New Jersey 4-H Youth Development Program
The Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development program uses a learn-by-doing approach to enable youth to develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to become competent, caring, and contributing citizens of the world. This mission is accomplished by using the knowledge and resources of the land-grant university system, along with the involvement of caring adult volunteers.
4-H began in 1902 when A.B. Graham and O.J. Kern shared a dream that young people could become excited about practical science which would allow them to better understand their world and to dignify the lives of the “common people”. In 2007, the Department of 4-H Youth Development provided educational outreach programming for 50,391 New Jersey youth. These youth were involved in programs outlined by our mission mandates: healthy living, SET (science, engineering, and technology), citizenship. Despite the stereotype, only 15% of youth involved live in rural areas while 87% live in cities and suburbs.
New Jersey 4-H is committed to serving the needs of today’s youth through educational opportunities that focus on personal and life skill development through the four H’s: Head (opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future and opportunity for self determination), Heart (positive relationship with a caring adult and an inclusive and safe environment), Hands (opportunity to value and practice service for others), and Health (engagement in learning and opportunity for mastery). By participating in leadership opportunities, workforce preparation, camping and outdoor education, community service, character building, science and health-awareness, etc…, 4-H provides youth and adults with opportunities to develop skills and confidence. Through 4-H leadership experiences, youth improve their abilities to make connections between independence and responsibility.