Building Welcoming 4-H Clubs

All young people want to belong and be members of groups. A welcoming environment allows young people to feel they are connected and valued in a larger social network. When youth feel accepted in a 4-H club, they are more likely to contribute to the club.

In a recent study of the Wisconsin 4-H program, youth who left the 4-H program were asked for the reasons they left 4-H. 29% of the respondents said that one of the reasons they left 4-H was “I did not feel welcome at club or project meetings.” It can be challenging for new youth and families to feel welcomed, especially if they do not know much about the 4-H program.

Looking at 4-H membership over time, the number of enrolled 4-H members in Wisconsin is declining. From 2005 to 2013 4-H enrollment decreased by 14.9%. These numbers may reflect a slow trend of youth choosing other youth activities rather than 4-H.

The “Building Welcoming 4-H Clubs” project is designed to help 4-H clubs strengthen their inclusive, welcoming environments. Positive club environments help with member recruitment, retention, and engagement.

Project Information

For Clubs:

For Youth & Adult Club Researchers: