Welcome to the 4-H Youth and Adult Leadership website

"Leadership" is "a broad concept related to the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and aspirations utilized by one or more persons in influencing, motivating, inspiring and otherwise causing desired actions and reactions by others." "Leadership development experiences" are similarly defined as "any learning experiences or background gained by individuals which facilitate the development of leadership."

Leadership and positive development occur when youth participate in intrinsically motivating activities taught by caring and competent adults, develop meaningful relationships with peers, and learn skills important for managing life situations. The 4-H program identifies short-term and intermediate results for individuals, families, and communities. These lead to long-term outcomes for young people.

"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

If just one person believes in you
Deep enough and strong enough
Believes in you hard enough and long enough
Before you know it, someone else would think, "If he can do it, I can do it."
Making it two.
Two whole people who believe in you.
And maybe even you can believe in yourself too.

-Robin and the Muppet Gang, from "It's Not Easy Being Green and Other Things to Consider"


Maryland 4-H State Council

Learn more about the Maryland 4-H State Council in the FAQ Sheet.

The Maryland 4-H State Council is the premier leadership opportunity in Maryland. It comprises active 4-H members from around the state interested in developing high-level leadership skills and representing their county 4-H program. State Council members have the opportunity to learn from each other, volunteers, and faculty/staff outside of their club and county. The State Council is led by a youth officer team and faculty/staff advisors. 

The Maryland 4-H State Council is led by the State Council Executive Committee, which includes:

Youth Officers

Maryland 4-H State Council President

About Ashlynn:  I have been an active 4-H member for the past nine years and have participated in a variety of activities, including ones held on a national and international level.  Currently, shooting sports is my primary 4-H activity, along with entering projects, showing livestock, and participating in various clubs and organizations. My hobbies include activities outdoors such as camping, hiking, and snowboarding. Next year, I hope to start the journey toward a degree in large animal sciences.

Maryland 4-H State Council Vice President

About Abby:  Hi, my name is Abby Worth. I am 15 years old and Homeschooled. I have been in 4-H for 10 years and this is my 3rd year on the Maryland 4-H State Council. Throughout my time in 4-H, I’ve held positions like Historian, Community Fair Queen, National Leadership trip Maryland Delegate, and I am currently the Vice-President of State Council. Outside of 4-H, I enjoy practicing Kendo, Brazilian Jujitsu, Archery, and Yoga, playing the drums, making Christmas Ornaments, baking, and learning WWI, WWII, and Aerospace history. I can’t wait for a wonderful year on State Council.

Maryland 4-H State Council Secretary

About Jayson: I am a hardworking and persistent individual that goes to Poolesville high school. I have been studying music since I was 6 and hoped to become a great musician one day. On top of that, I excel at math and am currently aiming to get into MIT.

Maryland 4-H State Council Treasurer

About Lydia: Hi, I am Lydia Vassiliadi, and I am an 11th grader in Allegany County. I love soccer, basketball, 4-H robotics, and science. In the past, I have been on various 4-H robotics teams, was selected as a "Young Woman in STEM" for Maryland Mentor, representing 4-H; and I worked to combat runoff in my area as part of the 4-H Runoff Raiders Club. It is my second year as Treasurer of the State Council, and I look forward to the new year!

4-H Professionals as advisors

4-H Professionals as advisors


To Join State Council

Eligibility Any active Maryland 4-H youth aged 13-18 (as of January 1 of the upcoming program year) may apply to be on the Maryland 4-H State Council. Membership is verified through 4-H Online.
Submission Deadline November 20  (this has been extended)
Application Package

General Membership Information Packet

Submission Portal

4-H Online - Under Events      

How to Apply for a Leadership Opportunity Help Guide

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Notification December 15

State Council Informational Flyer

Contact the State Council through the State Council Coordinator (Dr. Jeff Howard) at jwhoward@umd.edu.

The Maryland 4-H State Council would love to connect with your club, event or activity!  Reach out to see what the State Council can do for you!


National 4-H Leadership Opportunities

Youth on a national trip holding the Maryland state flag

The Maryland 4-H Program is proud to offer senior 4-H members the opportunity to participate in Leadership Trips at the National Level. All enrolled and dues-paying club members ages 14-18 (as of January 1st, the year the trip takes place) from all counties and Baltimore City are eligible to submit an application and portfolio packet (see instructions below) for any of the following national leadership trips. To be considered for a Leadership Trip, a 4-H member must complete a portfolio package including an application, 4-H resume, essay, and interview.

Trips Requirements Deadlines
National 4-H Conference (April)

Submit your Senior 4-H Portfolio for consideration through 4-H Online   (Event Registration).
Senior 4-H Portfolio includes a

 All candidates will also participate in an Interview.

State Deadline:  November 14th

The local 4-H Program may set an earlier deadline.

National 4-H Leadership Trips

  • Camp Miniwanca (June)
  • Virginia 4-H Congress (June)
  • West Virginia Older Member’s Conference (June)
  • National 4-H Congress (November)

Submit your Senior 4-H Portfolio for consideration through 4-H Online   (Event Registration).

Senior 4-H Portfolio includes a

 All candidates will also participate in an Interview.

State Deadline:  January 15th

The local 4-H Program may set an earlier deadline.


IMPORTANT Information on the Senior 4-H Portfolio Process 

How to Apply for a Leadership Opportunity Help Guide

Links to helpful resources

2024 Senior Essay Question:

“How has your involvement in 4-H changed your life?”

Special thanks to the 2022 Leadership Trip delegates for great essay question suggestions and the 2023 Maryland 4-H State Council for helping select the 2024 Essay Question!

College of AGNR and Maryland 4-H Foundation Matching Scholarship for Top Overall Senior Portfolio

Established in 2015, the College of AGNR will offer a scholarship award of $1,000 to each of the nine senior high overall individuals at the following annual 4-H competitions: Dairy Judging, Hippology, Horse Judging, Horticulture Judging, Livestock Judging, Livestock Skillathon, Poultry Judging, Rabbit Judging and Overall High Score 4-H Portfolio, winner of the portfolio process which encompasses National 4-H Conference, National 4-H Congress, Camp Miniwanca, Virginia 4-H Congress and West Virginia Older Members Conference.

 The recipient must apply as a bachelor’s degree-seeking student, be accepted to the University of Maryland, and enroll in the College of AGNR.

 Maryland 4-H Foundation will offer a matching scholarship award to these students in the amount of $1,000.

 The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has 8 different departments including Animal and Avian Sciences, Agriculture and Resource Economics, Entomology, Environmental Science and Policy, Environmental Science and Technology, Nutrition and Food Science, Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, and Veterinary Medicine. 

Learn more at https://agnr.umd.edu/departments-programs/departments 

Leadership Events

Bowl Teams 

4-H provides numerous opportunities for members to focus on a specific subject while having fun competing on a bowl team.  4-H bowls are patterned after "College Bowl" and "It's Academic" television shows.  Most bowl teams compete with others their same age.  There are usually five members on a bowl team, with four competing and one as an alternate.  Typically county winners advance to regional contests, and regional winners advance to state contests.  There are currently bowl contests for nutrition, horses, livestock, and dogs.

Citizenship Washington Focus

Is a national 4-H event held at the National 4-H Center during June and July.  This excellent week-long event is open to high school-age youth, not just 4-H'ers.  Those attending CWF will increase their leadership skills, gain a much broader understanding of citizenship, learn a great deal about their nation's capital and the federal government and have 4-H Council's Web Page at http://www.fourhcouncil.edu

Club Officers 

4-H clubs elect a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and reporter.  Other officers, who may be elected or appointed, can include committee chairs (program, telephone, health, safety, conservation, etc.), song leaders, game leaders, and sergeant of arms.  Officers usually serve for one year. 

Exchange, Interstate

This is a popular activity for older 4-H'ers and adults.   Maryland counties that are interested in exchange will respond and begin the process of planning dates, activities, etc.  Maryland usually receives many requests for exchanges because of our proximity to Washington, DC, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean.  The typical exchange involves 8 to 12 teens and

two or more adults who visit another state one summer, staying in the homes of host 4-H families for about a week and then hosting the 4-H'ers they stayed with the following summer.  In some cases, both ends of the exchange take place the same summer. 


The International Four-H Youth Exchange (the "F" originally stood for farm) provides an opportunity for 4-H'ers from around the world to visit another country to learn about other lifestyles and cultures and to spread goodwill and understanding.  There are several different options and lengths of stay, six weeks to six months being common. 

National 4-H Conference

This event is held at the National 4-H Center in the spring and is attended by some of the top 4-H'ers in the nation.  At National 4-H Conference, teen delegates take the lead by serving on consulting groups to make recommendations for the future d Activities include a visit to Capitol Hill and a meeting with their senator or representative.

State 4-H Leaders Association

This volunteer’s association allows volunteer leaders from all over the state to network and share successful ideas.  The group provides and supports statewide volunteer training and serves in an advisory capacity to the State 4-H Leader and State 4-H Specialists. Membership will be open to all adult 4-H volunteers. 

Maryland 4-H State Council 

Maryland 4-H State Council is a group of teen leaders working to "Make the Best Better" through leadership and civic engagement in their communities, counties, and state.  Council membership is open to all Maryland 4-Hers ages 13-18, and each county/city 4-H Unit is urged to have at least one representative to the 4-H State Council.  The Council comprises four committees that direct the Council's activities & events:  Planning & Outreach, Public Issues, Public Relations, and Service.   The State Council actively participates in public education about a chosen youth issue at Maryland Day and the Maryland State Fair and plans. It leads local and statewide 4-H activities in observance of National 4-H Week.  The State Council plans and hosts Maryland's signature teen leadership event, the Maryland 4-H Congress, on the summer's University of Maryland campus.  Application for State 4-H Council is made in November for the coming year; teens elected to State Council serve one-year terms and must re-apply for membership each year. 

Maryland 4-H Congress

Maryland 4-H Congress is the state's premier teen leadership opportunity.  Held on the University of Maryland, "M4HC" gives 4-Hers ages 13-18 the opportunity to explore career opportunities in a variety of areas and to experience life on a college campus.  Youth attending Maryland 4-H Congress live in campus residence halls and eat-in dining halls, enjoy campus recreational activities and attend workshops and tours in campus classrooms, labs, and facilities.  Participants have the chance to meet and make friends with fellow 4-Hers from across the state, disco