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North Dakota 4-H Expands Its Reach Across the State

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As the only research-based youth organization in the state, North Dakota 4-H plays a pivotal role in equipping youth with essential life skills and preparing them to enter the workforce as the next generation of leaders for our state. Through 4-H’s immersive, hands-on learning experiences, youth develop confidence, creativity, curiosity, leadership skills and resiliency to thrive now and in the future.  

In 2023, North Dakota 4-H experienced a remarkable growth in its reach, thanks to the efforts of NDSU Extension staff and volunteers across the state. The number of young people engaged increased by 40.3%, growing from 29,377 in 2022 to 41,217 in 2023. As a result, one in every five North Dakota youths benefited from 4-H programs in 2023.  

With a 9.7% increase in enrolled members for a total of 6,909 members, North Dakota 4-H is expanding opportunities to strengthen youth will life skills. Participation in North Dakota 4-H camp also increased by 5% with youth participation from 47 of the state’s 53 counties.  

“The expansion of 4-H in North Dakota is undeniably a cause for celebration,” says Leigh Ann Skurupey, NDSU Extension’s assistant director for 4-H Youth Development. “With each new connection forged, every skill acquired and every volunteer hour dedicated, 4-H is growing a vibrant community of tomorrow’s leaders.”  

As 4-H youth develop vital life skills and readiness for the workforce, 4-H volunteers also are enriched through professional growth and networking opportunities.  

A recent study conducted by a multistate collaboration of 4-H professionals found that a significant majority of 4-H volunteers in North Dakota reported positive outcomes: 82% noted an increase in their leadership confidence, 89% established new connections within their community, and 87% gained personal benefits, such as acquiring new skills that are applicable in other settings.  

Communities also benefit from the influence of 4-H. In 2023, more than 500 North Dakota 4-H clubs engaged in 2,165 service-learning projects, actively bolstering their communities and fostering positive transformations.  

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