4-H is a youth organization administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The name represents four personal development areas of focus for the organization: head, heart, hands, and health. The mission of 4-H is "engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development."
The program has 540,000 volunteers, 3,500 professionals, and more than 60 million alumni. 4-H'ers engage in hands-on learning activities in the areas of science, citizenship and healthy living. The program welcomes youth from grade school through high school.
The 4-H program is administered through the United States' 109 land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System.
The 4-H program has expanded from the United States other countries. Today, 4-H reaches 7 million young people and is found in more than 70 countries. In 2012, Global 4-H received a $1.5 million grant from the Gates Foundation to help youth in sub-Saharan Africa.
The 4-H Pledge
I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,for my club, my community, my country, and my world.
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
- The California 4-H Youth Development Program - Directions for the Decade Ahead (Winter 2003). Retrieved on September 2, 2012.
- Youth Development Organization. Retrieved on September 2, 2012.
- Global Network. Retrieved on September 2, 2012.
- Global 4-H Network Receives $1.5 Million Grant (January 12, 2012). Retrieved on September 2, 2012.