Why Illinois 4-H?

In 4-H, you get to be you! We welcome everyone from all backgrounds, with all interests, wherever you live. We'll help you learn more about the things you like to do. We'll provide opportunities for you to meet mentors and kids who share your interests. Travel to exciting new places. Check out careers. Explore the world around you while you build up the community where you live. All that and more awaits you in Illinois 4-H.

What We Know About 4-H Kids

For 10 years, Tufts University studied the factors which impact youth success. They discovered that kids involved in 4-H programs are:


more likely to make contributions to their communities


more likely to be civically active


more likely to participate in science programs during out-of-school time


more likely to make healthier choices

The Replication and Reconnection Study confirms the original, powerful outcomes: 4-H helps youth thrive, now and into adulthood. This new data found:

Compared to their peers, 4-H participants are:
• 4X more likely to make a positive contribution to their communities
• 2X more likely to participate in out-of-school-time science programs
• 2X more likely to make healthier choices
• 2X more likely to report feeling competent
• 2X more likely to feel positive about their wellbeing

4-H alumni are:
• 3X more likely to participate in community service
• 2X more likely to report living life with intentionality and purpose
• 2X more likely to have the goal of being a leader

1 in 14

kids in Illinois involved in 4-H


4-H experiences

Why 4-H Works

4-H produces youth leaders because it follows the principles of positive youth development in all the program we offer. What are those principles?

  • 4-H Clubs create a safe sense of BELONGING for members. Youth know they are part of a club where they are physically and emotionally safe, where adults care about their wellbeing, and where other kids have their back and support their efforts.
  • 4-H Clubs allow members to develop their INDEPENDENCE and helps them see their future, a future where they determine the path and are actively making choices to see it become real.
  • 4-H Clubs inspire members to help others by demonstrating GENEROSITY and providing opportunity to work as a team to improve their community.
  • 4-H Clubs provide the tools for youth to MASTER SKILLS needed for successful personal and career growth.