4-H and Youth

Preparing youth to become tomorrow's leaders
4-H Clover

In 4-H, you learn by doing and you usually have a pretty great time while you're doing it! Want to know more about what your 4-H experience might look like?

  • Create and build things. Whether you're inspired by robots and drones or photography and recipe cards, our programs give you the tools and opportunities to imagine, create and build. Choose from more than 60 project areas!
  • Explore careers that interest you. In 4-H, career exploration is more than just reading about possible jobs, it involves rolling up your sleeves and trying them on for size. 
  • Make new friends. From clubs to camps to field trips, in 4-H you'll meet many new people. It's pretty easy to form lasting friendships when they're based on shared interests and experiences. 
  • Teach and inspire. 4-H prepares older youth for roles as leaders in their classrooms, communities, and future careers. We'll help you develop the skills you need to work with kids in your community and help them launch their own 4-H journey. 
  • Build confidence. As a 4-H member—at your own pace—you’ll learn how to run meetings, make informed decisions, and inspire others by sharing your interests. 
  • Help others. A core aspect of 4-H is learning to work alongside others to serve those around us. 4-H clubs create opportunities for members to find meaningful ways to impact the people in their communities. 

4-H is a place where you can find where you belong. It's where you decide what matters to you, learn about things that interest you and help others in your community. 

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Interested in learning more about 4-H but not sure where to start? Complete this interest survey to find the 4-H group that's just right for you. If you're already a member, you'll find everything you're looking for in the links below.

County 4-H Clubs

Looking for Project Guides and Manuals?

Project guides and other resources for many of the 4-H project areas are available on the Illinois 4-H website. Hundreds of free "Spark Sheet" resources are also available with suggestions on fun activities. Project manuals are available on Shop 4-H. Please contact your local 4-H Program Coordinator if you don't find what you're looking for there.


Youth showing Beef, Dairy, Swine, Sheep or Goats are required to take the Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) certification training each year to be eligible to show at the county and state levels in the 4-H Shows. In-person training sessions (at a reduced price) are offered in the late winter and spring or 4-Hers may complete the training online.

Youth showing Cats, Dogs, Horses, Poultry and Rabbits are required to complete the Quality Assurance and Ethics Certification (QAEC) one time in their 4-H career. This is a free, online-only certification program, accessible in ZSuite (the 4-H enrollment website). 

Please contact a 4-H staff member with any questions.