4-H isn't something you do alone. Once you sign up as a 4-H member, you'll choose a local 4-H club to join. All the magic happens in a local 4-H Club. It's the glue that holds the 4-H family together. There are more than 1,600 clubs all across Illinois, so there is one close to where you live.
What is a 4-H Club?
A club is a group of five or more 4-H members. Each club has adult volunteer leaders who help members in their 4-H journey. Members meet together as a club at least six times during the year. During club meetings, 4-H members learn new skills, such as speaking in public, working together as a team, and making decisions. Members help out in their communities. Members lead activities while they practice the skills they'll need in school and careers.
What are some of the things you'll do in a Club?
That's really up to you, the members! Members vote on the things they do as a 4-H club. You may choose to plant flowers at a local park, or visit your local police headquarters. You may choose to have a robotics demonstration or tour an historic museum. You may choose to build rockets and launch them. Many clubs also go on social outings with the friends in their clubs. There's no way to list all the things you can do in your 4-H club because there's no limit to your imagination.
That’s what’s so nice about 4-H… you decide the way you want to do 4-H.
You'll learn how business meetings run as you build leadership skills. Often clubs members elect officers who serve in special leadership roles to guide their club and help members make decisions. Members work on their projects independently outside of club meeting time. Because they work on projects individually, you can choose from nearly 50 project categories. These clubs are open to any youth who was at least 8 years old but not yet 19 on September 1.
Special Interest Clubs
The focus of the club meetings is on one specific project which members are all interested in, and most of the meeting is spent developing new skills that help you become very good in that one project area. In special interest clubs, you work on your project as a group as you improve your team-building and problem-solving skills. There are lots of opportunities for teens to mentor younger youth and share what they know. Some popular special interest clubs study robotics, cooking, shooting sports, and dozens of other topics. These clubs are open to any youth who was at least 8 years old but not yet 19 on September 1.
Membership is reserved for kids who were 5 to 7 years of age on September 1. The focus of Cloverbud meetings is to introduce kids to all that 4-H has to offer. Cloverbuds work together on projects which are perfect for their young age. Because of their age, there are some elements of the 4-H program which aren't appropriate for Cloverbud members.
Where do clubs meet?
4-H clubs meet in lots of places, such as members’ homes, schools, community centers, businesses, military bases, libraries, and other areas in the community where you live. Some people think that 4-H is just for kids who live on farms. That’s just not true! Although 4-H was first concentrated in rural farm areas, membership has changed as families have changed. Illinois 4-H had the biggest membership growth in urban and suburban areas last year, and we keep getting stronger and stronger. Although some 4-H members own livestock animals, lots of members choose other projects such as aerospace, visual arts, gardening, photography, or robotics.
Are you ready to join a 4-H club?
Click the Join 4-H button on this page and your 4-H Adventure will begin.
Are you already a member of a 4-H club?
There are many resources to help you bring your club to a new level of excitement, education, and exploration. Head here to explore resources by topic.
We welcome all young people.
Any youth, regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, or disability may enroll as a 4-H member. A youth who enrolls in a 4-H club must attend at least one meeting, tour, workshop or other activity of that club to be called a 4-H member. And, 4-H members must be enrolled in at least one project. A young person can be a member of multiple 4-H clubs within a county in Illinois. Youth are expected to join the 4-H program in the county where they live.