Tracy Behnken

Tracy Behnken

What is 4-H?

Lots of things. 4-H is fun. 4-H is for all youth ages 5-19. 4-H is for adults (as enrolled leaders). 4-H is part of the Nebraska Extension; (UNL) Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources; and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)-United States Department of Agriculture.

Non-formal education

4-H is a non-formal practical, learn-by-doing educational program for youth ages 8-18 years old on January 1 of the current year. In addition, the 4-H Clover Kid program is for youth age 5-7 years old on Jan. 1 of the current year and participate in non-competitive activities and events.


4-H is education for life that uses a learn-by-doing approach which enables young people to learn what is useful to them. It enables then to adapt what they learn to everyday life through action and reflection. 4-H gives youth the opportunity to experience a sense of accomplishment and success, key ingredients to gaining positive self-esteem.

A family affair

4-H is a family affair. 4-H’ers and family members are encouraged to attend meetings together. Working on projects can take place at home, in the yard or around the kitchen table with guidance from parents, siblings, a neighbor, friend or other adult. 4-H members need the support and encouragement of their families. Growing together through 4-H enhances family strengths.

4-H mission statement

To develop youth and volunteers by utilizing the knowledge base of the land-grant university system. Through non-formal education, participants will acquire knowledge, develop life skills and strengthen values that enable them to become increasing self-directing, productive, contributing citizens.

Practical skills

4-H participants learn practical skills within curriculum areas of animal sciences; communications and expressive arts; consumer and family sciences; environmental education and earth sciences; healthy living; leadership, citizenship and personal development; plant sciences; and science, engineering and technology. With over 150 4-H projects from which to choose, 4-H provides opportunity for a variety of interests.

Life skills

Other skills that are defined as life skills are a part of every 4-H project. A life skill can be defined as "an ability that is necessary and useful throughout life." These skills include the "thinking," "doing," and "feeling" abilities used in many situations. The life skills learned through 4-H are those which contribute positively to productive, healthy and competent lives. They include:


Thinking critically: Having curiosity about our world and the desire and ability to learn more about something of interest.

Solving problems: Consider a problem, make a decision, see how the decision affects others and take responsibility for the decision.


Respecting self, others and the environment: Knowing what is unique or special about oneself, others and the environment.

Communicating: Learning how to give and receive messages appropriately.


Preparing for a career: Exploring career opportunities and developing skills for them.

Serving Others: Recognizing each person has a responsibility to the community.


Healthy lifestyles: Learn what is good for mind and body and practice those things.

Managing Change and Challenges: Able to adapt and function in a changing world.

More information and enrolling in 4-H

For more information about 4-H in Washington County, go to:

For details about enrolling youth by the June 15 deadline, go to:

For details about enrolling as an adult volunteer by the June 15 deadline, go to:

For questions, contact the Washington County 4-H Staff by email at or by phone at 402-426-9455.

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