4-H Leadership and Citizenship

Change the world. Change your community.

Through citizenship, leadership and community service learning activities, young people learn how their actions (such as voting, participating in community service activities, writing letters to their legislators and taking action on an issue important to them) can help them understand how to make a difference. In the process, they learn life skills, understand themselves, learn to learn, communicate better, make positive decisions and learn to get along and work well with both youth and adults.

Michigan 4-H is proud to be a leader in citizenship, leadership & service!

4-H Leadership

Teen leadershipLeadership skills can be learned and developed through the many opportunities 4-H has to offer. 4-H’ers learn about leadership and practice those skills through activities such as taking part in 4-H club meetings, presenting information at various events, designing and implementing activities for younger youth and carrying out community service projects as individuals or with a group. 4-H teaches youth the life skills necessary to effectively lead others. These important life skills will be used in jobs, in careers, in service clubs, in communities and in daily activities as an adult.

By taking part in 4-H, young people can acquire the leadership life skills they need to take responsibility for their actions and to work with others in achieving individual and group goals. In a 4-H leadership project, youth gain experience in understanding themselves, communicating, getting along with other, learning to learn, making decisions and managing and working with group.

The 4-H Teen Leadership Project

An excellent way for 4-H’ers to discover what makes a leader successful is to become involved with a 4-H teen leadership project. 4-H teen leaders doing a 4-H teen leadership project can choose to take on a leadership role defined by themselves and their chosen adult advisor, which involves more responsibility, time and work. 4-H teen leaders who have been involved in developing their leadership skills for some time can expand their experience by taking on a specific project. The 4-H teen leadership project allows teens to actively participate in project planning, become involved in leadership tasks, and help younger 4-H members learn by example. 4-H teen leaders who are involved in a 4-H teen leadership project have different requirements and complete the 4-H Teen Leadership Project Guide, which allows teens to discuss and reflect upon their project plan and project goals. 4-H offers opportunities for 4-H teens to become leaders by practicing the skills they are learning. See the 4-H Teen Leadership publication to learn more.

Citizenship Washington Focus

Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) is an opportunity for 4-H youth (age 14-19) to spend an entire week in Washington, DC; including a stop in Gettysburg.

 For 2017, our dates are June 24 - July 1.  PLEASE NOTE: This is immediately after 4-H Exploration Days.

 The cost for the trip this year will be $1380.  This includes transportation, lodging, and most meals.

 Important Dates:

  •  November 15: $300 deposit due. Interested delegates must contact their local MSU Extension office for registration details.
  •  January 15: Additional $700 of payment is due, and along with a completed online registration form, that will be emailed to each approved delegate along with a packet of forms.
  •  March 15: Additional $380 final payment is due.

Promotional Materials:

World Food Prize - Michigan Youth Institute

Michigan youth lead the way to feed a hungry planet!

The World Food Prize – Michigan Youth Institute is an experience designed to inspire and engage youth as the next generation of researchers, scholars, policymakers, and leaders in addressing the topic of global food security.  Michigan high school students will select, research and write a paper about a global food security topic in a developing country of their choice.  Students will present their research to peers and experts, and experience how Michigan State University leads the way in addressing global food security, during an exciting day on the campus of MSU on May 11, 2017.  The youth with the best research projects will be eligible to represent Michigan at the World Food Prize - Global Youth Institute in Des Moines, Iowa (October, 2017) and may qualify to apply for scholarships and prestigious paid internships which will have them working side-by-side with leading food security researchers in the United States or around the world! 

The World Food Prize - Michigan Youth Institute is the result of a partnership between the World Food Prize, MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MSU Extension, Michigan 4-H and Michigan FFA

New Curriculum Published!

4-H Backpack to Adventure: Youth Leaders in a Global World is an innovative, competency-driven and research-based curriculum from Michigan State University Extension. It is designed for adult and teen volunteers, parents, professionals and others to use in working with young people aged 9 to 19 to develop the knowledge and skills they need to become youth leaders in an interconnected, global environment.

The learning activities are appropriate for use in nonformal educational settings such as 4-H clubs and groups, after-school and out-of-school programs, home school classes, school enrichment programs and camps.  The activities can also be used in classrooms. 

Unique featuresBackpack to Adventure logo of this flexible curriculum include:

  • The “4-H Backpacks to Adventure” that young people create either on their own or in teams.
  • A focus on five competencies (5Cs) that young people will need to become leaders – locally and globally – in a globalized, rapidly changing and interconnected world. The 5Cs are character, citizenship, communication, creativity and culture.
  • A “Resource Matrix” that shows which of the 5Cs are addressed in each activity and that links to many more learning opportunities.
  • The activities are matched to the 2010 National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.

You don’t have to be a leadership or international studies expert to work with young people using this curriculum.  For more information about using this curriculum, including information about upcoming trainings, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  The curriculum is available in either print or electronic format from the MSU Extension Bookstore

Backpack to Adventure Youth Promotional Flyer

Backpack to Adventure Volunteer Promotional Flyer

Backpack to Adventure Promotional Bookmarks

“The challenges that face the world today – from global poverty and climate change to financial systems and conflict – require globally minded solutions. Global competency skills are necessary so that young people can invent a future that appropriately addresses global challenges.”
– van Fleet & Winthrop, 2010

Advisory Group Materials

Sample Bylaws:

Other Resources


For more information on how to get involved as a youth or volunteer, contact your county MSU Extension office or:

Janelle Stewart, Leadership and Civic Engagement Work Group Co-Chair
Phone: 517-264-5300
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Brian Wibby, Leadership and Civic Engagement Work Group Co-Chair
Phone: 906-475-5731
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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