About Michigan 4-H Youth Development

First, let’s talk about what 4-H isn’t.

  • It’s not just for kids who live on farms—although lots of kids who live on farms are in 4-H.
  • It’s not just about raising and selling animals—although some kids in 4-H do exactly that.
  • It’s not just about doing projects that you show at a fair—although lots of kids in 4-H do that too.

So what is 4-H about?

  • Having fun and not being BORED!
  • Making some great friends
  • Doing things you’ve always been interested in
  • Doing things you never knew you were interested in
  • Being a scientist
  • Being an entrepreneur
  • Discovering you can be a leader—and you’re good at it
  • Learning you can make a difference in your community, or even your state
  • Building your self-confidence

There’s so much to do in 4-H, it’s too big to fit on this page!

For parents

4-H is the largest youth development organization in Michigan, with more than 200,000 youth between the ages of 5 and 19 participating. Because Michigan 4-H is part of Michigan State University Extension, the activities your kids participate in are all backed by and based on child development research. We use experiential (i.e. hands-on) learning and time spent intentionally thinking about what’s been learned to make it a meaningful experience, with skills and ideas learned that last a lifetime.

It’s a fact: kids who participate in 4-H get better grades, are more likely to go to college, are less likely to use drugs, cigarettes or alcohol, and are more likely to give back to their communities. 

They may be learning to be a photographer, building their own robot, growing a garden, writing and performing a song, or raising an animal, but what they are really doing is learning to be a leader, building their self-confidence, growing their awareness of good citizenship, writing their own future and raising their expectations—of themselves.

To learn more about the impact 4-H Youth Development has on the lives of youth, refer to “Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development Fast Facts.”

For (potential) volunteers

Plain and simple, 4-H needs you. Our organization depends on volunteers to deliver its programming to youth. There are more than 20,000 4-H volunteers in Michigan and we could not exist without them. You don’t have to know anything special to be a volunteer. You just have to want to make a difference in the lives of kids and families. We’ll train you. We’ll support you. We’ll respect you. We’ll thank you.


For more information on how to get involved as a youth or volunteer, contact your county MSU Extension office or:

4-H Youth Development
E-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 517-432-7575

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4-H Youth Development | Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture | 446 W. Circle Drive Room 160 | East Lansing, MI, 48824 | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)