What is 4-H and why should I join?

What is 4-H?

4-H is a community of youth, boys and girls from ages 5 – 18 years old, who are learning by doing.

Why should my child join 4-H?

We believe that 4-H offers a framework to offer each member a way to craft an unique 4-H experience that intertwines learning by doing, solving real-world problems, and developing leadership and public speaking skills in an authentic and appropriate way.

Research shows real benefits for youth who are in 4-H:

According to Waves of the Future – The First Five Years of the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development (2009) , when compared to other youth, 4-H’ers excel and are:

  • 25% more likely to contribute to their families, themselves, and their communities.
  • more likely to see themselves going to college.
  • 41% less likely to engage in risk/problem behavior.

(see the California State 4-H website research page for references and more details)

Let’s explore each of those things in detail:

Learning by doing?

Knowledge and skills from participating in club projects.

Science and engineering, sewing and fashion, cooking and nutrition, art and writing, health and fitness, public speaking, filmmaking and photography, aviation and rocketry, outdoor adventures, gardening, environmental stewardship, and small animals like rabbits and chickens are all projects that East Hills has offered in the last 22 years. If we aren’t offering a project you’d like to see, become an adult volunteer and make it happen!

Solving real-world problems?

Citizenship and Community Service

This is another skill emphasized in 4-H, and while members might have to seek out opportunities, being a 4-H member can make that process easier. East Hills is offering a community service project (started in 2022 and continuing) making cards for the San Lorenzo Meals on Wheels office and we’d love to find more opportunities for the kids, ideas and suggestions welcome!

Developing leadership and public speaking skills?

Public Speaking

Public speaking skills are a core activity in 4-H and all members are encouraged to participate in Presentation Day every year. There are county, sectional, and state events along with lots of help and resources to help make it happen. Along with the formal events, members also get practice participating in their club monthly meetings and in project meetings.


Authentic leadership opportunities can be hard to find for youth, but 4-H offers many ways to learn and practice leadership on a club, county, and even state level. 4-H members can run for office within their club to help run the club with the help of the Club Leader (an adult volunteer). There are also leadership opportunities available with county and state 4-H events too.

Additional links and posts

California State 4-H main website:

Alameda County 4-H main website

A Year in the Life of a 4-Her (post written for East Hills): A Year in the Life of a 4-Her

East Hills’ FAQ (with more details on benefits of joining 4-H): East Hills FAQ

Another overview of 4-H written by an emeritus leader: http://www.easthills4h.org/information/a-quick-overview/