More Iowa Youth Are Joining 4-H Clubs and Programs

September 18, 2018, 10:24 am | Andrea Nelson

teens working on 4-H project.AMES, Iowa – Iowa 4-H program club memberships increased during the 2017-2018 program year to over 23,000 young people in grades 4-12. This means more Iowa youth worked in partnership with caring adults through a 4-H club experience.

An additional 7,400 youth in grades K-3 had fun learning and exploring a wide variety of topics as members of the Iowa 4-H Clover Kids program. This is a 9 percent increase over the previous year.

Iowa 4-H is part of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Nationally, 4-H is the largest youth organization with more than 6 million young people and caring adult volunteers. In Iowa and across the nation youth have fun learning together while making new friends, developing important life skills and practicing leadership.

Iowa has 1,490 active 4-H clubs that young people can join, with at least one 4-H club in most communities. Community clubs typically meet once per month and focus on a variety of project areas, such as mechanics, animal science or food and nutrition. Many counties also offer in-school or afterschool clubs. By joining special interest clubs such as Safety and Education in Shooting Sports clubs and Robotics clubs, young people have an opportunity to meet others who share similar hobbies.

young people working on 4-H project.“The Iowa 4-H Youth Development program is a community. Our state and county 4-H youth professionals partner with nearly 7,000 gifted and talented adult volunteers who serve as club leaders, event volunteers and project area leaders year-round,” said Andrea Nelson, ISU Extension and Outreach interim state 4-H leader. “Their dedication enables these Iowa youth to learn and discover things about their world and about themselves that will have a lasting impression.”

Iowa 4-H members who participated in this year’s recognition opportunities agreed. Annie Lord from Woodbury County said, “4-H has helped me find my interest and talents in life through a hands-on approach to learning. My leaders have allowed me to make and solve my own mistakes and learn from them, rather than simply telling me what to do or not do. I’ve truly learned the importance and benefit of making my best better.”

The Iowa 4-H Youth Development program provides young people with leadership roles, giving them an opportunity to partner with staff and volunteers in the planning and implementation of their projects and programs. These engaging, hands-on educational activities and experiences encourage young people to explore the world around them, and get excited about potential future career opportunities.

“In 4-H I have been given many opportunities to practice leadership, citizenship and communication skills. Being involved in 4-H has allowed me to explore my interest areas,” said Sloan Volkman of Poweshiek County. “It has introduced me to new technologies that I will use in the future. These 4-H experiences have influenced my decision to double-major in industrial technology and agricultural systems technology.”

Iowa 4-H gives young people the opportunity to pursue their own interests, from photography to robotics, clothing design to veterinary science, or any subject that inspires them to learn and do. For more information on becoming a member of the Iowa 4-H Youth Development program, contact an ISU Extension and Outreach county office or visit the Iowa 4-H website at


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