Massachusetts 4-H is a youth development program open to all young people ages 5 through 18 throughout the Commonwealth. It is part of a nationwide system connected to each land-grant institution of higher education and as such, has access to a wealth of resources and curriculum. In Massachusetts, 4-H is based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has offices in seven regions of the state.
Based on the Eight Essential Elements of Positive Youth Development, 4-H helps young people learn life skills under the guidance of trained, screened volunteers in non-formal educational settings such as clubs, camps and afterschool programs. These Essential Elements can also be viewed as the Five “C’s” – Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character and Caring. When young people work on these characteristics they demonstrate a Sixth “C”: Contribution to self, family, community and the institutions of a civil society.