What is 4-H?
4-H is a national organization for youth ages 5-18 to learn life skills through hands-on project-based work. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension conducts the most successful out-of-school educational program in Maine. As the youth development arm of UMaine Extension, 4-H has always emphasized the importance of building the life skills needed to be successful adults. Today, 4-H also is focused on science and technology to help foster interest in these areas as avenues to successful careers. 4-H makes science fun and exciting for everyone. 4-H in Cumberland County offers many different clubs for a variety of ages and interests, as well as many short-term Summer clubs, one time workshops in science, crafts, and more, and enrichment programs for libraries and afterschool programs.
Below are some commonly asked questions about 4-H. To learn more about 4-H in Cumberland County you may email our 4-H Staff at extension.4-HCumberland@maine.edu, or call us with any questions at 207.781.6099.
Q: What does it cost to participate in 4-H?
Short Answer: Free, mostly
A: 4-H is generally free. A majority of our county-wide events (Winterfest, Fashion Revue, True Leaders in Service, etc.) are free. Most of our special programs (Maker Mondays, Summer Special Interest Clubs) are free or very low cost. There is no annual signup fee paid to the UMaine Extension Office for 4-H club participation. Clubs may choose to charge dues which can be on a meeting by meeting basis, or annually, but generally should not exceed $20 for the year. We pride ourselves on being accessible to all and do not want money to be a barrier to participation, particularly at the club level, so please speak with one of our staff or your club leader if finances are an issue.
Q: What is a Cloverbud?
Short Answer: Five to eight-year-old 4-H members
A: The purpose of the five to eight-year-old Cloverbud program is to introduce young 4-H members to the full range of 4-H project areas. Cloverbud “sampler” activities let them learn a variety of topics and skills that provide immediate positive feedback. Cloverbuds can participate in 4-H activities but are limited to non-competitive activities and they cannot exhibit large animals. Some of Cumberland County’s large animal clubs have activities for Cloverbuds to participate in and some do not. The focus of the Cloverbud program is to emphasize cooperation over competition.
Q: When is the best time to register for a 4-H Club and how?
Short Answer: October – December of each year
A: The 4-H year starts October 1st and ends September 30th of each year making Fall the easiest time to signup. The re-enrollment period for current members is October – December. New members must join by April 1st of each year in order for that year to count as a full 4-H year, and for the member to be able to participate in certain events such as the Cumberland Fair.
Q: Who do I contact for more information about a 4-H club or program in Cumberland County?
A: Our 4-H Staff at extension.4-HCumberland@maine.edu, or call us with any questions at 207.781.6099, Press 4 for 4-H.
Q: I was in 4-H in another state, how is 4-H in Cumberland County the same or different? OR I’m brand new to 4-H and I don’t understand some of the terms or events everyone is referring to?
A: For more information about 4-H specifically in Cumberland County please visit our handy “So You’re New to 4-H in Cumberland County” guide! This guide has detailed information about terms such as Camperships, Cloverbuds, Record Sheets, and information about county and state events such as Fashion Revue, Maine 4-H Days, CWF, and more.
Q: I do not see a club that fits my family’s interest areas, what can I do?
Short Answer: Become an Independent 4-H member or better yet, start your own club because chances are there are others out there interested in the same topic.
A: Independent 4-H members have planned learning activities which occur independently of a formal group setting such as a club. Activities are self-directed, usually with limited adult involvement except from parents or a mentor. Independent members are expected to complete specific requirements and are encouraged to participate in county, state, and national events.
If you are over 18 and interested in starting your own 4-H club for youth you must first become a 4-H certified volunteer which generally takes a total of 8 hours to complete and can be done mostly at your own pace. After that you will need to pick a meeting space, club topic, day, and time for meetings. Starting a club is a great option for those who want to explore a topic we do not already have a club about, and for those who want the experience of learning and having fun with a group.