Information for Teens

Photo: 4‑H teens test balance skills.

Becoming a teen in the 4‑H program opens up a whole new set of opportunities. Read more below about the groups and activities available at the club, county, state, and national levels.

Igniting Your Leadership Potential - Certificate in Leadership Development

Igniting Your Leadership Potential Certificate in Leadership Development is a series of online leadership courses offered by the NJ 4‑H Youth Development Program and taught by 4-H faculty. Youth in grades 8–13 can register for a variety of courses that will provide opportunities to learn about leadership, gain knowledge, sharpen their skills, and prepare to lead. Youth can earn a badge for each course completed and a certificate in Leadership Development after completing four online courses.

Club Level

Teen Leadership Project

A 4‑H teen leadership project is for 4‑H members in grades 8 and up who enroll in a leadership project as a part of their club project area or through the 4‑H Teen/Senior Council in their county. 4‑H members work with their 4‑H leader and/or county 4‑H staff to develop a plan of action for the project. The project, which could range from teaching club members a new skill to training new club officers or planning an event, is evaluated throughout the year and recorded in the Teen Leadership Project Record Book.

County Level

4‑H Teen/Senior Council

Most counties have a teen group that provides support for county-wide 4‑H programming. The group also allows teens to meet and interact with teens from other 4‑H clubs from throughout the county.

4‑H Ambassador Program

Some counties have 4‑H Ambassadors who serve as 4‑H member representatives of the 4‑H program. They speak on behalf of the larger membership whose purpose is to promote 4‑H to youth, parents, potential leaders, donors, and the general public.

Regional Level

North Jersey and South Jersey Teen Conference

The North Jersey 4‑H Teen Conference and the South Jersey 4‑H Teen Conference are both annual events that bring 4‑H members in grades 8–13 together to practice leadership, citizenship, and cooperation and are coordinated by the 4‑H Youth Development Program as a youth-adult partnership with youth working directly with 4‑H staff to plan and conduct the conferences. There is a cost to participate.

Discover the Leader in You! Leadership Conference

The Discover the Leader in You! 4‑H Leadership Conference is for 4‑H members in grades 6–8. While attending the conference, middle school youth will have fun, meet new friends, and develop leadership and personal development skills that they can utilize at home, in school, in their 4‑H club, and in their community. To accommodate 4‑H'ers throughout the state, the conference is held in both southern New Jersey and northern New Jersey on two separate dates each year in late winter.

State Level

Leadership for Life Program

New Jersey 4‑H members in grades 9-11 who are members in good standing are invited to participate in a multi-level leadership program called the Leadership for Life Program.

Adopted from Ireland's youth development program Foróige, the Leadership for Life Program is based on theories and principles of youth work, leadership development and leadership styles.

Offered in three sequential modules, this program is aimed at equipping young people to explore their vision and passion and to develop such key skills as: planning, decision making, critical thinking, goal setting, and problem solving.

State 4‑H Camp Counselor in Training and Camp Volunteer

Individuals who have completed 9th grade may qualify to become Counselors in Training (CIT), which is geared towards preparing young adults for the rigors of the camp counselor position through leadership and personal development experiences. Individuals who have completed 11th grade and are at least 16 years of age and older can apply to be a Camp Volunteer for a week. After volunteer training, individuals are assigned to assist camp staff in a cabin and a course area.

State 4‑H goLEAD Youth Leadership Institute

The NJ State 4‑H goLEAD Youth Leadership Institute for 4‑H members in grades 6–8 will be held in July. While attending the conference, middle school youth will build their leadership skills and learn how to plan and conduct service activities in their community.

State 4‑H Public Presentations

State 4‑H Public Presentations provide an opportunity for 4‑H members to compete on the state level with 4‑H members from around New Jersey at Rutgers University each June. Each participant must be a 4‑H member enrolled in 8–13th grade and have received an excellent rating on their presentation at the county level.

National Level

Citizenship Washington Focus

Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) is a 4‑H citizenship and leadership program for youth ages 14–19 who come from across America to the National 4‑H Youth Conference Center near Washington, D.C. each summer. This competitive opportunity—youth must apply to be delegates from their state—is a week-long program that enriches young people's lives through activities that broaden their appreciation and respect for themselves and others, including leadership, citizenship and an understanding of the political process. There is a cost to participate, however some counties provide financial support for this event.

CWF - Presidential Inauguration 2021

4‑H members enrolled in grades 9–12 as of September 2019 who have an interest in politics, government, citizenship, civic engagement and/or presidential history are eligible to apply to attend the CWF - Presidential Inauguration 2021 event scheduled for January 17–21, 2021 at the National 4‑H Youth Conference Center located in Chevy Chase, Maryland. During this 5-day event Washington, DC will serve as a working classroom to provide the opportunity for program participants to learn about the Executive Branch of government; the democratic process; presidential history and the election process; citizenship and civic education; and to explore careers in politics.

Applications will be available in November 2019.

Leadership Washington Focus

Leadership Washington Focus (LWF) is a brand new 4‑H leadership program for middle school youth. Youth from across the nation will be participating in this event held in mid July at the National 4‑H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The program will provide an opportunity for youth to listen to motivational speakers and participate in workshops that will develop communication skills, increase leadership capacity and build lifetime skills.

National 4‑H Agri-Science Youth Summit

The National 4‑H Youth Summit on Agri-Science held annually in January provides an opportunity for 4‑H members in grades 9-12 to develop the skills and knowledge needed for the challenges facing agriculture, food security and sustainability. National 4‑H Council and National 4‑H Conference Center have partnered with agricultural scientists, researchers, leaders, politicians, and advocates to host the National Youth Summit on Agri-Science. This Summit emphasizes hands-on educational experiences led by experts in the agricultural community.

The Summit fees include accommodations at the National 4‑H Conference Center, meals, educational programming and tours including a guided night time tour of the monuments and memorials in Washington, DC. All-you-can-eat meals are served at the Clover Cafe at National 4‑H Conference Center beginning with dinner on Friday and ending with a box lunch on Monday.

National 4‑H Conference

National 4‑H Conference, held each spring in Chevy Chase, MD at the National 4‑H Center, provides an opportunity for 4‑H members to become acquainted with government, meet with federal representatives, enhance leadership skills and provide feedback on the 4‑H Youth Development Program. Youth must apply to be part of their state's delegation. There is a cost to participate, however some counties provide financial support for this event.

National 4‑H Congress

The National 4‑H Congress experience, held in Atlanta, GA each November, provides an opportunity for 4‑H members from the across the nation to come together and learn about community involvement, cultural diversity, and service to others while meeting new friends. Youth must apply to be part of their state's delegation. There is a cost to participate, however some counties provide financial support for this event.

National 4‑H STEM Youth Summit

The National 4‑H STEM Youth Summit held annually in October is for teens in grades 9-12 interested in science, engineering, technology, and math topics and careers.

Engaging, hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities and design challenges will provide one of a kind experiences for teens to discover the possibilities of a career in STEM. Summit attendees will meet youth from across the country as they explore the Nation's Capital, taking part in activities designed to instill curiosity, and critical thinking, to develop the skills needed to be successful in life.

The summit will be filled with interactive learning opportunities including mini-tracks, career round tables, and hands-on experiences that will spark your interest in a variety of STEM topics and ignite your future career exploration.

The registration cost includes lodging at the National 4‑H Youth Conference Center, meals, educational programming, guest speakers, and tours including a visit to some of the sites in Washington, DC. All you can eat meals are served in the Clover Café located at the National 4‑H Conference Center beginning with dinner on Thursday and ending with a box lunch on Sunday.

National 4‑H Youth Summit on Photography Skills & Careers

The National Youth Summit on Photography Skills & Careers held annually in February/March is designed for both the experienced and casual photographer. The summit provides an opportunity for teens in grades 9-12 to gain knowledge while they explore emerging photography careers and related skills necessary for entry into tomorrow's workforce. They will hear from leaders in the field of photography about advancements in technology, emerging photo-techniques, and the role of social media and responsible posting. The summit will be filled with interactive learning opportunities including mini-tracks, career round tables, and hands-on photography experiences in the DC area.

The registration cost includes lodging at the National 4‑H Conference Center, meals, educational programming, guest speakers, and tours including a visit to some of the memorials in Washington, DC. All-you-can-eat meals are served at the Clover Cafe at National 4‑H Conference Center beginning with dinner on Thursday and ending with a box lunch on Sunday.

Rutgers New Jersey 4-H Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station