Why are Cloverbuds special?
Young people between 5 and 8 years of age experience 4-H in a non-competitive environment and build relationships.
When young people between the ages of 5 and 8 join the 4-H Program we call them Cloverbuds. This special name for 4-Her’s describes those under the traditional age of 9 and is a title they use with pride. The Cloverbud program offers youth ages 5 to 8 the opportunity to belong and experience a great number of adventures. For many of them they participate, not just attend, their first business meeting. Some will even help run the meeting depending on their club leadership structure. In 4-H, we value young people learning, by doing, and try to help them experience things first hand. Cloverbuds may have attended a meeting with a parent or older sibling but to have a say and a real vote, that is exciting for any 5 to 8 year old. According to Michigan State University Extension, youth may serve as junior officers being paired up with a teen officer who can help them learn the ropes of the position.
We suggest that Cloverbuds do not compete, but participate in events, activities and experiences that encourage skill development and cooperation. We recognize them with participation ribbons and prizes that are consistent. Children in this age group are typically very high energy, enjoy learning and need experiences that allow them to continue developing their skills. At this age we try to minimize the risk of failure and maximize the opportunities for success. This is developmentally appropriate for them and allows for their sense of self to be positive in nature. The goal of the Cloverbud program is to expose them to learning opportunities and experiences.
Cloverbuds have the ability to participate in a number of non-livestock projects including some shooting sports. Youth ages 7 and 8 can participate in BB gun and basic archery at the discretion of a certified 4-H instructor; they must be under direct one-on-one supervision when involved in shooting sports.
Cloverbuds and animals can be a recipe for fun when we have set the stage for them to be successful and work to ensure their safety. Many times Cloverbuds use an animal of an older member; however they may have their own. Regardless they must have an adult or older youth with them when working with their animal to assure their safety. The specific guidelines for Cloverbud projects can be found on the MSU Extension website.
Whenever a project is considered for the Cloverbud audience we encourage you to think through the appropriateness of the activity, the skills necessary for them to be successful and what additional factors you need to consider to ensure a safe environment.