More than 88,000 West Virginia youths participate in WVU Extension’s statewide 4-H program, a fun, free program that builds leadership skills, strengthens communities and emphasizes learning by doing. New members can join during National 4-H Week, Oct. 7-13.

4-H is a youth development program open to anyone between the ages of 9 and 21. In many areas, children as young as 5 are able to join a pre-4-H program called Cloverbuds. At the other end of the spectrum, there are active collegiate 4-H clubs at seven West Virginia colleges and universities.

“People say there’s strength in numbers,” said Debbie McDonald, state program leader for 4-H Youth Development for the West Virginia University Extension Service. “Young people are our next generation of leaders and we’re already seeing positive impacts on their communities when they work towards a common goal.”

The program focuses on Head, Heart, Hands and Health. The overall goals are to develop life and leadership skills; building self-esteem and character; fostering citizenship and service and teaching healthy habits.

Across West Virginia, young people involved in 4-H are making a lasting impact. West Virginia 4-H’ers are building robots, helping the environment, exploring math and science, traveling to new places, getting healthy and becoming leaders in their communities and beyond.

In fact, a recent national study of the 4-H “learn by doing” approach shows 4-H’ers are nearly twice as likely to get better grades in school and twice as likely to plan to go to college. That same national study also found that girls in 4-H are more than twice as likely to participate in science, engineering or computer technology programs as their peers.

For information about 4-H opportunities in your community, contact your local county office of the WVU Extension Service, or visit



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CONTACT: Ann Bailey Berry
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