Broward County > Parks > Extension Education > 4-H > 4-H Frequently Asked Questions

How do I join Broward County 4-H?
Call us at the Broward County Extension Office at 954-357-5270 or contact a local 4-H club through our Club Directory to see if a club near you may fit your needs and interests. If not, five interested young people from three different families, with an adult or two to help them, may start a new club. 

How do I become a 4-H volunteer?
Volunteer leaders are the Heart of the 4-H program. Volunteers go through a youth protection application and screening process before they are enrolled as leaders. Additionally, volunteers receive training in skills they will need to become successful 4-H volunteers. All interest volunteers to call us at the Broward County Extension Office at 954-357-5270 to register.

What is 4-H?
The 4-H program is voluntary and informal. It is a nationwide, project-based, fun learning program for youth ages 5 to 18. Members ages 8 to 18 may exhibit their completed work to be judged for awards. Youth ages 5 to 7 can be Cloverbud members, which is a noncompetitive learning experience. Usually, Cloverbuds are in separate clubs where they sample a variety of 4-H projects.

Through 4-H, young people are able to develop leadership, citizenship, and life skills, which make them more successful and productive in the future. Broward County 4-H is a partnership between the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Young people like 4-H because it provides a chance to learn, develop skills, travel, experience new situations, make friends, and, most importantly, have lots of fun.  

Is 4-H just for farm kids?
NO! While 4-H clubs were first known as "corn clubs" for boys and "canning clubs" for girls, the program is now found in every one of  Florida's 67 counties and is geared toward all young people, regardless of where they live, what background they have, or what they find interesting. Today, in Florida, many 4-H members are from urban areas, and they participate in projects to learn many different life skills.

The 4-H program reaches boys and girls alike through 4-H clubs, special interest groups, and short-term projects, school-age child care, individual and family learning and mentoring, camping, and school enrichment. 4-H offers membership without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.

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Does the "H" in 4-H stand for something?
The "H" in 4-H actually stands for four different words, each beginning with that letter: Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. These words are also part of the 4-H pledge and emblem.

At 4-H club meetings and other 4-H events, members recite the Pledge of Allegiance and this 4-H 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 my world." 

4-H LogoThe 4-H emblem is a green four-leaf clover with a white "H" on each leaflet, symbolizing the four Hs. Green and white are the 4-H colors. The 4-H emblem was protected by an Act of Congress in 1924.

What are the 4-H motto and slogan?
4-H Motto: "To Make the Best Better"
4-H Slogan: "Learn by Doing."

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Where does 4-H get its funding, and what does it cost to be a member?
The University of Florida IFAS Extension receives funding for 4-H from the USDA, the state of Florida, and the Broward County Board of County Commissioners. The 4-H Foundation in Broward County, as well as a variety of private donors, also fund the program.

4-H has no membership registration fee or required uniform. There may be minimal costs for project manuals or some 4-H activities or events. If a club wants money for activities, it usually charges dues or has fundraising events.

What is a 4-H club?
A club, or group of 4-H members, is one of the most important parts of the 4-H program.

A club or group of five or more 4-H members, guided by one or more adult volunteer leaders. The size of the club depends on the age of the members, the places they have to meet, and the leadership available. The ideal club is big enough to have fun together but small enough for everyone to feel a part of the group.

Depending on what the group wants to do, most clubs meet once or twice per month all year long. The 4-H year runs Sept. 1 to Aug. 31. Sometimes, members may have to be enrolled in a project by a certain time to be eligible for some activities, such as the 4-H fair.

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Where and when do 4-H clubs meet?
That depends on the group. Many community clubs meet for an hour or two after school, in the evening, or on Saturday. School clubs may meet for an hour or two after the school day. The most important thing is to have a regular time to get together. A 4-H club may be organized on  a community or neighborhood basis and meet at local facilities or members' homes. Clubs can also be organized within a school, using the school's facilities, time, and staff. Any place large enough and convenient for the club members is a good choice. Broward County Extension even hosts some club meetings!

What do 4-H clubs do at meetings?
4-H clubs usually participate in four kinds of activities during a meeting: business, special interest programs, project work, and recreation or social activities. Clubs may conduct business, work on their projects for a little while, and then play a game or two. Sometimes the whole meeting is devoted to one topic.

What kinds of projects do 4-H members work on?
4-H projects are challenging but practical, planned courses of study with learning experiences centered on a specific subject. Members usually work on a project (or subject area) for a year. Hands-on, learning-by-doing involvement is the most important aspect of a project.

Making, growing, caring, observing, and participating are all involved in 4-H projects. Some projects, like breads or visual arts, are more fun when completed in a group. Others, like making a dress or growing a garden, will be done individually. Some clubs are have several project leaders and do specific project work at club meetings. Some rely on parents and others to help members individually.

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What does a 4-H project cost?
Project costs vary. Members are responsible for the cost of supplies for projects. Some projects might use supplies from around the house and cost only a few dollars, while others might cost significantly more money. The cost of the project should be realistic for all club members.

Are 4-H members expected to do their own project work?
Yes, but they may receive help. Members are expected to select at least one project and complete one or more learning experiences related to the project during the year. 4-H is a learn-by-doing program. Leaders, junior leaders, and parents may tell or show members how to do the project, but members are expected to learn to do things themselves.

What is an exhibit?
An exhibit is an object or display designed to show something that the members have accomplished. Ideally, it motivates members to learn and to have fun while completing a 4-H project. However, an exhibit is not a measure of all the learning that takes place in a project.

It is important to remember that self-recognition and self-satisfaction for having completed a project are important rewards. A ribbon is only one measure of success.

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What opportunities are there for 4-H volunteers?
Volunteers are very important to us. In fact, for Broward County 4-H, volunteers are the Heart of our program! The strength of the 4-H program is that youth and adults work together on projects that interest them. Adult and teenage volunteers are needed in a variety of roles:

General Organizational Leaders guide the overall organization of the club, help it function smoothly, and maintain communication between the member families, the club, and the Extension office. Community club leaders help the members run a monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly business meeting and coordinate project and activity leaders for club educational events. General Organizational Leaders attend monthly meetings at the 4-H office and receive mailings about upcoming county, state, and national events. These leaders are always in high demand!

Project Leaders work with members enrolled in a specific project or project area, assisting them to plan and carry out experiences that will help them reach their project learning goals. Project leaders meet with a 4-H member or a group of 4-H members to lead hands-on, educational workshops or learning experiences in the field; for example, teaching about cooking by baking bread or teaching about aerospace by making a rocket. Any adult can be recruited to provide learning events for members, clubs, or the county. The same volunteer may serve as both a Project Leader and as an Organizational Leader, if he or she has the time and interest.

Activity Leaders work with members to plan and carry out specific activities for the club as a whole. Activity leaders will help with an activity or learning event, usually at the club level. They may provide transportation or offer a place for an event to occur.

Resource Leaders help on the county level with large events and countywide needs. These volunteers can serve on the Broward County 4-H Foundation to raise funds, the Broward County 4-H Advisory Committee to help with outreach, or on a judging panel to judge awards interviews, Broward County Fair exhibits, talent shows, fashion revues, and/or public speaking contests.

Teens may volunteer to help with event registration or other projects on a county level. Most teens are encouraged to join a 4-H community club as a member to earn their community service hours.

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How many leaders should a 4-H club have?
That depends on the size of the club and the ages of the members. At least two leaders are recommended. The average club has three to five leaders.

Where would one learn how to be a 4-H leader?
The Broward County Extension Education office is the first point of contact, where staff is available to support volunteers. After completing the screening process, volunteers are enrolled and placed on the 4-H leaders' mailing list. Orientation is provided to new, qualified volunteers (so no previous experience is necessary). Leaders are also invited to special training meetings and provided with the materials needed to conduct 4-H club meetings. An experienced leader may also assist a new volunteer through our Volunteer Mentor Program. To volunteer, contact Broward County Extension at 954-357-5270.

What's expected of 4-H parents?
Children need parental encouragement to get them started in 4-H and to keep them involved in the program in later years. Parents can help by sharing, preparing, being there, and caring.

Sharing: Provide encouragement and take interest in 4-H projects and activities. Listen, look, and offer suggestions, but avoid the temptation to take over and do things. Children learn by their mistakes, as well as successes.

Preparing: Help children understand the value of doing projects, having duties in the club, and following through on responsibilities as expected by others.

Being there: Children gain more from 4-H by attending meetings regularly and getting involved in 4-H activities. Parents are welcome at meetings and are encouraged to stay and observe. They are also encouraged to lend a hand whenever possible but also to remember that 4-H clubs are for kids.

Caring: Arrange to participate whenever possible. Parents' presence shows the child that what he or she is doing is very important.

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