4H is an international organisation dedicated to positive youth development.
The four H's symbolize: Head - Heart - Hands - Health
Across country borders there is little difference in the philosophies or goals, only in the methods of achieving them. The common bond between countries is the commitment to help youth become the best they can be. Today 4H exists in more than 80 countries. The learning by doing principle in 4H makes 4H a very good working method in both rural and urban areas.
4H Norge is organised at local, county and national level. There are approx. 700 clubs in Norway today, representing approx. 17 000 members and alumni. 4H is open to all youths between the ages of 10 and 25. The actual program in Norway is for youths between the ages of 12 and 19. Each member must complete one project each year in order to receive an engraved bronze 4H-plaque as a sign of seven years of 4H-work.
What are the aims of 4H?
The main idea is to teach young people the value and importance of taking responsibility for themselves, through making their own decisions and evaluating their own work. Learning to understand and appreciate the importance of nature and the environment and to respect the value of primary industry are also basic aims for 4H.
4H-projects are the most important activities in the 4H-program. There is a wide variety of 4H-projects to choose between, from growing vegetables and looking after livestock to traditional handcrafts and cooking, to Public Relations, photography and journalism. Specially made 4H-project books are available on each subject. 4H-projects can be done in groups or individually. Adult project advisers assist when necessary.
A 4H-project must contain the following factors:
- An agreement with the parents/guardians of the 4H-member
- A work plan
- A budget (for senior members only)
- A short reference as to how the project has proceeded
- A club activity to demonstrate the project
- An evaluation
- A list of accounts
Annual exhibition (Høstfest)
The highlight of the year for the 4H-members in Norway is when they exhibit their projects at a special party/exhibition held during the autumn. Here they are given the chance to show what they have been working on throughout the year. The 4H-projects are evaluated and approved, and the 4H-er is presented with a special badge for each year. After completing seven years of project-work, the 4H-member is awarded a special bronze plaque, engraved with his/her name, at a formal party given in each county. The Høstfest also gives the 4H-ers an opportunity to learn more about entertaining, and they often put on small plays on these occasions.
4H-club executive board
Each 4H-club is run by an executive board, consisting of a chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary, treasurer and board member, elected by the members at their Annual General Meeting. They also elect one of more adult advisors, whose main function is to assist the board and give advice whenever necessary. The board is responsible for drawing up a plan for the year's activities, taking care of the club's finances, and ensuring that the club is run according to the laws and by-laws of the organisation. Each club meeting includes a roll call, reading of the minutes of the last meeting, and a look into finances. The chairman leads the meetings, assisted by the other board members.
4H-clubs have a great variety of activities. Here are some examples:
- Having fun together (games, quizzes, competitions)
- Outdoor life (going for walks, camping out, learning about nature and the environment)
- Learning something new (inviting speakers to talk about interesting themes, visiting interesting places, etc.)
- Community work (visiting and aiding old people, tidying up in the neighbourhood etc. tree planting etc).
- Club meetings can be held indoors or outdoors.
- Playing volley-ball
- Theatre work
4H Norge is organised at three levels, club, county and national. 4H-clubs elect their own executive boards at their Annual General Meetings. Each club is represented at the county Annual General Meeting, where representatives for the county clubs are elected to attend the national AGM, which is held bi-annually.
The National secretariat is at Hellerud, outside of Oslo. Each county has one 4H-consultant and one or two 4H-instructors. Their main job is to give necessary assistance to the 4H-clubs, arrange county 4H-camps and various leadership-training courses.
The main national activities include finding financial sources for the organisation, making and publishing 4H-projects and the member's magazine, arranging National 4H-camps, leadership-training courses, and coordinating international programs.
Many volunteer adult advisors are involved in 4H. They play a very important role at all levels. Their main job is to give advice and support to the 4H-members, help with leadership-training and generally helping out so that the 4H-ers have every chance of carrying through their 4H-projects and club activities in the best possible way.
The first 4H-club in Norway was founded in 1926. The organisation is dedicated to positive youth development.
Non-governmental organization/ non-profit