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


I. Introduction and Purpose

  1. This handbook is developed for University of California (UC), Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) and its 4-H Youth Development Program (4-H YDP) staff. Its purpose is to set forth operating policies and procedures for the UC 4-H YDP. The 4-H YDP operates within the guidelines, policies and procedures of UCANR, which encompasses both the Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension (CE and UCCE).

  2. As noted in this handbook, some policies and procedures of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA/NIFA) also apply. To administer the 4-H YDP, 4-H YDP staff should use this handbook, along with the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Administrative Handbook

  3. These policies are established to insure the educational and administrative integrity of all UCCE 4-H YDP activities, and are administered and interpreted by 4-H YDP staff in consultation with the county director, 4-H Policy Analyst, Statewide 4-H Director and ANR administration.

II. Handbook Definitions

As used throughout this handbook, the following terms will be understood as follows:


University of California.


Agriculture and Natural Resources, a statewide network of UC researchers and educators dedicated to the creation, development and application of knowledge in agricultural, natural and human resources. ANR delivers the 4-H YDP through the Cooperative Extension system.


University of California Cooperative Extension.


The local-level UCCE office, which is administered by the UCCE county director.

“County Director”

The administrator of the UCCE organization at the local level. This includes the UCCE County Director and Multi-County Partnership Director. This also includes by inference any UCCE staff member to whom the UCCE county director has delegated responsibility and/or authority.

“ 4-H YDP staff”

Campus based specialists, advisors, program representatives and staff with responsibilities associated with the 4-H YDP. All references to the county 4-H YDP staff will include by inference the county director, who has discretion to retain any of the responsibilities of the county 4-H YDP staff, based on the county director’s best judgment.

“Statewide 4-H Director

The Statewide 4-H Director is the administrator and provides programmatic leadership for the 4-H YDP throughout California. The Director is responsible for the development, interpretation and implementation of UC policies related to the 4-H YDP. All references to the State 4-H YDP Director will include by inference all State 4-H Office staff members to whom responsibility and/or authority has been delegated. 

“4-H Adult Volunteer”

A qualified individual who has been appointed as a 4-H adult volunteer by the county director to assist UCCE in the execution of the 4-H YDP.

“4-H Member”

The term used to describe a 4-H youth between the ages of 5 and 19 years of age.

“4-H Unit”

The term used throughout this handbook to denote any of the 4-H delivery methods (e.g., clubs, special interest programs and overnight camping programs).

“4-H Volunteer Management Organization”

Volunteer Management Organization (VMO) is an umbrella term to describe the various 4-H program management boards and 4-H councils at the county, sectional and state levels. VMO's are formed to provide an administrative and management framework in support of the many educational activities being conducted simultaneously in different clubs or groups throughout the county.

III. Application

  1. The policies and procedures in all sections of this handbook apply to program activities under the direct purview of the Vice President—Agriculture and Natural Resources, who directs the Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension. These policies cover campus, county programs and statewide activities and events.

  2. This handbook applies to all administrators, specialists, advisors, program representatives, other program support staff, advisory groups, volunteers and youth associated with the 4-H YDP.

  3. The policies given in this handbook are controlling on all 4-H YDP operations and delivery methods.

  4. The corporation known as the Board of Regents constitutes the highest administrative authority of the University of California. The Regents have virtually exclusive rule-making or policy-making power in regard to the University and are fully empowered with respect to the organization and government of the University. The University policies and procedures within this handbook are the controlling statutes regarding the University’s jurisdiction over all aspects of the 4-H YDP.

IV. Contents

  1. The contents of this handbook will be used to set forth policies and procedures that are specific to the program as a whole or where University policy requires that implementing procedures be issued by ANR through these 4-H YDP policies and procedures.

  2. Information in this handbook is applicable to all aspects of the 4-H YDP until superseded by revisions approved and distributed by the YFC Director.

V. Policy Interpretation Procedure

  1. The 4-H YDP is a non-formal education program planned and conducted at the county level in compliance with the policies, guidelines and standards for 4-H YDP activities and events that are outlined in this handbook.

  2. The policies in this handbook are designed to ensure that ethical decision making based on the agreed upon UC ethical values of integrity, excellence, accountability and respect are utilized when enforcing the policies, procedures and guidelines in the CA 4-H YDP.

  3. VMOs and 4-H units at the county level may not establish policies, however practices may be added at the county level. Those practices must not contradict or be less restrictive than the state polices, guidelines and standards established in this handbook and must be approved by county director.   

  4. Policy changes must be publicized widely throughout the county.

VI. Policy Development and Review Process

  1. When a California 4-H YDP policy issue is presented to the State 4-H Office, it is referred to the Policy Advisory Committee. The committee includes UCCE 4-H YDP staff, State 4-H Office staff, and UC administration, 4-H adult volunteers, 4-H youth members and ex-officio. See 4-H Policy Development and Revision Process for detailed process.

  2. Revisions to this handbook are established after careful review and analysis by the statewide 4-H YDP Policy Advisory Committee and stakeholders, including staff, volunteers and clientele. The Statewide 4-H Director renders decisions on policy and procedure modifications in consultation with ANR administration.

  3. Handbook sections will be reviewed and revised on a regular basis with approved revisions posted on the California 4-H Youth Development Program website. For the most current policy statement, refer to the handbook posted on the Website.

  4. New and revised policies will be distributed via:
    • Emailed to 4-H staff listserv
    • 4-H Monthly Update Staff Meetings
    • 4-H Updates E-News

State 4-H Office | Sign-Up for Updates
The 4-H name and emblem service marks are protected under 18 U.S.C. 707.
Webmaster Email: