NIFA and 4-H have established formal partnerships with the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Military Community and Family Policy, Army Child, Youth and School Services, Air Force Airman and Family Services and Navy Family Readiness to support positive youth development education for youth whose parents are serving in the military.
There are 1.9 million children with a parent serving in the military. 220,000 of these children have a parent currently deployed. There are 153,669 single parents serving in the military. The demands of extended conflict add to the challenges faced by military families. Research suggests that children of deployed parents experience more stress than their peers. While they are often described as a resilient group, the cumulative effects of multiple moves and significant parental absences can erode this resilience. By providing research-based programming and a safe and nurturing environment for military kids, 4-H enhances resilience.
In addition to wise use of public resources, these collaborations promote mission readiness for the men and women serving in U.S. military operations. With the support of 4-H extension professionals, military staff provide strong educational programs for children so that military men and women can pursue their critical, high-risk assignments knowing that their children are in safe and nurturing environments. 4-H clubs provide quality educational experiences using research-based curricula in photography, computer technology, arts, and citizenship for military youth ages 5-19.
The goal is for military youth to join a 4-H club and to be able to continue their 4-H work wherever they move when their parents are deployed. Extension provides resources and programs in a wide variety of subject areas that can benefit military staff as they serve their youth and families. Each state 4-H leader has named a state 4-H military liaison to coordinate extension and military partnerships in the state and serve as a liaison for local installations, counties, and NIFA. The liaisons also provide guidance and assistance in establishing 4-H clubs and programs on military installations.
These military youth partnerships bring the resources of the Land-Grant University - youth development professionals, research based curricula, and high quality training and technical assistance--to the youth programs of the military.
4-H Military Partnerships
NIFA has developed partnerships with the Army, Navy, and Air Force to develop and support military children, youth and family programs on military installations around the world, as well as the families of National Guard and Reserves living in communities far removed from military installations. In addition to making wise use of public resources, these collaborations promote mission readiness for military personnel. With the support of 4-H extension professionals, military staff members provide strong educational programs for children so that service members can pursue their critical, high-risk assignments knowing that their children are in safe and nurturing environments.
Military 4-H Clubs provide quality educational experiences using research-based curricula in a number of areas, including photography, computer technology, arts, nutrition, fitness and citizenship for military youth ages 5 to 19. The goal is for military youth to join a 4-H club and to be able to continue their 4-H work wherever they move when their parents are deployed.
In each state, a 4-H Military Liaison coordinates the establishment and management of Military 4-H Clubs on installations and in communities where military children and youth reside. In addition, the liaison conducts training for military staff in areas such as positive youth development, fitness and nutrition, and financial management. These opportunities provide military children and youth with a continuity of programs wherever their military assignments may take them.
4-H and extension also play a key role in providing technical expertise in the fields of youth development and technology. The 4-H Military Partnership Program has 20+ LGU Faculty and Staff on assignment to the respective military services headquarters. These individuals serve as subject matter experts to the senior leadership of military children, youth and teen programs, managing large program such as OMK and developing curriculum and trainings for military children, youth and staff. Continuing their employment with their home LGU, these faculty and staff develop direct connections between the LGU and the military services. Lead institutions include Kansas State University, Auburn University, University of Georgia, Washington State University, University of Maryland, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
DoD Military Youth Partnership
The aim of this mission-focused project is to cultivate collaborations with educational institutions, non-governmental and community-based organizations, and other groups and organizations with expertise in early childhood education, youth development or related fields to support the family support programs, workforce development, and child care and youth development expansion needs of the Department of Defense (
Through this partnership between NIFA and Military Community & Family Policy (MC&FP) at DoD, programs and training support military youth, families, and communities as well as non-military audiences. NIFA engages with land-grant university and Cooperative Extension faculty and staff to:
- Increase and strengthen community capacity in support of military families
- Increase professional development and workforce development opportunities
- Expand and strengthen family, child care, & youth development programs