How to 4-H: The Great 8 Pathways to Participation
4-H Empowers Kids with the Skills to Lead for a Lifetime
4-H Agriculture programs encourage youth to develop their passion for the diverse aspects of the agriculture industry. Through hands-on projects and activities, 4-H youth learn life skills while pursuing an area that sparks their interest. Youth develop an innovative entrepreneurial spirit while developing projects in areas of environmental, plant and animal science. All 4-H animal projects are included in the agriculture pathway, including Beef, Cat, Cavy, Dairy Cattle, Dairy Goat, Dog, Horse, Meat Goat, Pigeon, Poultry, Pygmy Goat, Rabbit, Sheep, Small Pets, and Swine. Additional agricultural projects include Entomology, Gardening, Livestock Judging, and Veterinary Sciences.
4-H Camp is an important positive youth development experience. Camp is a unique safe environment that allows youth to grow in their understanding of their self, personal responsibility, and how to interact with their peers. In addition, the Harold and Mitzie James 4-H Camp & Outdoor Learning Center is set in the middle of National Forest where youth are able to learn about the natural world and be in nature, perhaps for the very first time. Many participation pathways and projects can be explored during a high-quality camp experience.
The 4-H Civic Engagement pathway encourages youth to learn how to make change in their communities. Youth learn about public service and the legislative process at the local, state, and federal levels. Youth also engage in civic activities by conducting community needs assessments, youth participatory research and advocating for change in their communities based on their findings. Civic Engagement is a project, yet, a 4-H member has many educational opportunities to explore Civic Engagement through experiences and actions, including Leadership Washington Focus, Citizenship Washington Focus, True Leaders in Equity Institute, and Engaged Citizens Event.
4-H Community Service programming is successful when 4-H youth are helping their communities by using skills they learned through their project work (aka service learning). Building a strong culture of community service is important for a strong working society, and 4-H youth should experience authentic community service annually. Community service is not just a project, but activities a club or youth choose to do to give back to their clubs, communities, country, and world. A successful 4-H member should complete a community service project at least annually. Arizona 4-H Cares service ideas.
4-H members pledge give their "head..., heart..., hands..., and health..." to their "world" at every club meeting. The 4-H Cultural Understanding pathway encompasses several aspects of how a youth can fulfill the pledge to "and my world." Arizona 4-H offers opportunities for international exchanges for youth to host young people from across the globe for a month long hosting experience, or to travel outbound for similar exchanges. Arizona 4-H serves indigenous and latinx communities across Arizona, and we are committed to building culturally responsive programming that values indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing at all levels of programming (.e.g. club, project, educational events), and strives to create greater cultural respect and understanding between peer-to-peers, and youth-to-adults.
4-H healthy living programs engage youth in positive development in areas of mental, emotional, and physical well-being to ensure healthy minds, bodies, and communities. Whether youth are working with substance abuse prevention or educating peers about healthy eating habits. 4-H healthy living programming helps youth to put their health related passion into action. Projects in the Healthy Living pathway include all Family, Consumer, and Health Sciences (FCHS) projects including Arts and Crafts, Cake Decorating, Entrepreneurship, Foods Nutrition, Foods Preservation, Health and Fitness, Sewing and Textiles, Photography, and Personal Finance. Projects also include the Healthy Living Ambassador club program, and education programs like Tucson Village Farm.
The 4-H Leadership pathway is about youth self-determination. Youth leadership is not about title or role, but rather is about accomplishing change and providing service to their projects, clubs, community, state, country, and world. Youth should be experiencing opportunities to give age appropriate input and make decisions throughout their 4-H career. Leadership is a project, and it should be experienced across all of their projects. There are many opportunities to demonstrate and learn about leadership through Arizona 4-H. Some of events for youth to participate, are: State Ambassador program, Arizona 4-H Summit, JOLT (Journey: Opportunities for Leaders of Tomorrow), National 4-H Congress, and National 4-H Conference.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
4-H STEM programs encourage youth to develop their passion for the diverse aspects of agriculture, science, technology, engineering, and math. Through hands-on projects and activities, 4-H youth learn life skills while pursuing an area that sparks their interest. Youth develop an innovative entrepreneurial spirit while developing projects in areas of augmented reality, rocketry, greenhouse management, robotics, and environmental stewardship, including water conservation. Projects in the STEM pathway include Aerospace, Augmented Reality, Agricultural STEM, Electricity, Geospatial, Shooting Sports, Robotics, Rocketry, and Woodworking. To explore Arizona 4-H STEM YOUniversity activities, go here.