first presentation can be short, and can be given at a project or community club meeting.

Diamond Star: Please See "State Ambassador".

Emblem: The 4-H emblem is a green four-leaf clover with a white H on each cloverleaf. The 4-H Name and Emblem are protected under federal statute Title 18, U.S. Code 707. This provides the 4-H Name and Emblem with the level of protection afforded to other Federal marks.

Emerald Star: The Emerald Star program is designed to help youth learn about project planning, organization and presentation. A youth member develops an action plan for some type of large event or lasting community service project. After facilitation, completion and presentation of their project, they are awarded with the Emerald Star ranking. Requirements and participation of the Emerald Star program vary by county.

Evaluation: Please see "Research and Evaluation”.

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP): EFNEP is a federally-funded program that offers nutrition education to limited-resource families and children. California EFNEP is administered by the University of California Cooperative Extension and operates in 24 of California's 58 counties. 

Expansion and Review Committee: Planning and implementing effective outreach programs is the responsibility of the County Council. Expansion and Review functions can be accomplished executively or delegated to other committees by the County Council. An Expansion and Review Committee may be organized in cooperation with 4-H YDP staff to ensure that youth of all races, colors, national origin, religion or gender are aware of 4-H YDP opportunities and share equal access to program participation. Please see section VI of:

Experiential Learning: Hands-on learning that engages youth to Do, Reflect and Apply their learning to real life situations.

Fashion Revue: An opportunity for 4-H clothing, consumer education, wearable arts and crafts project members to show and compete. The garment is a small part of the total evaluation which includes poise, posture and appropriate design for the individual, grooming and care related to the appearance of the member.

Field Days: An educational event which may include showmanship, judging and/or presentations.

Golden Clover Awards: The Golden Clover Awards recognize outstanding achievements of members, volunteers, program staff and groups within the 4-H YDP. Members can win in one of four categories: 4-H members, volunteers, staff or groups. Individuals and groups may only win once in a category every three years. Individuals and groups may win in only one category per year, although individuals are eligible to win as an individual and as part of a group in the same year. 4-H academic staff are not eligible for any Golden Clover Award.

Healthy Living: 4-H Healthy Living Initiative is intended to reposition health to its important and appropriate place within the 4-H YDP. 4-H Healthy Living encompasses a holistic approach including healthy eating habits, physical fitness, the capacity to recognize and direct emotions, and the ability to develop and maintain positive social interactions and relationships. California 4-H is focusing efforts on increasing healthy living opportunities and strengthening the presence of healthy living themes throughout existing programs, activities and curriculum.

Horse Field Days: Provide an opportunity for 4-H Horse project members to share experiences, learn new techniques and practice for the Horse Fair.

Inquiry-Based Learning: In inquiry-based learning, youth build understanding through active exploration and questioning. The key to inquiry is that youth seek answers to questions rather than being given answers, which requires those who lead activities to facilitate the learning process and not simply disseminate knowledge.

Judging, American System: Method of judging (evaluation) where all competing entries are placed in consecutive order, according to quality. There is only one first place winner, one second place winner, etc.

Judging, Danish System: A method of judging based on standards where all entries meeting the requirements for a given standard receive the same award. For example, there may be a blue ribbon group, a red ribbon group or a white ribbon group. There is no restriction on the number of each award given.

Judging Event: Educational event that develops the ability to make decisions based on comparative analysis. At judging events, participants learn to make observations, comparisons, decisions and to give reasons. This event may be part of any project. Judging begins at the project level and is an important addition to 4-H meetings and county events. Members may also participate in judging events at the state and national levels.

Junior Leader: The junior leadership experience is designed to provide members with the opportunity to learn about the qualities and competencies needed to be a leader. Junior leaders provide assistance while teen leaders assume more challenging leadership roles. Junior and Teen leaders complete a Junior and Teen Leadership Development Report (JTLDR).

Knowledge Bowl: Oral competition in which teams of 4-H members compete to answer questions relating to their project work. Knowledge bowls may be held in conjunction with Horse, Large Animal, Small Animal, Home Economics, Horticulture or Science Projects. Members may qualify to advance to State and National levels of competition.

Mission: “The University of California 4-H Youth Development Program engages youth in reaching their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development.”

Mission Mandate: The 4-H mission mandates clearly articulate program priorities, nationally, but also provide state and county administrators, faculty and staff the framework to organize and focus their program development, management and implementation strategies. The mission mandates are: 1) citizenship; 2) science; and 3) healthy living.

National 4-H Youth Conference Center: Located in Chevy Chase, MD, the center is the location of many national events and is the home to the National 4-H Council.

National 4-H Conference: The National 4-H Conference is the Secretary of Agriculture's premier youth development opportunity to engage youth in developing recommendations for the 4-H YDP. The National 4-H Conference is a working conference in which youth and adults develop recommendations to help guide 4-H YDPs nationally and in their communities. This event brings together youth, volunteer leaders and state and county extension staff members from across the United States, the U.S. territories and the Canadian provinces.

National 4-H Week: A nationwide observance honoring 4-H during the first full week of October. Clubs are encouraged to participate by having displays and special events during national 4-H week.

Parliamentary Procedure: Procedure used to enable a group to transact business with speed and efficiency. The standard set of rules protects the rights of each individual and preserves the spirit of harmony within the group.

Personal Development Report (PDR): 4-H members record their participation and activities in 4-H and outside of 4-H for the current 4-H program year on the Personal Development Report. Please see Star Ranks.

Positive Youth Development: Refers to a focus on the developmental characteristics which lead to positive behaviors and outcomes among young people. Positive youth development is a cornerstone of the 4-H YDP.

Primary Member: Members who are 5 years old or in kindergarten by December 31st of the program year and not older than 8 years old or in the 3rd grade by December 31st of the program year. Youth who turn 9 on or after January 1st must participate as a primary member until June 30th of the program year. Only the age criterion applies for home-schooled children. Participation as a primary member excludes the youth from participating in the large animal projects. Approved primary member animal projects are dogs, rabbits, rats, cats, poultry, cavies, mice, embryology, bees, entomology, marine science, pygmy, Nigerian and dwarf goats and therapeutic animal projects.

Program year: The 4-H year begins on July 1st and ends the following June 30th. Counties can adjust their individual calendar year to meet programmatic needs, as long as state and national deadlines are observed.

Project: A planned unit of work (minimum of 6 hours) using the "learn by doing" concept in a specific skill or interest area carried out by a member or a group with the supervision and guidance of a certified adult volunteer.

Project Leader: Adult volunteer that leads members enrolled in the project to support and guide their learning of knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Project Meeting: Meeting of 4-H members where, under the guidance of a project leader, learn specific knowledge or skills about a particular subject.

Record Book: The 4-H Record Book gives members an opportunity to reflect on their year, measure their achievements and growth, set goals, and develop plans to meet those goals. 4-H Record Books are a valuable and educational component of the 4-H YDP. Members 9 years old or in the 4th grade (as of December 31st of the Program Year) or older may enter their record books at the county level and compete for awards. 4-H Record Books are not required for membership or for participation in 4-H activities such as club events and activities, or for attending 4-H camps or conferences. Please see Personal Development Report (PDR), Annual Project Report (APR), and Junior and Teen Leadership Development Report (JTLDR).

Research and Evaluation: research and evaluation projects inform promising practice as well as contribute to the field of positive youth development and nonformal education. 4-H Youth Development Advisors engage in various research and evaluation projects. Research projects may include analysis of data to understand trends within 4-h and help guide the program to meet the needs of young people and the local community.

Resource Leaders: Certified Adult Volunteers who assist project leaders in subject matter areas. Resource leaders provide subject matter, training and guidance for project leaders.

State 4-H Office: The staff that provide leadership to the delivery of a statewide program at the county level in the given state. The staff in the State 4-H Office help to plan, direct and provide resources to guide the 4-H YDP within the state.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM):  Through participation, youth improve their science, technology, engineering, and math knowledge, skills and abilities. STEM is one of the main project areas that 4-H projects fall under. 4-H projects include animal science, biological sciences, earth sciences, plant sciences, environmental education, engineering, and technology.

4-H Presentation Day: A chance for the county gold medal winners to compete against the gold medal winners of other counties in presentations, public speaking, cultural arts and song leading "Share the Fun" activities. All 4-H members may participate in other activities such as judging contests, impromptu speaking contest, etc., which are conducted as part of State Field Day.

Share the Fun: Countywide activity/competition where clubs prepare and present skits. Gold awarded winners advance to an Area 4-H Presentation Day and potentially State 4-H Presentation Day.

Showmanship: The overall appearance and behavior of the participating 4-H member in such activities as livestock showmanship (4-H Fair and other events), Favorite Foods Day and Fashion Revue.

Star Ranks: A system providing benchmarks for accomplishments in the various parts of the PDR. Any 4-H member aged 9 and above may attain the first 4 stars (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum) by meeting the requirements and standards of the state as described in the PDR. Please see Personal Development Report (PDR).

State Ambassador: Youth who have excelled in the areas of leadership and community service and have been selected to serve California 4-H in roles that promote leadership through education and service.

State Leaders' Forum: Annual forum offers an opportunity for adult volunteers to attend training sessions on a variety of subjects. It is also an opportunity to meet with State Staff and for leaders to share ideas. 4-H project and club leaders are encouraged to attend.

State Leadership Conference: A conference for 4-H members, 8th grade graduates and above, from all counties in California. The conference holds workshops, informative presentations and social activities for youth members to network gain new skills and build relationships with other 4-H members in California.

Teen Leader: The teen leadership experience is designed to provide members with the opportunity to learn about the qualities and competencies needed to be a leader. Teen leaders assume various leadership roles. Teen leaders complete a Junior and Teen Leadership Development Report (JTLDR).

Technology Leadership Team (TLT): Act as an advisory body to the State 4-H Office in analyzing and recommending technology use in the 4-H YDP. The TLT conducts professional development workshop and seminars in technology for 4-H members and volunteers. The TLT also provides information technology (IT) support and enhances technology usage for statewide 4-H events by invitation of the respective planning committee.

UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Field Day: Held the first Saturday of March at the UC Davis campus. High school age 4-H teams and FFA teams compete in different judging areas. This is the State Qualifier for 4-H Poultry Judging, Livestock Judging and Dairy Cattle Judging.

Western Regional 4-H Leaders' Forum: An annual forum for all 4-H leaders of the 13 western states who take turns as sponsors.

Youth-Adult Partnerships: When youth and adults plan, learn and work together, with both groups sharing equally in the decision-making and implementation process.



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