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4-H civic engagement programs empower young people to be well-informed citizens who are actively engaged in their communities and the world. Youth learn about civic affairs, build decision-making skills and develop a sense of understanding and confidence in relating and connecting to other people. These life skills help grow 4-H youth into true leaders. There are project options for members in grade 3 -12. Our citizenship programs engage youth in programs, organizations, and communities where they share a voice, influence, and decision-making authority. 4-H citizenship programs equip young people with confidence and leadership skills to be leaders today and tomorrow.

4-H members contribute hundreds of thousands of hours back to their community every year. Service is a hallmark of all 4-H programs, teaching youth about the importance of giving back, improving our communities and developing innovative solutions to solve problems, large or small. 4-H members learn skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, community engagement and build a sense of compassion. confidence and pride.

CLICK HERE to download the Civic Engagement Spark Sheet

CLICK HERE to download the Service Learning Spark Sheet

Project Levels

Civic Engagement 1

  • learn more about self, family, and friends
  • learn about good citizenship


  • find out about their neighborhood
  • learn how to be a good neighbor


  • organize a tour of their local village, city hall, or courthouse
  • learn how government functions
  • learn about police and fire protection, health and sanitation, safety, and tourism


  • plan and carry out a service project
  • research a need
  • develop a plan

SERVICE LEARNING 2: Raise Your Voice

  • plan and conduct a service project
  • conduct a walk-about to observe needs and assets in a community
  • survey community about needs
  • identify solutions to meet a need

Resources to help you learn

  • Civic Engagement 1: All About Me: Suggested for Grades 3–5
  • Civic Engagement 2: My Neighborhood: Suggested for Grades 6–8
  • Civic Engagement 3: My Community and Me: Suggested for Grades 9–12
  • Service Learning 1:  Agents of Change: Suggested for Grades 5–8
  • Service Learning 2: Raise Your Voice: Suggested for Grades 9–12
  • Public Adventures Guide's Handbook
  • Service Learning Helper's Guide

State Fair Exhibit Rules

Each county may submit 2 entries total from 50145, 50146, 50147, 50148; and 1 entry from 50149.  Due to space restrictions, exhibits are limited to 2’ 6” wide and 15” deep.


Exhibit a display illustrating one of the following options: 1) personal information about yourself – who you are, things you like to do, things you are good at, your favorites; 2) your feelings and how you handle these feelings; 3) your family, their responsibilities, how you work together; OR 4) the Family Pedigree that may include family group pages.


Exhibit a display illustrating one of the following options: 1) your neighborhood; 2) how you were a good neighbor or led a service project for your community; OR 3) a Citizenship Challenge that you helped organize and lead (see the project book for details). 


Exhibit a display illustrating one of the activities that you completed within your project as it relates to one of the following categories in the manual: 1) Government; 2) Business and Industry; 3) Transportation, Communication & Utilities; 4) Culture & Heritage; 5) Natural Resources & Environment; 6) Education; 7) Organizations within your community; 8) Tourism; OR 9) Support Systems within your community.

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT Ready4Life Challenge (SF 50149)

Open to 11- to 18-year-olds enrolled in any Citizenship project. Exhibits in this category must include the following: a) a physical representation of the career or business product such as a model, prototype or display/portfolio that includes images of accomplished work; b) verbal or written explanations that demonstrate knowledge of the related career or business fields, potential careers, and the appropriate requirements for achievement in those fields. The judging criteria for this class values thoroughness of career and/or business exploration and pursuit above the workmanship of the physical specimen on display.

Civic Engagement Maker (SF 50400)

Counties may submit 3 entries TOTAL combined from all Maker exhibit divisions.

Exhibits in this category are designed to be multi-disciplinary in nature, innovative, and must not fit into any other exhibit category. To qualify for this category, your project MUST abide by the following guidelines:

  • Exhibits must be an object or device that has an intended purpose and uses technology in either a mechanical way, digital (computer) way, or combination of the two.
  • The device must be something that can be used in everyday life by multiple people (a target audience), and MUST be manufactured/built by the exhibitor (If not fully manufactured by the exhibitor, the device MUST be modified structurally or be reprogramed to perform a different function other than what it was designed to do
  • Exhibit MUST be able to interact with the outside world. (e.g. an on off switch, input sensors, feedback, etc.)
  • Exhibits MUST include a detailed build log with instructions on how to make or build the exhibit, AND contain either a 3D rendering or detailed and labeled sketches of the device/product.
  • All parts and software used in the design/build MUST be listed in a detailed Bill of Materials including cost per item and total cost. Total time spent on the build must be documented in your build log.

In addition, exhibitors are HIGHLY encouraged to use tools such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, routers and/or other hand/power tools to help in the manufacturing process (NOTE: Simply 3-D printing or laser cutting an object without the other specifications does not qualify as a Maker Project). It is also HIGHLY encouraged that exhibits use Open Source Software and/or Hardware in the build.

Suggested County Exhibit (local rules may vary)

Service Learning 1 (not eligible for state fair)

Exhibit a binder portfolio to reflect what the exhibitor accomplished in the four steps of service learning. If exhibitor has been enrolled in project for multiple years, the binder portfolio should include previous years’ work. Use of page protectors is recommended.

Service Learning 2 (not eligible for state fair)

Exhibit a binder portfolio to reflect what the exhibitor accomplished in the four steps of service learning. If the exhibitor has been enrolled in the project for multiple years (including Service Learning I), the binder portfolio should include the previous years’ work. Use of page protectors is recommended.