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As the youth development program of the Cooperative Extension System of land-grant universities, 4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, empowering six million young people throughout the United States. Cooperative Extension of 1862 and 1890  land-grant universities provide the leadership to engage young people in 4-H in all 3,007 counties of the United States.

4-H'ers belong to 4-H Clubs that meet in local communities.  University of Maryland Extension Volunteers help youth learn life skills to become caring, competent and responsible individuals through club work, community service, and 4-H project curriculum.  4-H members work with their club leaders to develop their educational plans for each year.  These plans might include community service projects, speakers, field trips, or learning activities.

4-H'ers participate in county-wide programs organized by volunteers and University of Maryland Extension faculty.  These programs include activities such as fashion shows, camps, public speaking contests, workshops, and more.  With so many community clubs and specialty clubs in Howard County, there is always something to do in Howard County 4-H.

Please click on the Club Information link to find specific information about joining a club and the 4-H clubs in Howard County.

To join the Howard County 4-H program, you will need to complete the online enrollment process.  Please keep in mind that we ask potential members to attend at least one 4-H meeting prior to enrolling in the online system.  

Current re-enrollment for the 2021 is currently open and the link to register is


If you have volunteered with the Maryland 4-H program for 5 years or more, you are asked to complete a refresher volunteer training.  To access please visit

Additionally, all volunteers will need to complete the "Return to In-Person Programming" training prior to returning to any in-person programming later this year.  The link to access is


The Central Maryland 4-H Cluster is pleased to announce "Spring Into Mondays" virtual workshops.  Currently we have 5 workshops available on Mondays from 4:30-5:30 p.m.    The topics for the workshops are below, however, you can access detailed information for each workshop and will be able to register at the following link:

  • Monday, March 29th-Mindfulness
  • Monday, April 12th-Public Speaking
  • Monday, April 19th-Fun With Science
  • Monday, May 3rd-Start Your Garden Inside
  • Monday, May 10th-Fashion Revue


The Central Cluster 4-H Communications Contest will be held virtually the week of April 26, 2021.  Speeches will be presented on the following evenings.

  • Tuesday, April 27th-Prepared and Interpretation
  • Wednesday, April 28th-Extemporaneous
  • Thursday, April 29th-Radio Spot and Clovers
  • Saturday, May 1st-Awards Program

One of the most valuable skills youth learn during their time in 4-H is public speaking.  Each year, 4-H youth from Frederick, Howard and Montgomery Counties participate in a Cluster Public Speaking Contest where they are able to practice and improve their public speaking skills.

Check out our Public Speaking:  Making a Great Speech Handbook to help with planning your speech.

The categories for the Communications Contest are:  Extemporaneous, Interpretation, Prepared and Radio Spot. If you click on the category, you will be able to see the score sheet which provides detailed information.  Clovers can participate as well by reciting the 4-H Pledge or the American Pledge.

  • Extemporaneous:  Participants will draw 3 topics at the contest and select a favorite from the 3.  Then given an alloted amount of time, a participant will write the speech and practice prior to presenting to judges.  Extemporaneous presenters will draw for their speaking topics upon arrival at their scheduled time. Juniors and Intermediates have 30 minutes of preparation time and seniors will have 15 minutes preparation time.  Please click to see the Extemporaneous Score Sheet.
  • Interpretation:  Youth memorize an oral presentation of a selected narrative from a published work.  Permitted works include dramatic or humorous plays, books or poetry.  A television script or show or any unpublished source is not acceptable. Please click to see the Interpretation Score Sheet.
  • Prepared:  Write a speech prior to the contest and bring the day of.  The topic is the participants choice and is presented to judges during the alloted time slot.  Juniors may use a complete script.  Note cards containing key word outlines are permitted for intermediates and seniors.   Please click to see the Prepared Score Sheet.
  • Radio Spot:  Create a 30 second radio commercial prior to the contest.  Present to the judges as if it is being broad cast over the radio.  Musical or sound effect introductions and/or backgrounds may be used.  Please click to see the Radio Spot Score Sheet.
  • Clovers:  Clovers are welcome to participate in Prepared Speech area only, reciting the American or 4-H pledge.

To register for the contest link, please go to


At this time, Howard County 4-H and Carroll County 4-H are partnering together to offer a Beef Field Day for 4-Hers enrolled in either program.  This event could be changed or cancelled depending on local, state and Maryland 4-H covid guidelines and restrictions.  

Please be sure to read the letter about Beef Field Day with specific information.  In addition, all entries need to be submitted by April 23rd.


The Central Maryland 4-H Cluster is pleased to announce the release of a virtual Officer Training resource that was created to help our 4-H club officers.  

The direct link to the resource is:

Since this is a google presentation, anyone viewing will need to select the present mode. 

Once that has been done, click through the different images and words to take you to the next

slide. (Be sure to click around and have fun!).  If you wish to go back at any time, click the purple
“BACK” button at the bottom left of your screen.

For more information, please see the informational flyer.

For more information about the Howard County 4-H Program please contact one of the following:

Sheryl Bennett

4-H Youth Development Educator


Chris Rein

4-H Program Coordinator


Amy Brueckmann

4-H Administrative Assistant