4-H creates opportunities for youth to thrive

North Dakota State University Extension

Last year, more than 24,000 youth participated in North Dakota 4-H learning experiences, and approximately 3,000 enrolled adult volunteers helped deliver those programs. The youth learned through hands-on projects in the areas of health, science, agriculture and civic engagement in clubs, afterschool programs, school enrichment and camping opportunities.

“Through participation in 4-H programming, North Dakota youth gain essential skills to thrive, lead and change the world,” says Leigh Ann Skurupey, North Dakota State University Extension assistant director for the Center for 4-H Youth Development.

In a survey of North Dakota 4-H members, 75% of youth agree with the statement, “Because of 4-H, I am comfortable being a leader.” Nine of 10 also indicate that 4-H has inspired them to volunteer in their communities.

In recognition of the impact 4-H has in the state, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum proclaimed Oct. 2-8 National 4-H Week in the state. The theme for this year’s National 4-H Week is Opportunity 4 All.

Morton County 4-H members gather at the Morton County Fair.

“4-H believes that all youth have valuable strengths and influence to change the world, but not all youth have the same opportunities to use their talents,” says Karla Meikle, NDSU Extension agent in Morton County. “The organization is working at the state and national level to help close the opportunity gaps young people face in education, mental health and social inequalities.”

“It’s not too late to find a 4-H club and register in your county,” says Skurupey. “Contact your local county office of NDSU Extension to learn more.”

In addition to becoming a 4-H member, youth can participate in 4-H camps, afterschool programs and school enrichment opportunities. Join 4-H by contacting your local county office of NDSU Extension or visiting

4-H is the largest research-based youth development organization in the nation, serving more than six million youth. It is a program of the nation’s Cooperative Extension System. In North Dakota, 4-H is conducted under the direction of NDSU and NDSU Extension.