4-H youth programs provide opportunities for youth to develop skills they can use now and throughout their live. Iowa 4-H follows the principles of experiential learning, and draws on the knowledge base of Iowa State University and other institutions of higher education in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. The Iowa 4-H Program’s vision and mission statements clearly view youth as partners working with staff and volunteers, and as full participants in planning and working for individual and community change.
Youth development research emphasizes the importance of meeting the four basic human needs of belonging, generosity, independence, and mastery. Studies indicate that youth whose needs are met in positive ways are likely to develop into active citizens and contributing members of their families and communities. The Iowa 4-H program ensures that every youth will have the opportunity to participate in 4-H experiences that strengthen a young person’s sense of belonging, generosity, independence, and mastery.