4-H / Youth

Letter from Malinda Ware, Orange County 4-H Youth Development Program Issue Leader dated September 25, 2020:

Dear 4-H Youth, Families, and Volunteers,

As you are aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a time of many unknowns, and Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County has experienced major funding cuts along with future funding remaining uncertain. This past week, difficult decisions were made and unfortunately a reduction in staff was necessary.

I recognize and value all the special relationships our 4-H program has brought to youth and families throughout Orange County. It is my hope that we will continue to represent our mission to provide hands-on learning opportunities that help and empower youth to grow into competent, caring, contributing members of society. However, with the reduction in staff, the 4-H program offerings will be changing slightly. You will receive information within the next few weeks about our new enrollment options, 4-H programs, and upcoming opportunities. Additionally, within the next few weeks, you will be receiving updated New York State 4-H in-person and virtual meeting guidelines which will include information about our upcoming volunteer training opportunities.

The remaining Orange County 4-H staff and I are committed to providing excellent, enriched youth programs reflecting the principles of positive youth development and experiential learning while maintaining the integrity of the 4-H mission, vision, and values.

I want to thank you for all your support during this extremely stressful time. Your kind and encouraging words have made it that much easier as we navigate this season of change together. I look forward to the continued work of creating opportunities for youth to have a voice, develop life skills, and encourage family involvement as we continue to serve our community.


Malinda Ware, Orange County 4-H Issue Leader

What is 4-H?

4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. 4-H is an informal education program for families where children gain life skills, and parents become the best partners in their child’s education to ensure success in life. Youth are provided opportunities to gain self-awareness about personal health and well-being and the need to create and support healthy environments.

  • Cloverbuds – for children ages 5 to 7
  • 4-H Clubs – for youth ages 8 to 12
  • Teen Programs – for youth ages 13 to 19
  • After School Programs – for agencies and organizations
  • School Science Programs – for school districts

Club Program Offerings

Youth members and adult leaders have many opportunities to participate in programming on several levels. They are; Club – County – District – Regional and State. Clubs can choose from over 85 projects and activities including:

  • General Interest Clubs complete projects from lots of categories: Rocketry, Woodworking, Community Service, Photography, Leadership, Nutrition, Hydroponics, Bluebirds, Entomology, Cooking, STEM and more.
  • Specialty Clubs focus mostly on one interest area: Animal Science (Rabbits, Poultry, Dairy, Sheep, Goats, Horse, and Camelids), Robotics, Natural Resources, Outdoor Explorers, Geocaching, K'nex club, Teen Action Group.
  • All clubs can participate in community service, public speaking, County Fair exhibits, field trips as well as local, regional, and state level programs.

What are the benefits?

Research shows that youth involved in 4-H clubs are more likely to be educationally motivated, have more confidenceand communicate better than their peers. These youth also gain a positive sense of Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity.

How do I get involved? What happens next?

The 4-H Staff Representative for your community will help you to form a 4-H club consisting of children and parents or guardians that will;

  • Have fun learning outside of a classroom setting
  • Do hands on projects and activities together centered on youth and adult interests
  • Experience growth and connection as the community, and knowledgeable people from it , become an additional environment for learning
  • Demonstrate and verbally express what they learn as they share it with others
  • Give back to their community through service projects and service learning
  • Earn awards and recognition on a local, regional, state, or even national level
  • Be supported in the experience by our staff with guidance, resources and partnership

Did you know?

Our mottos are; “To make the best better” and “Learning by doing”. Our educational mission areas for youth are; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), Healthy Lifestyles and, Citizenship.

We are not just about cows and cooking! We still do that, but we are so much more! For more information, go to 4-H FAQs

Last updated September 25, 2020