Merrimack County 4-H: Something for Everyone
4-H is the community for everyone. We do it all – we are in the woods, on the farm, on the shooting range, in the garden, making, stitching, engineering, building, leading through service, climbing mountains, and always reaching new horizons.
In 4-H, youth complete hands-on projects in areas like agriscience, STEM, healthy living, and citizenship. 4-H’ers receive guidance from adult mentors and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles.
Our program is structured in the form of community Clubs and afterschool programs, county-wide events, and SPINs (short-term programs designed around a SPecific INterest). Whether you are looking to join a tight-knit group that meets routinely (a community Club), be casually involved in something fun and positive (SPINs), or anywhere in between, your children can work on projects in areas of their interest, expand their level of understanding, and build relationships that will last a lifetime.
The 4-H Basics
What is 4-H?
4-H is America’s largest youth development organization. The purpose of 4-H is to provide a supportive setting for all youth to pursue the projects and interests they love, all while serving the community and gaining valuable life skills.
What do the 4 H’s in 4-H mean?
The 4 H’s stand for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. Our organization’s title is directly connected to our pledge:
"I pledge ... my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, and my Health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world."
How old do you have to be to join 4-H?
Our programs are primarily geared towards youth ages 8-18. However, we have ways for your 5-7-year-olds to participate as a “Cloverbud.” If you are older than 18 and still want to express the 4-H spirit, you can take advantage of our many volunteer opportunities.
How do I find my local county 4-H program?
New Hampshire 4-H is the youth development program of UNH Cooperative Extension, and our 10 County 4-H Programs in New Hampshire serving youth from all over the state. 4-H operates on many levels of the community. There are events, programs, workshops, and opportunities on both the County level and the State level (even the National level). Get started by finding your County 4-H Program here. Your county program is usually the county where you live, but if you are planning to join a 4-H club in a different county, that county program will be your home base.
How do I find a local 4-H Club?
The list of Clubs and Afterschool Programs on your County 4-H Program page is a great place to start. To get connected with a club, complete our 4-H interest form, and a 4-H staff member will be in touch to find out more about your interests and put you in touch with a Club Leader that fits your interests and location.
Who leads 4-H Clubs?
The best people in the world lead 4-H Clubs. No joke! 4-H Volunteers lead Clubs, and you can be sure they are truly invested in giving their attention and skills to your children because they do it for free. 4-H nationally gets over a billion dollars of time and expertise from our Volunteers every year. Why on earth would they do that? Because giving your children skills and opportunities is incredibly rewarding for them, and 4-H supports and empowers them to make the maximum impact possible. All 4-H Volunteers are supported by a professional staff, including your County 4-H Program Manager and Field Specialists who are University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension staff members.
What are 4-H Club meetings like?
4-H youth work on projects of all kinds within four general program pathways: Agricultural Science, Civic Engagement, Healthy Living, and STEM. Some Clubs specifically focus on one of these pathways. Other Clubs generally dabble in all four. Youth have opportunities to present and showcase their projects at the county fairs and other county, state, and regional events – but most of the learning and skill development happens in the Clubs. 4-H Club members build leadership by electing officers and conducting their own business meetings, work together on community service activities, meet new friends, and of course, have lots of fun.
What if I don’t necessarily want to join a club?
There are still many ways to be involved! 4-H is committed to bringing you programs wherever you are, and maybe joining a Club is not for you at this time. Youth and families who want to attend county-wide events and SPINs or work on 4-H projects independently are recognized as “independent members” or “participants”. Find a 4-H event near you or contact us to get started as a 4-H independent member.
How do I officially enroll in 4-H?
4-H Online is our official enrollment database. Registering in 4-H Online allows you to manage your 4-H clubs and projects, register your 4-H animals, and sign up for events. Enrollment as a club member or participant is required to register for your county events and SPINs. If you need help enrolling, check out our Enrollment Guide for NH Families.
How do I get involved as a 4-H volunteer?
There are many different kinds of opportunities to support 4-H through volunteering – see all of them here. To volunteer as a Club leader, project leader, or SPIN facilitator, there is a volunteer application and onboarding process. We are here to get you started and guide you through it – start by completing the 4-H Volunteer Application online.
Can parents be involved in 4-H Clubs?
Parents can and should be involved in 4-H Clubs. Speak to the Club Leader to define the best role for you!
How do I start a local 4-H group?
Screened 4-H Volunteers can start a 4-H group aka “Club.” There is a more involved orientation process for Club Organizational Leaders that is designed to bring their vision into reality and highlight the extra responsibilities. We are here to get you started and guide you through it – start by completing the 4-H Volunteer Application online.
There are many opportunities to participate in 4-H!
Join a Club
Many 4-H’ers choose to join a local or countywide Club, which provides opportunities to make new friends, learn from volunteer adult leaders, and gain skills in many project areas. Take a look at the list below of clubs currently active in our county and then contact us to let us know if there are any clubs you might be interested in checking out, and we will put you in touch with the club leaders.
Join as an Independent Member
Maybe you’re not necessarily interested in joining a club at this time, and that’s OK! 4-H is committed to bringing you programs wherever you are. Youth and families who attend county-wide events and SPINs or work on 4-H projects independently are recognized as Independent Members.
Find an Event
At the county level we also offer several county-wide events that you can casually attend and enjoy. County-wide “SPINs” are Special Interest courses that are implemented like fieldtrips or workshops and introduce you to a new hobby or project area, or scaffold more advanced concepts in favorite project areas. Check out our Events Calendar to find a short-term program that might interest you!
If you are interested in volunteering with our county 4-H, there are many ways to get involved. Take a look our Volunteer Information to find out how you can participate, whether you are looking for the occasional opportunity to volunteer or a more extensive commitment.
Interested in joining a 4-H Club in Merrimack County? Connect with us to get started.
4-H offers a wide variety of opportunities for all youth between the ages of 5-18. The 4-H Program is open to all interested youth and adults regardless of age, race, religion, color, sex, creed, national origin, handicap, sexual orientation or veteran's status. Expectations for 4-H membership are a balance between 4-H project work, involvement in local 4-H groups or clubs, participation in 4-H activities and events, and working towards improving one's personal growth. You can enroll in 4-H anytime, but September and October start the 4-H year.
What do I have to do to enroll my child in 4-H?
- Know the age requirement: youth must be between 5-18 years old before January 1st.
- Know your child’s interests, to help select a club that is the right fit for you and your family.
- Select a club that interests you from the list below and contact us for more information about the club and how to get in touch with the club leader.
- After selecting a club and speaking with their club leader you must enroll your child in 4-H by using 4HOnline.
Minimum Yearly Member Requirements
- Officially enroll and complete one project and learning experience annually (minimum 6 hours).
- Regular attendance at 4-H club meetings
- Determine and set project goals with leader and volunteer assistance.
- Participate in a community service citizenship, health/safety project and/or a communication project
What can you do to participate with your child?
4-H is a family affair offering opportunities where child and parent participate with many common interests which lead to strengthening family ties. Think about serving as a resource volunteer by completing the application and screening process.
For more information on 4-H clubs in our county and how to join contact us for more information!
Horse, Community Service
Arts & Crafts, Breads, Community Service, Entomology, Heritage Arts, Communications, Outdoor Education, Photography, Public Speaking
Arts & Crafts, Citizenship/Government, Community Service, Horse, Veterinary Science
Leadership, Robotics/Other Engineering
Arts & Crafts, Career Exploration, Citizenship/Government, Community Service, Foods & Nutrition, Leadership, Textiles & Clothing
Beef, Animal Science, Photography
Community Service, Communications, Public Speaking, Swine
Community Service, Dairy Goat ,Meat Goat, Communications, Public Speaking
Alpaca & Llama, Arts & Crafts, Beef, Beekeeping, Bicycle, Breads, Camping, Career Exploration, Child Care, Citizenship/Government, Community Service, Consumer Education, Dairy, Dairy Foods, Dairy Goat, Dog, Electricity/Energy, Entomology, First Aid, Fishing, Flower Gardening, Food Preservation, Foods & Nutrition, Forestry, Fruit Production, Health & Fitness, Heritage Arts, Hobbies & Collections, Home Environment, Horse, House Plants/Indr Grdng, Leadership, Money Management, Ornt Hort/Flowers, Animal Science, Family/Cons Science, Healthy Living, Horticulture, Outdoor Education, Personal Development, Photography, Plant & Soil Science, Poultry, Public Speaking, Rabbits/Cavies, Robotics/Other Engineering, Safety, Small Engine/ATV/Snow, Swine, Textiles & Clothing, Veget Grdn/Fruit/Food Pro, Water Resources, Wildlife, Wind Power, Wood Working/Indus. Arts, Working Steer
Cloverbuds (Exploring 4-H)
Animal Science, Community Service, Horse, Other Animal Science, Poultry, Small Animal
Community Service, Dog, Public Speaking
Arts & Crafts, Community Service, Consumer Education, Foods & Nutrition, Health & Fitness, Heritage Arts, Leadership, Communications, Healthy Living, Public Speaking, Textiles & Clothing
There are countless ways to support Merrimack County 4-H, and no way too small. Thank you for considering supporting the important work we are doing in any of these ways.
WHAT IS THE 4-H FOUNDATION?
The 4-H Foundation is a non-profit charitable trust fund foundation whose purpose is to deal with, manage, expend, invest and reinvest the funds of the Foundation, principle and reserve. It is made up of members of the community who volunteer time to support 4-H and the youth in their community. The group meets one night per month in January, March, May, July, September and November.
HOW DOES THE FOUNDATION GET IT'S RESOURCES?
Foundation funds come from:
- Gift Contributions
- 4-H Club Contributions
- Memorial Contributions
- Fund Stewardship
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE FOUNDATION?
- Assist with 4-H Club work
- Receive, hold, and maintain gifts, bequeaths, and contributions given to Merrimack County 4-H
- To spend, invest and reinvest funds of the 4-H Foundation
- To administer for others special funds for various purposes, as may be agreed upon by the Foundation, that will best meet the needs and advance the interest of 4-H and other youth throughout Merrimack County.
WHAT ARE FOUNDATION RESOURCES USED FOR?
- 4-H Camp Scholarships
- Higher Education Scholarships
- Special Grants/Awards
- Leader Forum/Leader Training
- Pins & Seals for Achievement Nights
- Career Trips
WHO BENEFITS FROM FOUNDATION RESOURCES?
- 4-H Youth through scholarships for various youth development opportunities as well as higher education scholarships.
- 4-H Leaders through Leader Forum Scholarships and scholarships for other educational programs they may wish to attend
- 4-H Clubs through special grants and Achievement Night recognition.
FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR CLUB COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS OR CLUB CAREER TRIPS!
Do you have a community service project your club wants to do, but you need the money to make it happen? The 4-H Foundation of Merrimack County is the group that provides the direction for how private dollars for 4-H in this county are spent. The 15-member board is responsible for funding of scholarships, higher education book awards, special projects, recognition awards for all county events, member and leader recognition, and local achievement nights.
Volunteers play a vital role in the ongoing growth and development of youth in New Hampshire and beyond. Become a 4-H volunteer today and help create life changing experiences for the youth as they become true leaders themselves.
We have a wide variety of ways for you to engage with youth and families in your local communities and beyond. Whether you are looking for the occasional opportunity or an extensive commitment, your impact will be long lasting for New Hampshire youth and families.