4-H programs are offered on an age-appropriate basis to youth, ages 5-18. This is the general age requirement for 4-H participation. On occasion, multi-state and national 4-H programs and events may use different age criteria and will be adhered to as necessary to qualify for participation.
Age classifications for 4-H club members are:
Ages are as of January 1 of the current 4-H year, which spans from September through August. Here are some examples for clarification:
4-H is always looking for new volunteers and 4-H alumni make great 4-H leaders. Once someone ages out of the participation ages, a wide variety of 4-H volunteer opportunities await them.
All 4-H programs and activities shall be offered on an age-appropriate basis that should consider the mental and physical readiness of youth, availability of suitable curriculum materials, adequate supervision, and the health and safety of participants.
4-H Cloverbuds are limited to participation in non-competitive activities. Ideally, separate, age-appropriate learning activities should be offered to 4-H Cloverbuds that may eventually lead to their participation in full-fledged competitive events when they are at least nine years of age. However, if Cloverbuds are part of a competitive event involving older youth, they shall not be judged and will receive only recognition of participation (such as a green ribbon, small prize or token).
For more information about 4-H Age & Cloverbud Participation Policy, refer to 4-H Cloverbuds: 4-H for Younger Members in the 4-H Leader Training Series (PDF 449 kB).