4-H Youth Development
Program of the Cooperative Extension System
NIFA is the National 4-H Headquarters
one of the largest youth development programs
in the world with almost 7 million members.
4-H operates through the Cooperative Extension
System—a partnership of county, state,
and federal governments and land-grant universities—and
private sector partners. Since 1902, 4-H
has empowered youth to reach their full potential
by working and learning in partnership with
caring adults. And in the early 1980s 4-H
has brought these vast resources and youth
development principles to after-school programs.
The 4-H Youth Development Program brings
many academically trained program and research
faculty and resources in youth development
to the after-school arena. Also, 4-H supports
the theory that all after-school programs
should be built on sound youth development
principles and practices.
In many states and counties, 4-H extension
staff play a significant role in improving
knowledge, skills, and abilities of after-school
staff; improving program quality; increasing
knowledge and skills of parents; and increasing
community support for after-school programs.
4-H works in three broad areas to improve
the quality and quantity of after-school
- Administer after-school programs.
- Provide technical assistance to programs
administered by other agencies in areas
such as program planning, conducting community
needs assessments, providing experientially
based curricula, program evaluations, resource
development, program administration, working
with families, and public policy education.
- Provide training and professional development
experiences for providers, staff, and youth
development professionals to secure credentials,
academic degrees, and continuing education
- Establish 4-H clubs in after-school programs
administered by other organizations, and
make 4-H community, county, state, and
national educational programs available
to youth participating in 4-H after-school
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