4-H & Youth Development

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About 4-h & Youth development at vsu

4-H is the youth development education program of Virginia Cooperative Extension that is in partnership between Virginia Tech and Virginia State University. 4-H is rich with learning experiences where young people ages 5-18 can partner with caring adults and volunteers in a fellowship unlike any other program available to youth today.  

Through 4-H, young people are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities that emphasize 4-H's “learning by doing” philosophy of youth development.  Here at Virginia State University, we offer programs such as VSU 4-H leadership Institute, STEAM-VSU, Marine Aquatic Science, and other agricultural related youth programs during the summer and throughout the year.


STEAM-VSU is a new, community-based STEM program to expose, inspire an engage the VSU community, youth and families in the tri-cities and other surrounding areas to STEM and introduce them to the expertise of Virginia State University.  This program helps youth:

  • develop an interest in STEAM and STEAM-based learning activities;

  • develop life skills through STEAM-based learning activities and programs; and

  • encourage youth to value and explore the opportunities offered in STEAM careers.

STEAM-VSU is set to grow innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs through inspiration, engagement, and exposure. This 4-H community-related program will strengthen the relationship between university, school systems, and communities through Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics (STEAM).

Marine Aquatic Science

Educating youth, their families and the general public about natural resources, water quality and environmental stewardship, 4-H Marine Aquatic Science engages students in marine and aquatic educational activities that correlate directly to Virginia's Standards of Learning. These year-long educational experiences expose rural and urban youth to career opportunities, and increase minority participation in the agricultural science that allows students to gain practical experience, develop entrepreneurial skills and expand their environmental awareness.


This program is designed for youth who are interested in becoming leaders in 4-H.

Through fun, innovative, engaging and interactive sessions, youth will enhance their ability to serve in local, district, state and national 4-H leadership roles. These include 4-H club leaders, camp counselors, and members of 4-H Cabinet, State Congress leaders, and National Congress and Conference participants.

Current 4-H members, who are ages 11-13 during the current 4-H year (October 1 through September 30), may attend the iLeadership Institute as Delegates. Current 4-H members, who are ages 14-17 with Teen Mentor training and leadership experience, may register to participate as Teen Counselors.

The iLeadership Institute is a great summer leadership opportunity for youth to be introduced to STEAM activities, team-building and networking, hands-on workshops, distinguished speakers, etiquette dinner, creating personal action plans, and much more.


  • True Colors Seminar - Discover Your Leadership Personality Style!

  • Leadership Networking Dance

  • 4-H Yoga

  • STEM & Drone Technology

  • Health Rocks!

  • Citizenship Luncheon

  • Team Building Session with 4-H Leadership Cabinet

Frequently Asked Questions

Health Rocks!


Health Rocks is a fun, interactive curriculum developed by National 4-H Council and participating land grant universities throughout the country for ages 8-14.  Health Rocks! supports the goals developed by the National Health Education Standards and teaches young people the life skills needed to make healthy choices and to resist tobacco, alcohol and drugs.

To find out more about your county’s local Health Rocks! program please visit: https://ext.vt.edu/offices.html  

Character Counts!


Character Counts! is a framework centered on basic values called the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.  Character Counts! improves the lives of the adults who teach it and the communities that embrace it, giving kids a framework for ethical living.

As an educational framework for teaching universal values and a national coalition of organizations that support each other, Character Counts! transcends cultural differences. It isn’t a curriculum, an add-on, an out-of-the-box program, or a quick-fix fad. It is character education that fits well with the structure of Virginia 4-H. To find out more about Character Counts please visit  https://charactercounts.org/ 

4-H Day at the Capital

4-H Day at the Capitol provides an opportunity for youth to learn about governmental procedures and emphasizes the importance of citizen involvement in the governmental process. Participants visit with legislators to share their stories about 4-H experiences and learn about the role of legislators in government. They observe the legislative process in action, have opportunities to learn about the congressional aides and pages programs, and have an opportunity to tour the Capitol, museums, or other historic sites in the Richmond area.



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