4-H Afterschool Program
4-H is one of the largest youth development
programs in the world, with almost 7 million
members. It operates through the Cooperative
Extension System (CES), a partnership of
county, state, and federal governments, the
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.
In the early 1980s, 4-H brought these vast
resources to after-school programs.
Afterschool Program is a special effort
within the 4-H Youth Development Program
to raise the public awareness of the significant
contributions 4-H has made in the after-school
field. 4- H Afterschool increases the extension
staff work in after-school programs and
strengthens collaborations with other youth-serving
organizations. The program also increases
the quality and availability of after-school
programs in America's communities. With
a 4-H presence in or near all counties
in the United States, every staff member
and youth in after-school programs can
benefit from the “learn by doing,” the
hands-on learning approach used by 4-H.
The programs and resources available through
4-H Afterschool help youth achieve social,
emotional, physical, and academic success
while developing healthy lifestyles and behaviors.
And everything available from 4-H Afterschool
is easily accessible for professionals, organizations,
parents, and anyone interested in this youth
Extension staff in local communities and
state offices, as well as collaborating organizations
and agencies, can draw on the rich resources
developed specifically through 4-H Afterschool
funding. Thousands of CES-developed resources
are available throughout the system. Extension
staff can provide resources and expertise
to after-school programs in areas such as:
- “Learn by doing” curricula
- Conducting local needs assessments.
- Assisting with program evaluation.
- Bringing resources to communities.
- Building community collaborations.
- Working with parents.
- Starting 4-H clubs in after-school programs.
In some states, extension staffs have worked
specifically with school systems to align
after-school learning outcomes with state
educational standards. They develop educational
materials to specifically work with school
superintendents and principals. A developmental
and care dimension was also added as an educational
One of extension's strengths is staff development
and training. Local after-school staff can
receive training from extension professionals
in a wide range of areas that include topics
such as youth development, hands-on learning
techniques to use with youth, life skills
development, discipline, health, nutrition,
program management, and recruiting and training
volunteers. By working with local 4-H professionals,
after-school staff can design training programs
that meet their individual and program needs.
Youth development workers across the country
can tap into this human and technological
system of expertise, curricula, and training
to create or improve after-school programs
for youth in their communities. 4-H Afterschool
works toward a vision that all children and
youth are in safe, healthy, and enriching
environments when away from their parents.
4-H program staff are vitally interested
in joining with others who share this vision.
4-H Afterschool is a collaborative effort
of the CES—state land-grant universities,
state and county governments, NIFA, and
the National 4-H Council.
Back to Child Care & After-School Programs Home Page