Massachusetts 4-H

About 4-H

Massachusetts 4-H is a youth development program open to all young people ages 5 through 18 throughout the Commonwealth. It is part of a nationwide system connected to each land-grant institution of higher education and as such, has access to a wealth of resources and curriculum. In Massachusetts, 4-H is based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has offices in seven regions of the state.

Based on the Eight Essential Elements of Positive Youth Development, 4-H helps young people learn life skills under the guidance of trained, screened volunteers in non-formal educational settings such as clubs, camps and afterschool programs. These Essential Elements can also be viewed as the Five “C’s” – Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character and Caring.  When young people work on these characteristics they demonstrate a Sixth “C”: Contribution to self, family, community and the institutions of a civil society.

The Eight Essential Elements are:

  • A positive relationship with a caring adult.
  • A safe environment.
  • An inclusive environment.
  • Engagement in learning.
  • Opportunity for mastery.
  • Opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future.
  • Opportunity for self-determination.
  • Opportunity to value and practice service for others.

For over 100 years, Massachusetts 4-H has been providing young people the opportunity to do that work, to work on their personal growth and development in a positive environment. Research shows that 4-H members are likely to excel in school, lead their peers and give to their communities. Massachusetts 4-H is a great place to be!