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4-H True Leaders in Service - Community Service & Service Learning Experiences

This April, as part of True Leaders in Service and National Volunteer Appreciation Month, 4-H'ers are putting their pledge into action, "I hands to larger service...". This year, more than any other since the National 4-H Day of Service was implemented, our communities and country are in need of service and 4-H members, families and clubs have been stepping up to provide that support. 

We ask that all 4-H members, families, and clubs register the service outreach efforts they have conducted or plan to conduct during the months of March, April, May and June that demonstrate their support of their communities. This registration form provides a spot to identify if planned service experiences were or will be conducted as a 4-H club, a 4-H family, or an individual 4-H member service project. We know many club conduct multiple service outreach efforts and we encourage you to register and report on all of those efforts.

While the Community Service Categories that are identified in this registration process align with all of our programming outreach areas, we are encouraging 4-H clubs to consider focusing on one of the Illinois 4-H Statewide service focus areas that align with the statewide efforts identified here.


4-H Club engagement in service is a valued part of the Illinois Extension 4-H experience for thousands of youth each year and teaches valuable lessons. There is a tremendous need for service to support the physical and mental health of our communities so we do want to provide safe ways in which 4-H clubs and members can provide those services. A box is provided in the registration form for you to check that you WILL adhere to the health and safety guidelines provided. Projects that involve individuals gathering or meeting together are not an option at this time.

Planning Your Service Experience

While the Community Service Categories that are identified in this registration process align with all of our programming outreach areas, we are encouraging 4-H clubs to consider focusing on service that align with:

  • Global Citizenship, Family Support & Community Improvement -
    • Family Care Kits for Families Experiencing Extended Hospital Stays - Illinois 4-H State Supported Service Outreach
      • Join Illinois 4-H Youth in Action Award Winner Elizabeth Weidner in helping to ensure families of pediatric cancer patients have essential supplies needed for extended hospital stays. Think of items a family may not have when they arrive at a hospital and realize they are there for an extended stay. Your 4-H club can secure donations from community members, purchase sample size items or reach out to local hotels for a donation of items they provide for guests. Key is to secure small sample size items, not large boxes or bottles that are not easy for a hospital, care facility or family support facility such as a Ronald McDonald House to store. You are looking for smaller one or two time use items.
        • Self-care items - shampoo/conditioner; shaving cream; toothbrush & toothpaste; mouthwash; deodorant; comb; small brush; baby wash; hand sanitizer; travel size tissue packets; etc.
        • Snack items - pre-packaged individual based snacks; crackers; cookies; cereals; oatmeal; chocolates; hard candies; teas; coffee; creamer; sugar; artificial sweetener packets; hot chocolate; etc.

Elizabeth has created a platform called Crowns Fight Cancer through which she has advocated for cancer awareness for years. As a Stage IV Neuroblastoma Cancer Warrior, she and her family know first-hand the challenges of being far from home and not having the resources they need easily accessible. They successfully worked with the Children's Miracle Network Hospital of St. Louis (Cardinal Glennon, Children's) to provide these resources. We encourage you to reach out to facilities in your area - hospitals, care facilities, and/or family support sites such as a Ronald McDonald House to make arrangements for them to receive the donations, or contact Pat McGlaughlin,, at the State 4-H Office if you need assistance.

  • Global Citizenship, Family Support & Community Improvement
    • COVID Support you can provide during this time while still operating under COVID safety guidelines
      • Making cards for residents at local Senior Centers
      • Create short videos, which highlight talents club members may have in the Creative Arts area. You can share the short videos with Senior Center staff who coordinates activity outreach or plans special events for residents.
      • Use your project learning skills to create a video in which you demonstrate creating an exhibit, fitting an animal, training a pet, etc., during which you explain what you are doing. This may spark memories of pets they had or skills they also learned as a young person. Share the videos with the Senior Center staff coordinating center activities.
      • Involve club members in developing hands-on simple 4-H learning experiences you can share with families. Club members can assemble the kits; create instructions for completing the activity; provide some processing questions for the parents to discuss with their kids and provide a handout with information about the 4-H club.
  • Food Security & Gardening
    • Participate in a Food Drive Challenge - Illinois 4-H Food Advocacy Team Supported Service Outreach
    • The Illinois Food Advocacy Team is supporting a project with a goal of collecting 1,500 items for food pantries in Illinois during April. Whether your club collects a few items or many items, you will be contributing to make an impact on Illinois food insecurity. Here is how to participate:
      • Collect donations of non-perishable items from your kitchen, friends, family or the local grocery store
      • Take a picture with your donations and post it on Facebook or Instagram tagging the IL Food Advocacy Team page and including the number of items; what you collected, and what Food Pantry you donated to.
      • If you have specific questions about the 4-H Food Advocacy Team Food Drive Challenge reach out to

For resources to help you in your planning – look at what is available under Community Service Resources 


Join 4-H clubs across the country for the National Day of Service April 24, 2021. 

4-H isn't something you do alone. Once you sign up as a 4-H member, you'll choose a local 4-H club to join. All the magic happens in a local 4-H Club. It's the glue that holds the 4-H family together. There are more than 1,600 clubs all across Illinois, so there is one close to where you live.

What is a 4-H Club?

A club is a group of five or more 4-H members. Each club has adult volunteer leaders who help members in their 4-H journey. Members meet together as a club at least six times during the year. During club meetings, 4-H members learn new skills, such as speaking in public, working together as a team, and making decisions. Members help out in their communities. Members lead activities while they practice the skills they'll need in school and careers.

What are some of the things you'll do in a Club?

That's really up to you, the members! Members vote on the things they do as a 4-H club. You may choose to plant flowers at a local park, or visit your local police headquarters. You may choose to have a robotics demonstration or tour an historic museum. You may choose to build rockets and launch them. Many clubs also go on social outings with the friends in their clubs. There's no way to list all the things you can do in your 4-H club because there's no limit to your imagination.

There are three different types of clubs

Multi-Project Clubs, Special Interest Clubs, and Cloverbud Clubs

  • In a multi-project club, you'll learn how business meetings run as you build leadership skills. Often clubs members elect officers who serve in special leadership roles to guide their club and help members make decisions. Members work on their projects independently outside of club meeting time. Because they work on projects individually, you can choose from nearly 50 project categories. These clubs are open to any youth who was at least 8 years old but not yet 19 on September 1, 2020.
  • In a special interest club, the focus of the club meetings is on one specific project which members are all interested in, and most of the meeting is spent developing new skills that help you become very good in that one project area. In special interest clubs, you work on your project as a group as you improve your team-building and problem-solving skills. There are lots of opportunities for teens to mentor younger youth and share what they know. Some popular special interest clubs study robotics, cooking, shooting sports, and dozens of other topics. These clubs are open to any youth who was at least 8 years old but not yet 19 on September 1, 2021.
  • In a Cloverbud club, membership is reserved for kids who were 5 to 7 years of age on September 1. The focus of Cloverbud meetings is to introduce kids all that 4-H has to offer. Cloverbuds work together on projects which are perfect for their young age. Because of their age, there are some elements of the 4-H program which aren't appropriate for Cloverbud members.
That's what's so nice about 4-H ... you decide the way you want to do 4-H.

Where do clubs meet?

4-H clubs meet in lots of places, such as members’ homes, schools, community centers, businesses, military bases, libraries, and other areas in the community where you live. Some people think that 4-H is just for kids who live on farms. That’s just not true! Although 4-H was first concentrated in rural farm areas, membership has changed as families have changed. Illinois 4-H had the biggest membership growth in urban and suburban areas last year, and we keep getting stronger and stronger. Although some 4-H members own livestock animals, lots of members choose other projects such as aerospace, visual arts, gardening, photography, or robotics.

Are you ready to join a 4-H club?

Click the Join 4-H button on this page and your 4-H Adventure will begin.

Are you already a member of a 4-H club?

There are many resources to help you bring your club to a new level of excitement, education, and exploration. Select one of the tabs at the left or choose your topic below.

  • CLICK HERE to download what you need for your Club Meetings.
  • CLICK HERE to download ideas for Community Service Projects.
  • CLICK HERE to download required Fiscal Documents.
  • CLICK HERE to download important forms for your Club Activities.
  • CLICK HERE to download enrollment forms for your Club Members.

We welcome all young people.

Any youth, regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, or disability may enroll as a 4-H member. A youth who enrolls in a 4-H club must attend at least one meeting, tour, workshop or other activity of that club to be called a 4-H member. And, 4-H members must be enrolled in at least one project. A young person can be a member of multiple 4-H clubs within a county in Illinois. Youth are expected to join the 4-H program in the county where they live.