Join 4-H

Embark on an exhilarating journey with 4-H, a global program captivating the hearts of nearly 6 million young people! Youth can experience 4-H through school and community clubs, in-school and after-school programs, and 4-H camps. 4-H programming focuses on the following program project areas: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Communication and the Arts, Healthy Living, Leadership and Civic Engagement, and STEM. 4-H welcomes youth from various backgrounds and passions in grades K-12 - Clover Kids (grades K-3) and 4-H Clubs (grades 4-12).

Enrolling in your county's 4-H program may involve an enrollment fee. Please contact your local County Extension Office to find out more. Financial assistance for individual enrollment fees is available through the Iowa 4-H Foundation.

Ready to start your 4-H adventure? Fill out our interest form below or contact your local County Extension Office to learn more about the endless 4-H opportunities.

Interest Form


4H 2.0 Online

Our typical enrollment period is from September 1 thru May 1.   To be eligible to participate in county fair you must be enrolled by May1.   

4-H is a program offered for youth in 4th through 12th grades.  There is a separate “Clover Kids” program for children in kindergarten through 3rd grades.  The process of getting enrolled is an easy one, just follow the steps below.


You may choose a club based on location or special interest.  View a listing of clubs available and contacts:

Join 4-H - Leader List 

  If you need assistance in contacting a leader, please contact the Extension Office.  We are happy to assist you in contacting a club leader.  It is important that you make contact with the club leaders, as they can give you specific information about the club such as meeting times, special club rules and how many club members there are.


The 4-H 2.0 Online database is the method for Online Registration.  The Database tells the club leader and the Extension Office who you are, where you live and what your project interests are.  If none of your family members are currently in 4-H, you may contact the County Youth Coordinator to get your family set up in the online database.  From there you can complete the 4-H Registration.  There is also an annual program fee of $40 to enroll in 4-H.  Currently, we don’t have the ability to accept payment online so you will pay your fee through your 4-H club.  This fee helps to support the county and state 4-H programs.  Howard county does offer support for the fee, the amount of county support is determined each fall and many times ranges from $5 to 10 of the $40.  If you feel the fee would constitute and undue financial burden, financial aid is available from the Iowa 4-H Foundation by visiting their website at


You should spend some time familiarizing yourself with the 4-H program.  Look for a project in y our interest areas by checking out the 4H Project Listings.  Orient yourself to 4-H with our New Member Guide, or consider attending our New Member Series held each spring.  Check our Calendar for more information about upcoming events and opportunities.

 If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Extension Office.


4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults.


  • Youth as powerful members of society
  • Youth and adults as caring partners
  • Learning as a lifelong commitment
  • Diversity and social conscience
  • Doing our best and making it better

4-H youth programs provide opportunities for youth to develop skills they can use now and throughout their life.  Iowa 4-H builds upon a century of experience as it fosters positive youth development that is based on the needs and strengths of youth, their families and communities.

Iowa 4-H follows the principles of experiential learning, and draws on the knowledge base of Iowa State University and other institutions of higher education in cooperation with the United State Department of Agriculture.  The Iowa 4-H Program’s vision and mission statements clearly view youth as partners working with staff and volunteers, and as full participants in planning and working for individual and community change.

Youth development research emphasizes the importance of meeting the four basic human needs of belonging, generosity, independence, and mastery.  Studies indicate that youth whose needs are met in positive ways are likely to develop into active citizens and contributing members of their families and communities.  The Iowa 4-H program ensures that every youth will have the opportunity to participate in 4-H experiences that strengthen a young person’s sense of belonging, generosity, independence and mastery.

BELONGING –Youth need to know they are cared about by others and feel a sense of connection to others in group settings.  4-H gives youth the opportunity to feel physically and emotionally safe while actively participating in a group.

GENEROSITY– Youth need to feel their lives have meaning and purpose.  By exploring 4-H community service and citizenship activities, youth can connect to communities and learn to give back to others.

INDEPENDENCE– Youth need to know they are able to influence people and events through decision-making and action.  By exercising independence through 4-H leadership opportunities, youth mature in self-discipline and responsibility and learn to better understand themselves.

MASTERY– Youth need to feel and believe they are capable and experience success at solving problems and meeting challenges to develop their self-confidence.  Through the exploration of ideas and activities related to their interests, youth learn skills and participate in experiences that help them make positive life choices for their future.

Iowa 4-H youth programs address the needs of young people by focusing on their strengths and capacities and the essential elements of positive youth development programming.  The essential elements of a 4-H experience are the “best practices” that help staff and volunteers address the four basic developmental needs of youth.  The 4-H program’s vision, mission, and values emphasize the importance of youth and adults working as partners to improve the group experience as well.  A positive youth-adult partnership ensures that the essential elements are being practiced in 4-H programming.