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To develop youth and adults working with those youth to realize their full potential - becoming effective, contributing citizens through participation in research-based, non-formal, hands-on educational experiences.
Four-H is the youth development education program of Virginia Cooperative Extension. Four-H is committed to assisting youth, and those adults working with them, in acquiring the knowledge, life skills, and attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, contributing, and productive members of society. The central theme of 4-H education is "learn by doing."
Four-H participants are all youth, age 5 to 19, taking part in programs provided as the result of actions planned and initiated by Extension personnel in cooperation with volunteers. Four-H is characterized as being community centered, volunteer led, extension staff supervised, research based, home and family oriented, publicly and privately funded and responsive to change.
This informal education program is conducted by our state land-grant universities (Virginia Tech and Virginia State), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. The land-grant university system consists of teaching, research, and extension education. The Cooperative Extension Service was established by the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 for the purpose of serving the needs of people throughout the state and nation.
Extension 4-H programs are a partnership involving local residents, volunteers, private support, three levels of government, and universities. Four-H is the only nationwide youth education program that is an extension of the knowledge resources of a university system.
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