The 4-H program is made up of three primary content areas: citizenship, healthy living, and science. These three areas, or mission mandates, can work together in different activities, learning experiences, and projects. Because the 4-H program is administered through the land grant university system throughout the United States, the research findings and teaching of those institutions is the educational foundation for all 4-H programming. Learn more at 4H.org.
Since its beginning, 4-H has placed heavy emphasis on the importance of young people developing into engaged, well-informed citizens. Because youth are able to connect to their communities and leaders through 4-H, they understand their role in civic affairs and are able to expand their roles in decision-making processes. Civic engagement provides the foundation that helps youth understand the big picture of community life and learn the skill sets that will allow them to become wise leaders for the future of our state, nation, and world.
The core areas of Citizenship are:
- Civic Engagement (voice, advocacy, activism)
- Service (community service, service learning, community youth development)
- Civic Education (government principles, processes, and structure; personal roles and responsibilities; history and cultural heritage)
- Leadership (leadership, respect, understanding, character development)
Learn more about National 4-H’s commitment to fostering citizenship here.
State 4-H Junior Leader Conference
This annual conference is planned by a 16-member Jr. Leader Council who is elected each year at the conference to serve for the next year. The purpose of the State 4-H Junior Leader Conference is to enable Junior Leaders from across the state to learn new leadership skills and network with other members from Indiana. Junior Leaders who attend State 4-H Junior Leader Conference are then encouraged to share the skills and knowledge they gain at the conference with other 4-H members in their counties, communities, and clubs.
Other Citizenship Programming
In addition to annual leadership enrichment opportunities like State 4-H Junior Leader Conference, Indiana 4-H empowers young Hoosiers to sharpen their life skills and increase their awareness of what it means to be a good citizen in many different ways. 4-H clubs in every Indiana county provide opportunities such as community service projects, club and county-wide youth leadership positions, and chances to champion important civic causes and solve community problems.
A recent grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation is making a new project possible that will foster the citizenship skills of the members involved. The new program, “Feeding Tomorrow’s Future Today,” is designed to fill the weekend food gap for public school students enrolled in free and reduced lunch programs while educating teens about food insecurity in their communities, the cost of food, and how to follow a budget. The program will be piloted in the upcoming academic year with 4-H Junior Leaders in Blackford, Elkhart, Wells, and Vanderburgh counties. Working with social workers, counselors and teachers, these teens will be part of a solution to real problems in their own backyards.
Citizenship Project Areas
There are more than 70 project areas in Indiana 4-H that you can learn about here. Below is a list of just some of the project areas that fall under the Science mission mandate.
- Child Development
- Home Environment
- Junior Leaders