University of Maryland Extension

4-H Youth Development

What is 4-H?

4-H is the largest youth organization in the United States with over 7 million participants. 4-H is best identified by its green four-leaf clover with an H on each leaf. The four Hs on the emblem stand for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. 4-H is the only youth organization based within the land-grant university system, and the first experience many youth have with higher education.

4-H in Prince George’s County....

The Prince George’s County 4-H Youth Development Program is the youth development program of University of Maryland Extension.  The program has a variety of delivery modes based on a volunteer effort of both adults and teens. Youth may participate in special interest groups, after-school programs, or organized community clubs in various subject areas such as STEM related activities including Robotics and Adventures in Science, Animal Science and Outdoor Education, Healthy Living, Camping, and Civic Engagement and Community Service. Programs are focused on creating opportunities for youth to develop the Essential Elements necessary to help youth become competent, caring adults. These elements are: Mastery, Belonging, Generosity and Independence. These opportunities are offered through planned hands-on activities, small group work, community events and competitive activities. Together 4-H members and volunteers participate in fun, hands-on, research-based activities supported by a national Extension system.

Special Interest Groups 

4-H Special Interest Groups or Short Term Programs are defined as groups of youth meeting for a series of defined learning experiences, usually specific in subject content and with at least six hours of instruction and pariticipation. Examples of such programs includes, Adventures in Science, held on the University of Maryland campus or Youth Garderning programs helds in the spring and summer.

Afterschool Programs

4-H community clubs offer experiential learning opportunities to develop and practice skills through enrollment in 4-H projects, community service, and club events and activities. Clubs meet regularly (usually monthly)with a minimum of 5 members. Clubs have no limit: some may have 40 or more members! These clubs have bylaws and officers and meet during out-of-school time.

Military 4-H Clubs

4-H clubs are organized by the Armed Forces, often on military installations, and principally for military dependents. In Prince George's County, there is a 4-H program at Joint Base Andrews.

All of these 4-H delivery modes open up new and exciting opportunities for both youth and volunteers to:

  • Enhance leadership skills
  • Improve communication skills
  • Meet and make new friends 
  • Become involved in their communities
  • Improve personal growth and development
  • Most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!!

Who Can Join?

Girls and boys ages 5-18; 5-7 year olds are called Clover members and participate in non-competitive programs to learn about the many different aspects of 4-H. At age 8, a youth can become a "regular" 4-H member, enroll in projects and participate in competitive county and state events.

The 4-H enrollment year is January thru December.

For more information about the program, you may contact the 4-H staff via email:

Alexander E. Chan, PhD, 4-H Youth Development Educator - 

Gretchen Sumbrum, 4-H Faculty Extension Assistant - 

                                                        Phone: (301) 868-9636
                                                      Fax:     (301) 599-6714   

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