4-H brings young people, ages 5 to 18, and adults together to learn everyday skills through hands-on learning. Working on activities from animal and plant sciences to robotics, 4-H’ers learn problem-solving skills that can make a positive impact upon our community. Through 4-H, young people learn to:
- meet the diverse challenges of today’s world
- build self-confidence
- learn responsibility
- make positive decisions
See How to join below for more information.
There are several active 4-H Clubs in Cole County. See our 4-H Clubs page for the full list and more information. 4-H is about more than plows, sows and cows. Shooting Sports is the fastest growing project but with so many projects choices everyone can find something to meet their goals. 4-H is open to all youth ages 5-18.
How to join
Joining 4-H is as easy as contacting the extension center. A staff member will explain the enrollment process and membership dues. In addition to dues, some projects may require a small investment to get started, and there may be a fee for materials, trips or other activities.
The 4-H year begins October 1st but we accept enrollment year-round. The 4-H program year runs from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31. Certain activities may have participation deadlines.
Steps to become a 4-H member:
- Choose a club. Feel free to visit any club that is scheduled at a time and location that is most convenient for you.
- Select at least one project. Pick up a booklet from your club leader or go to the Projects page on the Missouri 4-H website. Or feel free to design your own project!
- Enroll online.
Please do not let cost be a burden. We have ways to help everyone become involved. See Sponsorships below to learn more. Contact us with any additional questions.
Clover Kids clubs
Clover Kids introduces 5- to 7-year-olds to the 4-H experience. In Clover Kids, children learn how to get along with others, work in groups and explore their interests while building self-confidence. Clover Kids do not enroll in projects or raise animals, and do not participate in competitive events, contests or shows.
Please do not let cost be a burden. Sponsorships of 4-H projects, trips, contests and activities are available by submitting the application for sponsorship. Funding for sponsorships comes from two sources:
4-H Council policies
Member in Good Standing Policy:
- Complete 1 demonstration during the 4-H year (hands-on, PowerPoint, team, speech, etc.)
- Attend 50% of club/group meetings. New members must attend 50% of meetings from the time of joining a club.
- Enroll in at least 1 project and complete 6 hours of project work receiving guidance from a recognized adult volunteer. Certain projects may require a certified instructor and may have additional requirements (such as Shooting Sports, SportFishing, Horse Bowl, etc.)
- Club dues:
- Members must enroll and have dues paid to club by December 31 each year. Late enrollments will be assessed a $5 late fee. (Added February 2016)
- New members enrolling after January 1 need to pay dues to club in a timely manner. (Adopted September 2012)
Secondary Club Member Policy:
- The 4-H Member from a surrounding county is encouraged to join their home county's program first. If special circumstances exist that make it a burden to participate in their home county, the member must request in writing their reason for wanting to join Cole County's program.
- Project Leaders will determine if there is room to accommodate the youth.
- If accepted, the member must complete the following steps:
- Join a Cole County 4-H club as a second club in 4HOnline
- Pay Cole County dues plus any club dues
- Participate in Cole County fundraisers
(Adopted May 2015; effective October 2015)
Cole County Club in Good Standing Policy:
- Club must hold minimum of four meetings
- Special Interest Clubs: Must have 2 members
- Community Clubs: Must have 5 members from 3 families (Adopted February 2016; effective October 2016)
- Must have at least 1 recognized club leader and at least 1 recognized project leader who conducts a meeting and provides a minimum of 6 hours of instruction.
- 4-H Member and Volunteer records must be entered in enrollment system in a timely manner (Re-enrollment completed by Jan. 1st)
- Plan, Implement and Evaluate a community service project.
- Turn in club audit packet by due date.
- Participate in rotation of countywide committees and fundraisers.
- Appoint a representative to attend 50% of 4-H Council meetings
Clubs not adhering to these policies will have their charter revoked. (Adopted May 2015; effective October 2015)
Be a 4-H volunteer
Adult volunteers are essential to 4-H. Adult volunteers serve as club or project leaders, help with county or regional events, chair committees and organize fundraisers. You don't have to be a parent or grandparent of the 4-H member to get involved. All volunteers are screened for child abuse and neglect, as well criminal records, before they are accepted and each year thereafter. As a volunteer, University of Missouri Extension will provide you with training so you will be well-prepared and successful as an adult leader. The orientation includes information on 4-H history and the educational framework, the characteristics of age groups, character development and safety.
Steps to become a Cole County 4-H Volunteer:
- Enroll in 4HOnline (Missouri's 4-H Enrollment Database). Documentation of a volunteer applicant's full contact information, desired volunteer role and agreement with Missouri 4-H policies (e.g., Confidentiality, Youth Protection) is done through online enrollment in the Missouri 4HOnline system. Applicants need to set up an adult volunteer profile.
- Complete background checks. All new volunteers must complete the Annual Background Check Consent Form (LG639). The form should be mailed or delivered to the Cole County Extension office. The Missouri 4-H office will send a postcard to volunteer applicants once the screening is successfully completed.
- Attend Volunteer Orientation. This one-time requirement helps new volunteer applicants understand the depth and breadth of the Missouri 4-H Program. In-person training is the best format; however online orientation (and feedback form) is located within 4HOnline. Contact our office for the next in-person session.