Reaching over 6 million children and teens nationwide, 4-H is America’s largest youth development organization. Founded over 100 years ago, 4-H offers a wide variety of programs for young people in the areas of science, agriculture, health and civic engagement. Currently, there is at least one type of 4-H program available in every county and parish across the U.S.
These programs come in the form of school and community clubs, after-school programs, and camps. Delivered by Cooperative Extension- a network of more than 100 public universities in partnership with local communities (made up of 4-H professionals and volunteers), 4-H’s mission is to provide students with hands-on learning experiences, empower them to become leaders, and help improve our world.
Every year, the 4-H Youth in Action Scholarship selects 4 outstanding young leaders in each of the core pillar areas. The core pillars include Agriculture, Civic Engagement, Healthy Living, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics). Applicants can choose to share their story about the contributions they have made in any of these core pillars. For example, if a student chooses to write about their involvement in the Agriculture pillar, their story may include details about how they made an impact while participating in activities such as farming, raising animals, growing crops, or practicing environmental responsibility.
Current 4-H members or recent alumni who are between the ages of 15-19 during the application year are eligible to apply. Finalists will earn a $5,000 scholarship and will be given the chance to serve as a spokesperson for National 4-H Council. As part of the application, students must complete a series of short-answer questions describing how 4-H has impacted them and clearly demonstrate their strong leadership skills in the core pillar of their choice. Applicants are also asked to create a 60-second video that provides an in-depth response to the question, “How has 4-H helped you find your spark?”
The deadline- March 29, 2022- is quickly approaching. Any eligible 4-H member or alumni who is interested in applying before the deadline can find more information about this scholarship here.
As a federal program, 4-H is funded through a variety of public and private sources to support its educational mission. Earlier this year, billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott pledged to donate $50 million to the National 4-H Council. This is the largest single gift in the history of 4-H programs. Undoubtedly, this investment will allow 4-H programs across the country to not only extend their reach and close more opportunity gaps in local communities, but it will also strengthen the quality of the programs they offer young people and better equip them to serve their communities.