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 stands 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 youths have with higher education.

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4-H in Dorchester County

The Dorchester County 4-H program is the youth development program of the 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. Programs are focused on creating opportunities for youth to develop the Essential Elements necessary to help youth become competent, caring adults. These elements are: Belonging, Independence, Generosity, and Mastery. These opportunities are offered through planned hands-on activities, project 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.

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4-H Clubs

Dorchester County 4-H offers life skill building opportunities for all youth ages 5-18 (as of January 1st of the current year). Many of these opportunities and experiences begin at the club level. Check out the current list of Dorchester County 4-H Clubs HERE.  Our current active clubs focus on projects such as environmental science, horse, shooting sports, etc. New clubs will be forming in the near future. If you have an interest not covered by a current 4-H club, contact the UME Office to see about other potential opportunities for youth and volunteers.

4-H clubs usually meet monthly (once or twice per month) so that there is an ongoing project learning experience. 4-H clubs offer experiential learning opportunities to develop and practice skills through enrollment in 4-H projects, community service, and club events and activities. Youth will learn how to keep records, how to speak in front of others, how to give back to the community through volunteering efforts, and learn vital life skills such as responsibility and leadership.


Youth ages 5—7 (as of January 1st of the current year) can join as a Cloverbud member. Youth participate in special programs that are age and grade-appropriate; that consist of 1 to 1 1/2 hours of specific topics. Cloverbuds are generally members of a current active 4-H club so they can work with older 4-H youth and adult volunteers and leaders with the same interests.

4-H Volunteers

4-H clubs are led by UME trained adult volunteers. Volunteers are always welcome! Let us know your interests, and we'll help you get to work mentoring young people as they learn new project information and develop skills for success in life.

Learn how to volunteer

4-H Delivery Modes

Dorchester County 4-H is administered through various delivery modes including 4-H clubs, afterschool programs, special interest groups/programs, and in-school enrichment programs. 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
  • Have fun in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment

Youth can experience 4-H by becoming a member of a 4-H club, attending a 4-H camp, or joining school-based or after-school 4-H programs. 4-Hers can compete with their projects in contests at the local, state, regional or national levels and also attend conferences and events.

Contact us to find out how to join!

4-H in Dorchester County