Extension's most often recognized or acknowledged youth development program is the classic Missouri 4-H club program.
4-H brings young people ages 5–18 and adults together to learn everyday skills through hands-on learning. Working on activities from animal and plant sciences to robotics, 4-H'ers learn problem-solving skills that can make a positive impact upon their communities. Through 4-H, young people learn to:
- Meet the diverse challenges of today's world
- Build self-confidence
- Learn responsibility
- Make positive decisions
Read more to discover how to become involved in 4-H.
Marion 4-H clubs
4-H clubs are open to ages 8 to 18. Clubs meet monthly for group activities and club business. Each club elects officers and has an approved adult leader who supervises club activities. Club members also enroll in projects in their areas of interest.
With projects on more than 75 topics, 4-H has something to interest every child. Here are just a few of the opportunities 4-H offers — geocaching, robotics, international exchanges, horsemanship, pets, starting a business, arts and crafts, raising animals, woodworking, photography and gardening.
Marion County 4-H clubs include:
- The Coffee Creek 4-H Club, which meets at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month at Philadelphia Community Center.
- The Fabius 4-H Club, which meets at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month at Fabius Community House.
- The Lucky Four 4-H Club, which meets at 4 p.m. on the second Sunday of every month at Immanuel Lutheran School in West Ely.
- The Marion Boosters 4-H Club, which meets 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month at 306 South Main in Palmyra. Find us on Facebook.
- The Mt. Zion Country Clovers 4-H Club, which meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month at the FCS Financial Building in Hannibal. Find us on Facebook.
- The Pleasant Day 4-H Club, which meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of every month at Monroe City Christian Church.
- The Silver Spurs 4-H Club, which meets at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of every month at First Presbyterian Church in Palmyra.
- The Stone 4-H Club, which meets at 7 p.m. on the last Wednesday of every month at the United Methodist Church in Monroe City.
- The Taylor 4-H Club, which meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month in Taylor.
Clover Kids clubs
Clover Kids introduces 5- to 7-year-olds to the 4-H experience. In Clover Kids, children learn how to get along with others, work in groups, explore their interests, while building self-confidence. Clover Kids do not enroll in projects or raise animals, and do not participate in competitive events, contests or shows.
How to join
Joining 4-H is as easy as contacting the extension center. A staff member will explain the enrollment process and membership dues. In addition to dues, some projects may require a small investment to get started, and there may be a fee for materials, trips or other activities.
Young people are welcome to join at any time. The 4-H program year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. Certain activities may have participation deadlines.
Be a 4-H volunteer
Adult volunteers are essential to 4-H. Adult volunteers serve as club or project leaders, help with county or regional events, chair committees and organize fundraisers. You don't have to be a parent or grandparent of the 4-H member to get involved. All volunteers are screened for child abuse and neglect, as well criminal records, before they are accepted and each year thereafter. As a volunteer, University of Missouri Extension will provide you with training so you will be well-prepared and successful as an adult leader. The orientation includes information on 4-H history and the educational framework, the characteristics of age groups, character development and safety.
Table setting is where you choose an occasion, menu, decorations and set the table for one person. Participants will talk one on one to a judge about the decisions made in creating their table setting. You must provide your own card table to set up on.
Collections is where you set up a display of something you collect (examples- rocks, stamps, animal figures, tractors, dolls, or ornaments). Members will participate in a personal interview and be judged on the neatness and creativity of their display, as well as their knowledge of the collection. You must provide your own card table to set up on.
Members participate in an interview, one-on-one with a judge about their 4-H experience. Members will be evaluation on good grooming, posture, and their speaking abilities as they interview.
Open to all members and Clover Kids- enrollment in Photography is not required. Photos must have been taken by the participant after August 1st of the prior year.
- Photos must be 8 X 10's that are mounted on any color of mat. There should not be any writing, stickers, or decorations on the mat. Youth may enter a total of 2 photos.
- Photos will be judged on focus, exposure, lighting, print quality, subject, composition, and uniqueness though an interview with the judge. One winner will be in each category.
- People: A photo of babies, children, or adults, which may include one or more people in the picture. The photo may be a portrait or an action photo and can include animals, but the main subject must be a person.
- Animals: A photo of any animal, which may be taken indoors or outdoor, but the main subject of the picture must be the animal.
- Landscape: A photo of landscape of any type, but may not include people or animals in the scene. The photo may include buildings, scenery, sunsets, clouds, etc.
- Photo Contest Scoring Guide (PDF)
General Demonstration can be on any topic or project area you are enrolled in and show be 5 to 10 minutes in length.
Working Demonstration may be on any topic or project, but the 4-H members works continuously on an item, or showing a particular skill. Members so not give a formal talk while they work, but respond to questions. Members should bring enough material so they can work for about 10 minutes. A poster giving the topic of the demonstration and the member's name can be displayed on the demonstration table. If chosen for the Missouri State Fair, demonstration should last 30 minutes.
Egg Demonstration Demonstration preparing an egg dish and must also include information on eggs, including: nutritional value, preparation, storage, function, grading-sizing, versatility and economics of cooking with eggs. No team demonstrations permitted and demonstrations must not exceed 12 minutes. Recipe must contain 1 whole egg per serving if a salad or main dish, 1/2 egg per serving if an appetizer, snack, dessert or beverage.
International Topic Demonstrations should be 7-10 minutes in length and demonstrates an item made, used or originating from another country. Information should include a lot of information about the place where the item originates and the people who use the item. If the item made is a food item, a copy of the recipe, nutritional information and a sample of the food should be given to judges.
Pork Contest Demonstration may be on any facet or pork, including food, nutrition, production practices, or by-products. Demonstration topics should be challenging and exhibit contestant's knowledge as well as presentation skills. Members must be enrolled in a Foods or Swine project. A team demonstration of two are only allowed in the 8-10 year old division. Live animals may not be used. Time Limit: 20 minutes, including preparation, demonstration and clean up.
Missouri Grown Foods The demonstrator must use a food product grown or made by a Missouri producer or company; provide background information on the producer or company, nutrition and preparation information, and the economics of the food product and the final dish. The demonstrator must present a finished product for judges' sampling and a recipe handout for the judges. The member does not have to be enrolled in a specific project and no team demonstrations are allowed. Time Limit: 7-10 minutes.
Horse Demonstration Demonstrations should be 9-12 minutes in length on a topic that pertains to the horse industry. Major references should be cited after the conclusion of the demonstration. Creative audio visuals may be used, but the contestant must be involved in making or designing them and providing their own equipment. No live animals may be used.
Cooking with Honey The demonstrator must use honey grown or made by a Missouri honey producer or company; provide the honey producer or company's name; give nutrition information; the health benefits of honey and benefits of pollinators. The demonstrator must present a finished product for judges' sampling and a recipe handout for the judges. The member does not have to be enrolled in a specific project. Time Limit: 7-10 minutes.
Prepared Speeches may be on any topic of the participant's choice that are in good taste for a group of peers and adults. Time Limits: Juniors 3-5 minutes, Intermediates 4-6 minutes, and Seniors 5-7 minutes.
Technology Assisted Speeches are much like prepared speeches, but are allowed to use a presentation software like PowerPoint. Time Limits: Juniors 3-5 minutes, Intermediates 4-6 minutes, and Seniors 5-7 minutes.
- Making Your Point: Communicating with PowerPoint (Y2430)(PDF)
- Technology Assisted Public Speaking Scoring Guide (LG243)(PDF)
Extemporaneous Speeches are not prepared in advance. Members draw for topics and prepare the speech at the event. Time Limits: Juniors 3-5 minutes, Intermediates 4-6 minutes, and Seniors 5-7 minutes.
Interpretation memorized performances that take place without music or other external sound effects. Time Limits: 3-5 minutes. Visual aids are not permitted.
- Dramatic: An oral interpretation of a serious selection of narrative or dramatic work. The source material may come from literature, a monologue, a theatrical production or poetry.
- Humorous: A memorized interpretation of a humorous selection (or a humorous interpretation of an oral selection). Source material may come from plays, prose, literature, poetry, or other performance pieces.
- Making Your Point: Communicating Through Pantomime (Y2450)(PDF)
- Interpretation Scoring Guide (LG241)(PDF)
Business Pitch a business pitch quickly generates interest and energetically demonstrates knowledge and persuasion to motivate the listener to reach a decision to act immediately on the information presented. Examples: a "Shark Tank" TV show-style pitch by an entrepreneur about a 4-H made product or service, or a sales presentation made to prospective buyers of a 4-H -raised animal or livestock project. Time Limits: 3-5 minutes.
- Selling Yourself and Your Idea: The Business Pitch in 4-H Public Speaking (PDF)
- 4-H Business Pitch Scoring Guide (LG241)(PDF)
Horse Public Speaking speeches will be prepared on a topic related to the horse industry. Time Limit: 7-10 minutes.
Members will select from scenarios on different topics and rank the options provided based on which is the best answer and then provide a judge with the reasons for your placings.