FOCUS, WSU Cooperative Extension
Cooperative Extension Newsletter, Spring 2002

Helping the Federal Government Curb Rising Energy Cost

Extension Parternships:
Washington's Forest
Stewardship Program


Hispanic Radio

Virtual Extension

Diabetes Education

4-H Celebrates 100 Years

4-H: As Relevant as Ever

WSU Five Star 4-H Leadership Program

Snohomish 4-H'er Named to National Tech Team

This Lamb's not Sheepish
About Stardom


Certified Crop Advisers

Impact Web Site

Risk Management Education

Improving Food Safety

Universities Retool Farming

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Other Editions

  4-H Facts  

What is 4-H?

4-H is an organization as well as a non-formal educational program for young people. It is managed by the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program combines the cooperative efforts of youth, volunteer leaders, state land-grant universities, federal, state, local governments and the CSREES of the United States Department of Agriculture. The National 4-H Council, the national private sector partners of 4-H, works with 4-H at all levels to provide training and support, curriculum development, foster innovations in programs and facilitates links within the complex partnership.

What is the purpose of 4-H?

The purpose of 4-H is to help young people learn, develop life skills and form attitudes that enable them to become self-directing, productive, and contributing members of society.

Who is in charge?

Local 4-H programs are managed by Cooperative Extension educators in each county. In Washington, they are members of the Washington State University faculty. Funding is provided through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state university and county commissioners.

How many members does 4-H have?

Nationally, 4-H had more than 6.8 million young people and 610,000 volunteer adult and teen leaders in 2000. To put those numbers in perspective, that combined figure is larger than the populations of either London or Beijing.


How about in Washington State?

More than 93,000 youth are enrolled in 4-H program in Washington State. More than 20,000 are enrolled in traditional clubs. Another 73,000 participate in a variety of other 4-H activities, including school enrichment programs and day camps. More than 10,300 adult volunteers support 4-H.

Are most members farm kids?

Not really. As of 2000, only 10 percent lived on farms and 27 percent live in central cities with a population of 50,000 or more. About 32 percent live in towns of 10,000 or less. More than half the members (52 percent) are girls.

Were any famous people ever 4-H members?

Quite a few, including former Vice President Al Gore, singer Faith Hill, Garfield comic creator Jim Davis, Kevin Richardson of the Back Street Boys, Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker and Johnny Carson, longtime host of NBC's Tonight Show.

Where did the four-leaf clover come from?

The organization's copyrighted emblem dates back to the early part of the 20th Century. Originally, it was a three-leaf clover. The leaves originally represented "Head," "Heart," and "Hands." The current design was adopted in 1911.

How about the 4-H pledge?

The pledge - "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 the world." - was written by Otis Hall, state 4-H leader of Kansas. It was adopted at the first National 4-H camp in 1927. The wording remained unchanged until 1973, when "and the world" was added.


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